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 15 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 Theofanitis, and Jack Vees.
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.
A passionate and expressive style coupled with a formidable technique has garnered attention for Simon Powis as a talented soloist, chamber musician and innovator. Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Powis undertook his first committed studies to the classical guitar with Raffaele Agostino at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Following on from Sydney, he studied in various festivals in Europe, the Royal Academy of Music in London, and under the guidance of Benjamin Verdery he completed a Doctorate in Music at Yale University. As a performer, Powis has performed internationally in Asia, Australia, the Americas, and Europe. Solo performance highlights include the Kennedy Center, the Adelaide International Guitar Festival, and a solo tour in Beijing. Ensemble collaborations with string quartet, cello, violin, voice, and guitar duos have seen a range of performances and recording with highlights including the GFA Symposium with Ben Verdery, Carnegie Hall with the Linden Quartet, and the Rockport Music Hall with cellist Jacques Lee Wood. Mark Martin
New York City and Denver based artist and musician Mark Martin is best known for playfully blurring the lines between language and sound through his energetic and dynamic blend of beatboxing and theater. Martin was recently featured in a Tedx Talk about his work with beatboxing. Winner of the 2016 American Beatbox Championships and the 2016 International 2016 BeatRhyme Battle, Mark has battled in and judged many international beat-box battles including the World Beatbox Championships, and the Grand Beatbox Battle. Martin's blending of storytelling with vocal exploration led him to a 5 year run with international touring musical theater company Voca People, as well as featured appearances on MTV. Mark enjoys collaborating with other musicians, especially his partner and 2x World Beatbox Champion, Kaila Mullady as Lightship. Together, Martin and Mullady created a curriculum teaching beatboxing as a tool for speech therapy.
Guilherme Nardelli Monegatto
A native of São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil, Guilherme Nardelli Monegatto (violoncello) was awarded third prize in the distinguished 19th Annual Sphinx Competition. In 2018, he served as co-principal of both the Verbier Festival Orchestra and Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra, where he had the opportunity to work with Valery Gergiev, Sir Simon Rattle, and Gábor Takács-Nagy. Guilherme is now a student at Yale, where he is honored to be co-principal of YALE Philharmonia, principal of the Grammy-nominated Yale Cellos. For the 2019-20 season, he will be part of the Apprenticeship Program with the Budapest Festival Orchestra.
Hawa Kasse Mady Diabate
possesses one of the most beautiful, versatile and expressive voices of West Africa. A jelimuso (female jeli or ‘griot’) from Mali, she has acquired a cult following as the charismatic singer of Trio Da Kali, an acoustic trio which was formed specially to collaborate with the Kronos Quartet, receiving rapturous reviews for her work on their collaborative award-winning album Ladilikan and for her moving performances with Trio Da Kali, who have toured widely in Europe and the USA to critical acclaim. Hawa’s charismatic voice is emphatically 21st century, but it is also steeped in the rich heritage of Mali’s griots, the hereditary musicians that date back to the founding of the Mali Empire in the 13th century. She was born into a celebrated griot family, the Diabatés of Kela, a village in southwest Mali famous for its music. The Kela Diabatés have a formidable reputation as singers, instrumentalists, and reciters of oral epic histories, with many legendary names from the pre-colonial era to the present, and today Hawa is the torch bearer of that great tradition. Hawa’s father Kassé Mady Diabaté was known for his entrancing singing, moving his listeners to tears (from which he gets his nickname, Kassé, ‘to weep’), a quality that Hawa has inherited, along with the nickname. Her great-aunt was Sira Mory Diabaté, considered the most important Malian female vocalist of the 20th century, a prolific composer whose songs, like Kanimba (on the album Ladilikan) have become griot classics.