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From Line - Lee Ufan (1974)

Ben Rieke (b. 2000) is a composer and pianist from Naperville, Illinois. He has previously won awards from the SNM NY Federation of Music Clubs, Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, ASCAP, Tribeca New Music and NYC's Metropolitan Youth Orchestra, and has participated in masterclasses with Georg Friedrich Haas, Du Yun, and David Ludwig. Ensembles and musicians that have performed Ben's work include JACK quartet, Wet Ink Ensemble, Bent Frequency, the Resonance Collective, the Indiana University Concert Orchestra, the Juilliard Orchestra, and Irvine Arditti. He recently graduated from Juilliard's MM composition program studying with Andrew Norman and will join the Yale School of Music in the fall as a DMA candidate. Before that, he studied at Indiana University, obtaining BMs in music composition and piano performance, studying with P.Q. Phan, David Dzubay, Claude Baker, Don Freund and Roberto Plano. At IU, he also obtained a BS in computer science. Among other interests are a lasting passion for rock music and a morbid fascination with artificial intelligence, his specialization during computer science studies. 



I like Marianna Ritchie's articulation of the need to "imagine differently" in the concluding section of her book Composing Capital. Stated another way, I think of the social purpose of art as presenting contradictions: comparing between how we are made to live and how we might alternatively live, and how our artistic experiences might serve as a proxy for this.


When making music, I am trying to reach into the space of unreal things and make them more real, or the opposite—trying to use in the spirit of critique elements of contemporary music that I see as taken for granted—in the hope of deferring a little bit of capitalist realism and the repressive hierarchical structures that come with it.


Practically, this often results in questions of communication, authenticity, critique, and self-reference. Oftentimes I am trying to render unreal musical languages as understandable as possible, or distort the realism of "familiar" materials handed down by tradition. I think reality should be made to appear more confusing while imaginary life should seem resoundingly clear, and that these two goals are two sides of the same coin. To me, any good piece of music (and art in general) is a new instantiation of this ideal.

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