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Benjamin Verdery

  • Composer
  • Guitarist


Benjamin Verdery: Since his 1980 New York debut with his wife, flutist Rie Schmidt, Benjamin Verdery performed worldwide, including the International Guitar Festival (Havana, Cuba); Festival International de Agosto (Caracas, Venezuela); Theatre Carré (Amsterdam); Chichester Cathedral (England); Bad Urach Schubert Festival (Germany); the 92nd Street Y, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera (NYC), the Ambassador Theater in Los Angeles, and concerts in Japan, Korea and Singapore. He has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Frederic Hand, William Coulter, Leo Kottke, Anthony Newman, Jessye Norman, Paco Peña, Hermann Prey and John Williams. Several composers have composed music for him, including Daniel Asia, John Anthony Lennon, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel and Jack Vees.

Benjamin has released over 15 albums, his most recent, Branches (Mushkatweek) features arrangements of works by Bach, Mozart, Strauss, Hendrix and the traditional Amazing Grace. His recording, Start Now (Mushkatweek), won the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award. Other recordings of note include Some Towns & Cities which won the 1992 Guitar Player Magazine Best Classical Guitar Recording and his collaboration with John Williams on John Williams Plays Vivaldi (Sony Classical).

Since 1985, Benjamin has been chair of the guitar department at the Yale University School of Music. In 2004, the Yale University Music Library commissioned Ingram Marshall to compose a work for classical and electric guitars. Dark Florescence was premiered at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra and Steven Sloane in February 2005 and had its European premiere at the Belfast Festival (Ireland) with the Ulster Orchestra in November 2005. The electric guitarist for these occasions was Andy Summers (of The Police). Having met at the 2002 New York Guitar Festival, Benjamin and Andy have since recorded First you Build A Cloud, which will be released this spring.

A prolific composer, many of Benjamin Verdery's compositions have been performed and published over the years. Most recently, Now and Ever for David Russell premiered at the West Dean Festival in the UK August 2007 followed by performances of the work in the USA April 2008. Benjamin completed Peace, Love and Guitars for John Williams and John Etheridge recorded at the Dublin Festival in July 2006 and released by SONY in September 2006. Williams had also recorded and performed his work Capitola in 1996. Benjamin 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). Benjamin's Etudes for guitar orchestra was commissioned by the Tidewater Classical Guitar Society and premiered at the 2004 Virginia International Festival. Doberman-Yppan (Canada) is currently publishing his solo and duo works for guitar and Workshop Arts (distributed by Alfred Music) has published the solo pieces from Some Towns & Cities as well as instructional books and video.

In addition to his solo tours, recording and teaching Benjamin will record a second album with Celtic guitarist Bill Coulter, premiere a work written for flute & guitar by Ingram Marshall at 92Y in December 2008 with flutist Rie Schmidt, and tour with International Guitar Night in January 2009. Concluding his first season March 1, 2008, as Artistic Director for Art of the Guitar at the 92nd St Y in New York City, Benjamin along with Frederic Hand, William Kanengiser, David Leisner, David Tannenbaum and Scott Tenant celebrated the life and legacy of Julian Bream to a SRO crowd. On April 3rd, Benjamin blew out all stops at the MusicNow Festival in Cincinnati.

Benjamin Verdery is Artistic Director of the Yale Guitar Extravaganza; and, of Art of the Guitar