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Ben Zucker (photo by Deidre Huckabay).

Photo by Deidre Huckabay

Short & Sweet

Ben Zucker engages in acts of creative juxtaposition and speculation as a composer, audiovisual artist, and multi-instrumentalist. Acclaimed as a "master of improvisation" (IMPOSE Magazine), and “more than a little bit remarkable” (Free Jazz Blog), they have contributed to experimental music scenes across North America and the UK with “stirring compositions…built on a lifetime of musical curiosity” (Chicago Reader), as well as albums, multimedia situations, and frequent performances on vibraphone, brass, voice, and electronics. They currently live in Chicago, working as a freelance musician, lecturer, curator, and President of New Music Chicago.

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Photo by Ricardo Adame

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Photo by KT Shivak

Less Short, Still Sweet

Ben Zucker uses music to speculate on the systems and shapes of change, which has lead to a wide-ranging career as a composer, multi-instrumentalist improviser, producer, and cultural worker, with contributions to experimental scenes worldwide.

 

Taking initial influence from theater, jazz, and fantasy, they create “stirring compositions…built on a lifetime of musical curiosity” (Chicago Reader). Ben's works frequently incorporate experimental systems of notation and indeterminacy, paired with an ear for juxtaposing immersive textures against gestural precision, with the overall goal of bringing both performers and audiences into reflexive spaces for reframing what is sensible in our world(s).

 

Collaborators and performers of these works include the Chicago Composers Orchestra, Wild Up, David Moliner, Third Coast Percussion, Los Angeles Percussion Quartet, Mivos Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, Khorikos, Nucleo Musica Nova, Cristina Gallo's Siren Songs, Missing Piece, Quijote Duo, San Francisco Choral Artists, San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, Constellation Men's Ensemble, and the New York Virtuoso Singers. These works, as well as scores for theater, film, and dance, have appeared at the Brighton Fringe Festival, Darmstadt Fereinkurse, Ostrava New Music Days (Czechia), Ear Taxi Festival (Chicago), DOCNYC, Trinity College Dublin, TUTTI Festival, SEAMUS' National Conference, CICA Museum (South Korea), and the Banff Centre (Canada),
and are published by Universal Edition.

 

He has been acclaimed as a "master of improvisation" (IMPOSE Magazine) and “more than a little bit remarkable” (Free Jazz Blog) for albums ranging from free jazz to eccentric chamber music to cinematic ambient collages, released on labels including Infrequent Seams, Whitelabelrecs, Sawyer Editions, A Red Thread, Records To Burn, Dinzu Artefacts, ears&eyes records, Slow Tone Collages/Shimmering Moods Records, and Amalgam. 

 

As a performer, they utilize vibraphone, brass, keys, voice, and electronics across styles including with musicians such as Anthony Braxton, Gareth Davis, the Vocal Constructivists, Karen Borca, Rinde Eckert, and Beth Orton, and make frequent local appearances as an ensemble contributor and bandleader of experimental jazz quartet Fifth Season and creative music collective Mad Myth Science, the latter called “the next generation of Chicago jazz” by the Quietus. Other highlights include performances at the Chapel of the Chimes' Garden of Memory marathon (Oakland), the international Audio Branding Academy (Berlin), Switchboard Music Festival (San Francisco), PRF Campout (Michigan), and residencies with OneBeat, the Indeterminacy Festival (Buffalo/Montreal/NYC), Art Omi, UnCool Edition (Poschiavo, CH), and the Atlantic Center for the Arts (Florida).

 

Following studies at Wesleyan University (BA), Brunel University London (MA), and Northwestern University (PhD), they continue to live in Chicago, working as a freelance musician, lecturer, President of New Music Chicago, and curator for Elastic Arts’ Improvised Music Series.

 

Resume/CV available on request.

 

 

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