Benjamin Broening, composer

Benjamin Broening’s music couples his interest in the expressive power of sound with a sense of line derived from his background as a singer. His orchestral, choral, chamber and electroacoustic music has been performed in over twenty countries and across the United States by many ensembles, including Grammy winners eighth blackbird, Da Capo Chamber Players, Choral Arts Society of Philadelphia, Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Zeitgeist, Network for New Music and others. He has also worked closely with numerous leading figures in the contemporary music world, including Tim McAllister, Camilla Hoitenga, Richard Hawkins, Tim Munro, Arthur Campbell, Nicholas Photinos, Curtis Macomber, Lina Bahn, and Daniel Koppelman.

Broening is recipient of Guggenheim, Howard and Fulbright Fellowships, and has also received recognition and awards from the American Composers Forum, Virginia Commission for the Arts, ACS/Andrew Mellon Foundation, the Jerome Foundation, the International Computer Music Association and the Presser Music Foundation, among others.

Trembling Air, a 2012 Bridge Records release of his chamber music recorded by eighth blackbird, has been praised as “haunting” and “enchanting” (Cleveland Plain Dealer), “magical” (Fanfare), “other-worldly” (Gramophone), and “coruscatingly gorgeous” (CD Hotlist).

Critics have described Recombinant Nocturnes, his 2011 disc of music for piano recorded by Duo Runedako, as “a breathtaking suite for pianos” (World Music Report) “deep, troubling” (François Couture) and “lovely, delicate, calming” (Los Angeles’ KFJC). New Music Box wrote:

“Recombinant Nocturnes is a gorgeous disc of music…It is adventurous…thoughtful, eloquent, and disarmingly direct….It’s one of the most persuasive accounts of a contemporary composer engaging a tried-and-true form—the piano nocturne—with both an individual imagination and just the right amount of affectionate familiarity.”

Other recordings have been released by Ensemble Ü in Estonia, and on the Centaur, Everglade, Equilibrium, MIT Press, New Focus, Oberlin Music, Open G, Ravello, and SEAMUS record labels. Writing about the recent recording of his Clarinet Concerto, Sequenza21 praised its “many thrilling passages” and said “it is, as is most of his music, from a formal vantage point exquisitely well sculpted.”

Broening is founder and artistic director of Third Practice, an annual festival of electroacoustic music at the University of Richmond, where he is Professor of Music. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan, Cambridge University, Yale University, and Wesleyan University, and has studied with leading composers and teachers including William Bolcom, Alexander Goehr, Jacob Druckman, Martin Bresnick, William Albright, Andrew Mead and Neely Bruce.