Guitar, Composer

Saturday
February 22, 2020
7:30 pm
WPAC Concert Hall

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Masterclass

Friday
February 21, 2020
2:00 pm – 5:00 pm
WPAC Recital Hall
Free Admission

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Described by the NY Times as “an iconoclastic player” and “an American original, an American master” by Sound Board Magazine, Benjamin Verdery has been hailed for his innovative and eclectic musical career.

2017 began with the world premiere of Searching for a Chorale by Ben’s mentor Seymour Bernstein and published by Doberman‐Yppan with a video available on You Tube. Beat Box champion/vocal artist Mark Martin and the Michiyaya Dance Company, who choreographed a group of Ben’s Etudes, joined Ben for a few East Coast concerts. Ben composed the competition piece the rain falls equally on all things for the Changsha International Guitar Festival (China), also published by Doberman. The piece will appear on Ben’s forth coming CD featuring all of his own compositions for Elm City Records.

May 10, 2018 at Kaufmann Hall (92Y) was the world premiere of Quintet for High Strings (commissioned by the 92Y) by Bryce Dessner for guitar and string quartet with the fabulous St. Lawrence String Quartet. In June 2018 the book Benjamin Verdery A Montage of a Classical Guitarist was published by Hamilton Books. Edited by Thomas Donahue, it includes essays by several of today’s leading guitarists and composers as well essays by Ben on composing, arranging, teaching, performing and recording.

Ben’s into his 34th year as the guitar professor at the Yale School of Music, his 12th year as Artistic Director of 92Y’s Art of the Guitar series and 2019 will be the 20th year of his Maui Summer Master Class. Ben is also now the Artistic Director of the Connecticut Guitar Festival.

Ben has created and released several exquisitely filmed videos, including his Shangri La Series, filmed at Doris Duke’s Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts & Cultures Honolulu, HI featuring Barrios Mangore, Manuel de Falla and Isaac Albeniz. In December 2016 Ben released his video of J.S. Bach’s Chaconne entitled An interpretation celebrating the Earth, Ocean and Sky. The Hip‐Hop artist Billy Dean Thomas and Ben created four videos together including the ground breaking Black Bach. His two most recent videos are Seymour Bernstien’s Searching for a Chorale and Bryce Dessner’s Portbou.

Benjamin Verdery’s tours regularly take him throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, performing at venues and festivals including Theatre Carré (Amsterdam), Maverick Concerts (NY), the International Guitar Festival in Havana, Wigmore Hall (London), Festival Internacional

de Guitarra de Taxco (Mexico), the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and Metropolitan Opera in New York. He has recorded and/or performed with such diverse artists as Andy Summers, Frederic Hand, William Coulter, Leo Kottke, Anthony Newman, Jessye Norman, Paco Peña, Hermann Prey, John Williams, hip‐hop artist Billy Dean Thomas, beat box/vocal percussionist Marc Martin and Nano Stern.

As a recording artist, Ben has released more than 15 albums. His most recent, The Ben Verdery Guitar Project: On Vineyard Sound, features Ben performing music by his composer colleagues at Yale University’s School of Music as well as one his own compositions. Released on the ECR label, an on‐line music platform Ben co‐curates with guitarist/songwriter Solomon Silber.

In addition, Ben’s recordings include Happy Here with William Coulter; Branches, featuring works of Bach, Strauss, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and the traditional Amazing Grace; Start Now (2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award); Some Towns & Cities (winner of Guitar Player Magazines Best Classical Guitar Recording 1991) and collaborations with John Williams (John Williams Plays Vivaldi) and Andy Summers (First You Build a Cloud).

Future recordings include Searching For A Chorale, music by and inspired by J.S. Bach; a recording featuring his classical guitar arrangements of Randy Newman, Neil Young, Prince, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, Eddy Vedder, The National, Cream and Elvis Presley; a CD of his own music and the debut recording of Bryce Dessner’s Quintet for High Strings with the St Lawrence String Quartet (with his arrangement of Leonard Bernstien’s Clarinet Sonata for guitar and string quartet).

Many of the leading composers of our time have created music for Ben, including Ezra Laderman, Daniel Asia, Martin Bresnick, Bryce Dessner, Javier Farias, Aaron Kernis, John Anthony Lennon, David Leisner, Hannah Lash, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel, Christopher Theofanitis, and Jack Vees. Of particular note was the commission by the Yale University Music Library of Ingram Marshall’s Dark Florescence for classical and electric guitars. Ben Verdery and Andy Summers premiered this work at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra.

A prolific, published composer in his own right, many of Ben’s compositions have been performed, recorded and published over the years. He has been commissioned to compose works for The Assad Duo, guitarist David Russell, John Williams and John Etheridge, The Changsha International Guitar Festival, The Chilean Guitar Ensemble, the Pensacola Guitar Orchestra (FL), Kyo‐Shin‐An Arts (NY), Wake Forest University, Thomas Offermann and the guitar ensemble of the Hochschule for Music and Theatre (Rostock, Germany) and the score for the documentary film Corida Goyesque. Ben’s Scenes from Ellis Island, for guitar orchestra, has been extensively broadcast and performed at festivals and universities in the United States, Canada, New Zealand and Europe, and the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet included it on their CD, Air and Ground (Sony Classical). Doberman‐Yppan (Canada) is currently publishing his solo and duo works for guitar, and Alfred Music distributes the solo pieces from Some Towns & Cities as well as instructional books and video. Other compositions are available at Ben’s web site.

Benjamin Verdery uses D’Addario strings and guitars by Garrett Lee and Otto Vowinkel. He is represented by GAMI/Simonds.

www.benjaminverdery.com