Judith Cook Bentley was a flute professor at BGSU’s College of Musical Arts from 1974 through her retirement in 2002. For her retirement, her students surprised her with a recital in Bryan Recital Hall and started a scholarship fund in her name. Over the years this fund has grown but is not at endowed level at this time. The goal of this fundraising effort is to bring the fund up to fully endowed and have this fund in her honor live on in perpetuity at BGSU.
Mrs. B., as her students call her, honed her performance and teaching craft at Oberlin Conservatory studying with Robert Willoughby, at the Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria, with several years studying privately with William Kincaid in Philadelphia and receiving her Master of Music degree at the University of Michigan. She has performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Knoxville Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic and Toledo Symphony, to name a few. She is well known for her support of living composers, with several New Music recordings to her name. Along with her performances, she has articles about flute pedagogy in several educational and Flute and Instrumental publications. During her career she was sought after for clinics and masterclasses across the US.
To her students, her most important contribution was her painstaking yet humor-filled instruction on the flute; the care she took teaching proper embouchure, posture and hand position; and how important it is to phrase musically and with beautiful tone. Beyond flute playing, she taught about work-life balance, tax preparation for a musician and what career possibilities were beyond the College of Musical Arts. Once a student left her studio, she was still available for career counseling and general support for any student who needed it. She has been a role model and pioneer for women in music in particular. For this, and much more, her students are grateful and will never be able to thank her enough.