Over ten years ago a dramatic transformation occurred in the life of Benjamin Wade as he moved to the small town of Susanville in rural Northeastern California to become head coach of a soccer program at Lassen Community College. Soccer was only one of his passions....the other was music.
Little did he realize where this journey and his passion for music would take him. In 2003, he founded a symphony...and Susanville would officially become the smallest town in America with its own symphony orchestra.
“Several musicians and I talked about forming a symphony; I never dreamed that it would take over my life and become a channel for the intensity and passion I have within my heart. For me life is about just that...intensity and passion. This comes out in the manner which I conduct and the compositions I write.”
Wade has composed dozens of original works and over 20 have been debuted by the Susanville Symphony. As he shifts his focus from soccer to music, the Maestro has lofty aspirations. Wade wants to develop the orchestra, and to give greater attention to writing music.
“My desire is to travel and research the music of 20 different cultures and write 20 symphonies over the next 20 years. I want to write for this orchestra and this community. I want to continue, in some small way, to change the face of Susanville and Lassen County, enriching the musical culture for the residents and the musicians.”
In his youth, Benjamin Wade became a world-class trumpet player, winning the prestigious International Trumpet Guild’s CG Conn scholarship for young proteges under the age of 18. He graduated from the University of Tennessee in 1993 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business and a minor in Music. Then received his Master of Music degree in Conducting in 2005 at the University of Nevada, Reno. Wade has studied under Dr. Mack McGranahan, Maestro Kirk Trevor, Maestro Zubin Mehta, Dr. W.J. Jillian and Dr. Cathy Leach. He also has performed with the Knoxville Symphony, the Indianapolis Symphony, and the New York Metropolitan Opera. He is a member of the International Conductors Guild and has guest conducted the South Carolina Pops, the Springfield Symphony and the Southwest Baptist University Orchestras.