Hello, I'm Ben.
I'm a native of Providence, Rhode Island, now living just outside of the city. I was homeschooled through high school, and studied Computer Science and Classics at Brown University from 2008 to 2012. From 2015 to 2022 I worked full-time for the technical staff at Brown's Computer Science Department, initially as Systems Programmer and subsequently as Senior Systems Programmer, which meant I did everything from in-house software development to system administration to user support.
When not herding computers, I am usually either performing, composing, or practicing.
I give semi-regular solo recitals at the RISD Museum, at Brown's Cogut Institute for the Humanities, and the Music Mansion, and have also made solo appearances at the William Hall Library in Cranston and at the Laurelmead Cooperative retirement community in Providence. All of my concerts feature my favorite works from the standard classical repertoire ("from Bach to Rach"), and occasionally my own compositions and arrangements as well. My first public solo performance occurred at the RISD Museum in the fall of 2009, when I played Bach's Goldberg Variations and the opening movement of the Beethoven-Liszt Pastoral Symphony transcription. My senior recital I performed at the Cogut Center (now the Cogut Institute) - the program consisted of Liszt's B minor Sonata and the complete Beethoven-Liszt Fifth Symphony. Transcriptions of non-piano works are a personal specialty, and in addition to Liszt's and my own arrangements of orchestral works, my repertoire includes some of Busoni's piano renditions of Bach organ pieces and a couple of Horowitz's best-known transcriptions.
I have also done extensive collaborative work. In the fall of 2009 I accompanied singers Kathryne Jennings and Fred Scheff in a joint voice recital in Rehoboth, Mass, and during the summer of 2011 I worked with Kathryne Jennings and conductor Paul Phillips as rehearsal pianist for Opera Providence's production of Cosi fan Tutte. In the fall of 2012 cellist Daniel Harp and I performed a recital of sonatas by Beethoven, Debussy, and Barber, throwing in for good measure my own cello-and-piano sonata. Between 2012 and 2016 I was a recurring guest performer for Community MusicWorks' Sonata Series. I've also played with several string and voice students in Brown's Applied Music Program, usually working with them over the course of a semester leading up to actual performances. As an undergraduate I also did extensive rehearsal and accompanying work with Brown University Gilbert and Sullivan and Brown Opera Productions.
My original compositions include works for solo piano, chamber ensembles, concert band, and full orchestra. In March 2014 and March 2015 I presented programs consisting exclusively of my compositions, featuring local professional, student, and community instrumentalists. The spring of 2015 also saw the premiere of (the concert band version of) my "Bruin Overture", written in celebration of Brown University's 250th anniversary and performed by the Brown Wind Symphony under the direction of Matthew McGarrell. Besides writing concert music, I have dabbled in film and musical theater. In the spring of 2013 I composed the soundtrack to Jeremiah Robs A Bank, a half-hour film directed by Michael Rose, and in the fall of that year I wrote the music to Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horsemen, a twenty-minute musical for children with libretto by Phoebe Nir. More recently, I composed the music for the seven-minute animated short film Toymaker (2017), which you may read about elsewhere.
In March 2020 I shifted focus to my YouTube channel where I post recordings made at home or out of my concert archive, as well as random musings from the keyboard. For most of 2020 I uploaded every Sunday morning, but that turned out to be exhausting, so now I just post when I feel like it.
Aside from music and computers, my interests and hobbies include history, railroads (full-size and miniature), cartooning, roleplaying games, and being outdoors.
You can usually reach me at:
ben [at] bennacar [dot] com