Carnegie Mellon University

School of Music

Where artistry and innovation share center stage


September 28, 2011


Carnegie Mellon University School of Music Presents:
Benjamin Verdery Guitarist-Composer

Carnegie Mellon School of Music is pleased to present classical guitar sensation Benjamin Verdery in a free concert at Kresge Theatre, Saturday October 8th at 8 pm. The program will include a variety of material ranging from Bach to Prince, from Hendrix to original Verdery compositions, and will even feature a performance by the Carnegie Mellon Guitar Ensemble.

Described as “iconoclastic” and “inventive” by The New York Times and “one of the classical guitar world’s most foremost personalities,” by Classical Guitar Magazine, Benjamin Verdery enjoys an innovative and eclectic musical career. Since 1980 Benjamin Verdery has performed worldwide in theatres and at festivals, including Theatre Carré (Amsterdam); the International Guitar Festival (Havana, Cuba); Wigmore Hall (England); the 92nd Street Y, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera (NYC). His tours regularly take him to Canada, Europe, Asia and throughout the United States. Ben has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Andy Summers, 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 Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, Daniel Asia, John Anthony Lennon, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel and Jack Vees. Of particular note was the commissioning by the Yale University Music Library of a work by Ingram Marshall for classical and electric guitars. Benjamin and Andy Summers premiered Dark Florescence at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra and at the Belfast Festival (Ireland) with the Ulster Orchestra.

Benjamin has released over 15 albums, his most recent being: Happy Here with William Coulter (Mushkatweek) and Branches with works by J.S. Bach, Strauss, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and the traditional Amazing Grace (Mushkatweek). 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 collaborations with John Williams (John Williams Plays Vivaldi) and Andy Summers (First you Build A Cloud).

A prolific composer, many of Benjamin Verdery’s compositions have been performed, recorded and published over the years. Most recently, the Assad Duo premiered Ben’s newest work, What He Said. Commissioned by the 92nd St Y, the work is dedicated to the late luthier Thomas Humphrey. Other recent works have included Now and Ever (for David Russell,Telarc), Peace, Love and Guitars for John Williams and John Etheridge, Capitola (John Williams, SONY Classical) and Give (for eight guitars). This last was composed specifically for Thomas Offermann and the guitar ensemble of the Hochschule for Music and Theatre (Rostock, Germany) and dedicated to the memory of U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy. 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 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 performance tours and recording, since 1985 Benjamin has been chair of the guitar department at the Yale University School of Music and Artistic Director of the bi-annual Yale Guitar Extravaganza. Benjamin Verdery has also been Artistic Director of Art of the Guitar at the 92nd St Y (New York City) since 2006 and was appointed an honorary board member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas in 2007. Each summer Benjamin holds his Annual International Master Class on the Island of Maui (Hawaii). Benjamin Verdery uses D’Addario strings and guitars by Greg Smallman and Christopher Carrington.