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Lesson Details

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About

Ben delivers an exceptional lesson experience and ranks in the top 15% of our teachers nationwide.
Teaches students:
Ages 3+ and special needs

Teaching since:
2005

Ben is an experienced professional accordionist, composer, and founding director of Ghost Ensemble, and a former professor at the City University of New York.

As a solo accordionist, Ben draws from contemporary chamber music, experimental improvisation, and traditional klezmer practice to create atmospheric music that explores a timeless, mystical space at the intersection of memory and imagination. As a composer, Ben creates chamber music that explores sound-worlds of constant transformation, combining subtly shifting timbres and sliding microtonal fluctuations to create music that critic George Grella has described as “a look, perhaps, into a different dimension … the music sounds like something incomprehensibly massive is passing by, slowly.” 

Ben has performed with The Dresden Dolls, Ghost Ensemble, SEM Ensemble, Pauline Oliveros, Butch Morris, the Surrealist Training Circus, The Land of Dreams, Over A Cardboard Sea, and Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains. He studied contemporary composition at Bard College (New York) and performance with the experimental composer and accordionist Pauline Oliveros. With research focused on parahypnotic phenomena in music, he completed an MM at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague in 2012. He has composed new music for the American Symphony Orchestra, Janacek Philharmonic Orchestra, SEM Ensemble, Nieuw Ensemble, Ostravska Banda, Wild Rumpus, accordion duo Toeac, It Nije Ensemble, New York Miniaturist Ensemble, and Da Capo Chamber Players. His most recent album, "Panthalassa: Dream Music of the Once and Future Ocean", was released on Infrequent Seams in 2017.

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Experience

Director
Sep 2012 - Present
Ghost Ensemble

Founding director of the New York-based experimental contemporary music group.

Adjunct Lecturer (Music Technology)
Jan 2014 - Dec 2014
CUNY

Music Teacher
Jan 2014 - Sep 2014
Saxrack Learning Center

Education

MM in Music Composition
Sep 2010 - Jun 2012
Royal Conservatory of The Hague
BA in Music
Aug 2004 - May 2008
Bard College

Languages

English
Fluent / Native Proficiency
French
Limited Proficiency
German
Professional Proficiency

Awards

Ostrava Days 2017 Resident Composer
May 2017
Ostrava Days Festival & Institute
Back to Basics Residency
Apr 2017
Arteles Foundation
ASCAP Plus Award
Jun 2016
ASCAP
Ostrava Days 2015 Resident Composer
Aug 2015
Ostrava Days Festival & Institute
Wild Rumpus Commissioning Project Winner
Jan 2014
Wild Rumpus
Ostrava Days 2013 Resident Composer
Aug 2013
Ostrava Days Festival & Institute
ASCAP Plus Award
Jun 2013
ASCAP
ASCAP Plus Award
Jun 2012
ASCAP
Masterclass and Commissioning Project Winner
Jan 2011
Society of Dutch Composers
Richard M. Siegel Prize in Music
May 2008
Bard College

Affiliations

American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers
May 2008

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) is a membership association of more than 480,000 US composers, songwriters, lyricists and music publishers. The ASCAP is committed to nurturing music makers throughout their careers.

Photos & Videos

Photo by Ben R.

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Photo by Ben R.

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Photo by Ben R.

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2 Reviews

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Eileen Jul 18, 2017
Accordion · In studio

Ben was amazing! He listened very carefully, always gave great feedback, and was very patient. I'm not the most musically inclined, so he was great at not just teaching me how to play but also how to read music while helping me understand how the accordion works, and letting me explore. He even gave me advice on proper carrying equipment to find an easy to carry gig case (I inherited a heavy 120-bass accordion from my grandma, including her bulky old suitcase carrier). The only reason I stopped taking lessons from Ben was because he moved overseas. I can't recommend him highly enough!

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Georgie Jul 14, 2017
Accordion · In home

Ben is an excellent, inspirational teacher and I loved my lessons! He taught me to improvise and to have confidence in myself to 'have a go'. I have had lessons on a number of instruments, but my accordion lessons with Ben are the ones which I have enjoyed the most and in which I have progressed the quickest. He is a great teacher and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to work with him.

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