Performer Bio

Benjamin Pila is the only classical guitarist ever named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He’s performed extensively throughout the United States and has been a featured artist at New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Lincoln Center, Washington, D.C.’s John F. Kennedy Center, and San Francisco’s Herbst Theater.

Pila is a semi-regular performer at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum where he’s performed for five U.S. Presidents and Pope Francis, and has appeared on programs with James Taylor, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, and Yo-Yo Ma. Pila’s debut CD, Commemoration, includes music he performed at the Memorial and is a tribute to the survivors and victims of 9/11.

Pila’s playing has been featured on NBC’s Today Show, NPR’s From the Top, and he was awarded ASCAP’s Best Performance of a Contemporary Work. His upcoming book and recording, Pop Standards for Fingerstyle Guitar (Hal Leonard) will be published in 2022.

Pila’s performed as a soloist with the Florida Orchestra on the 30th Anniversary World Tour of Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy and has performed the World Premier of two guitar concerti: Michael Gilbertson’s Concerto for Guitar and Strings (2013) with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra and Troy Gifford’s Concertino (2003) with the Florida Southern College Orchestra.

Pila is a Grand Prize winner of the Pacific Guitar Festival, the Tampa Bay Symphony Concerto Competition, and the University of Southern California Guitar Concerto Competition. He is a YoungArts Silver Award winner and has won prizes in the Texas International Guitar Competition, the Yamaha 6-String Theory Guitar Competition, and the American String Teacher’s Association National Solo Competition.

Pila received his bachelor’s degree from Florida State University, his master’s degree from The Juilliard School, and his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Southern California. Dr. Pila currently lives in Tampa, Florida, is a Professor of Humanities and Music at Polk State College, and performs across the nation.