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Alumni Spotlight – Ben Robinson Class of 2014

Ben has packed a lot in since graduating from SCAS in 2014! Here is his story in his own words.

After saving up the ‘safety net’ fund for a year working in Port Macquarie, I moved to Sydney and completed my undergraduate degree in Classical Music Composition. It was a wildly creative, stressful and exciting four years, and I built so many friendships and connections in the Sydney music scene. I was very grateful to be awarded the Raymond Hansen Memorial Prize for excellence in composition by The Sydney Conservatorium of Music upon graduating in 2019.

Being around such wonderful musicians has given me many happy memories over the years. At the risk of sounding extremely self-indulgent, I’ll list a few as a snapshot of what life has been like since SCAS.

I’m very fortunate to have been commissioned by the Australian National Academy of Music, the Sydney Opera House and my good friends at Ensemble Apex; I’ve been selected for composition development programs with the Australian Youth Orchestra and Ensemble Offspring; I recently wrote my first article for Limelight magazine; I formed a company with a young collective of composers called Konzertprojekt; I’ve donned the black hat and beard to tour regional NSW and VIC with The Spooky Men’s Chorale (my connection with Stephen Taberner can be traced back to SCAS’s Vocal Road Trips); I’ve been lucky to win a number of respected composition competitions over the years; I’ve had my music workshopped by New York superstars Bang on a Can; my music has been performed in Sydney festivals including Vivid and Extended Play, as well as internationally in the U.S., the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, and the Asia Saxophone Congress in Shanghai; and I somehow ended up playing piano in The Voice semifinals this year. Oh, and my hair has grown quite long – so many things I would never have dreamed of back in 2014!

Currently I’m working part-time as a freelance composer and part-time as the marketing administrator for Ensemble Offspring, a new-music sextet fronted by international percussion powerhouse Claire Edwardes, and featuring Port Macquarie legend Jason Noble on clarinet! Over the last few years I’ve discovered my deep passion for supporting new music – that is, living, breathing music created by living composers – and I’m very proud to be part of the small Offspring team who work so hard (on a shoestring budget) to create and perform new, relevant music of an exceptional standard. I’m learning so much from them. 

Compositionally, I’ve just finished a busy few months of writing three big works, and I’m currently applying for multiple paid development opportunities, as well as arts grants to produce new works for some of my good friends. Keep your ears open for a flute piece reflecting on climate change and its affect on our beloved town (inspired by Port Macquarie’s recent fires and subsequent flooding); and a substantial 20-minute saxophone work which explores the beauty of science – an ode to the scientific process.

Thanks for reading this far! You can listen to my music, find out more and sign up for future updates at www.benrobinson333.com

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