© 2009 Cotswold Suzuki Group. Site updated 2015
Ben Powell started playing the violin at the age of 2 as a member of the Cotswold Suzuki Group. At age 6 Ben performed as a soloist in the first ever National Suzuki Concert at Symphony Hall, Birmingham. At 11 years old Ben was chosen by the British Suzuki Institute to represent Great Britain as part of an International Suzuki celebration in Japan during the 1998 Winter Olympics. In 1999 Ben travelled to the US with the National Isis Strings Academy of Great Britain, performing at the Kennedy Center and the US Capital Building in Washington DC. Ben was also a featured soloist in two Suzuki tour groups at the ages of 8 and 11 years old visiting various venues in Europe and the US and performed again for the BSI in the Purcell Room concerts in London.
In 1998 Ben won a major music scholarship to Dean Close School and while there successfully gained a place in the National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain. In his final year with the orchestra he was awarded the position of leader of the second violins. He performed annually at the London Proms as well as most of the major concert venues in England.
Unlike most classically trained musicians, Ben not only developed a strong interest in jazz but the versatility to be able to play swinging improvisations. He credits the Suzuki method with giving him the technical and aural training that allowed him the freedom to improvise without the normal restrictions so many classically trained musicians suffer from when asked to play without music.
In 2005 Ben was awarded a scholarship to study at Berklee College of Music in Boston. He graduated in 2009 summa cum laude with a degree in jazz composition. While at Berklee Ben spent several summers touring the US performing with an organization called ‘The Roads to You Tour’. Their mandate was both musical and educational, bringing music to inner city youths who may never have heard live classical or jazz music before as well as giving concerts to people like Mrs. Laura Bush and Her Majesty Queen Noor of Jordan. In 2007 Ben had the honour of meeting ‘The Champ’ Muhammad Ali who sponsored the ‘Roads to You Tour’ in the city of Louisville, Kentucky, Ali’s hometown.
Ben performs with several different bands including the Ben Powell Quartet, Dr. Magpie and The International String Trio. In the past year some of Ben’s performances have included concerts at the Tanglewood Music Festival, summer home of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival, San Francisco and the ‘Toast of the Nation’ 2009 concert in Boston. In April Ben was awarded a residency at the Kennedy Center for the 2010 Betty Carter Jazz Ahead Program. This summer will see him playing at music festivals in both the US and Canada.
Ben enjoys recording and has two CDs available for purchase; Light with the Ben Powell Quartet and Appalachia with the International String Trio. He has just finished recording his second solo CD, this time with the Hot Club of Norway, as well as a second CD with the International String Trio both to be released later this year. You can keep up with Ben at his website .
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|Gallery Viney Hill 2011|
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