January 2023 Meeting: Ben Verdery

Thursday, January 12, 2023, at 7:00 PM

Online Zoom meeting – click here to join 

Musical Truths and Observations

Over the course of his 43-year career of interpreting music, Ben has found that there are certain musical truths and observations he has embraced. In this lecture he will discuss as many as 25 of these. They include observations on how to better bring out a fugue subject, issues of accompaniment and melody, phrasing, navigating the complexities of musical notation, and practicing with dynamics, as well as considering who we are as artists and what our role is. Throughout the lecture Ben will demonstrate certain of these points.

The presentation will be followed by our Open Mic. Sign up in advance to play — see the Member Events page for details. NYCCGS Member Events are free and open to all members and first-time guests.

Hailed for his innovative and eclectic musical career, Benjamin Verdery tours regularly throughout the US, Canada, Europe and Asia, performing at venues and festivals including Ottawa ChamberFest, 92Y Kaufmann Auditorium, Verona Guitar Festival, Guitar Festival of Belgrade, International Festival Internacional de Guitarra de Taxco (Mexico), Theatre Carré (Amsterdam), the International Guitar Festival in Havana, Wigmore Hall (London), and Metropolitan Opera in New York.

As a recording artist, Ben has released more than 17 albums and 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.

A prolific, published composer in his own right, many of Ben’s compositions have been performed, recorded and published (Doberman?Yppan, Alfred Music) over the years. He has composed works for The Assad Duo, guitarists David Russell, Scott Tennant, David Tanenbaum, 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).

By turn, 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 Theofanidis, and Jack Vees.

Ben has created and released several exquisitely filmed videos, most recently his collection Peace, Love & Guitars, a series of 16 videos presented in February and April 2021 through the New York City Classical Guitar Society. The videos feature solo works as well as collaborations with long time colleagues. Other videos include: From Aristotle with Mark Martin and Michiyaya Dance, Bryce Dessner’s Portbou, Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, Seymour Bernstien’s Searching for a Chorale, his Shangri La Series, filmed at Doris Duke’s Shangri La Center for Islamic Arts & Cultures Honolulu, HI and four videos with hip?hop artist Billy Dean Thomas including the ground breaking Black Bach.

Ben owes much to his guitar teachers Philip De Fremery and Frederic Hand, both of whom he studied with at SUNY Purchase. The Master Classes he took in Arles, France with Leo Brouwer were seminal for Ben as well. He continued his studies with his mentor Anthony Newman and still receives coaching from his other mentor, Seymour Bernstein. He will always feel greatly indebted to what these and many others have given him over the many years.

Since 1985 Ben has been guitar professor at the Yale School of Music, Artistic Director of 92Y’s Art of the Guitar series since 2007 and Producer of his Maui Summer Master Class since 1999. Ben is also an Honorary Board Member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas.

Photo by John Olson.