Based in Northern New England
“I don’t necessarily think of my pieces as rendering places in music, but more just as a way for me to respond to places musically. Writing music just turns out to be a great way for me to process the world.”
Ben Cosgrove is a composer, pianist, and multi-instrumentalist whose work focuses on the human experience of landscape and place. Based in northern New England but largely peripatetic, Ben has spent years intimately exploring every corner of the country and writing music in response to it. His latest studio album, Field Studies, was named one of the best area records of the year by Sound of Boston, and RedLine Roots described his live album, Solo Piano, as “stunning” and “expertly played.”
From 2012 to 2014 Ben served as the Signet Artist-in-Residence Fellow at Harvard University, and he is a recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. He has also held residencies and fellowships at Acadia National Park, Isle Royale National Park, Middlebury College, the Vermont Studio Center, the Schmidt Ocean Institute, and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and he was the 2015-16 artist in residence at White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and Maine. Ben himself has performed his music in 48 states, and his piece Carrying Capacity, inspired by ecological data, was premiered by Wild Shore New Music Ensemble in Homer, AK in 2016. He has spoken about music and landscape at the 2016 Water and Place Conference at Princeton University and at the 2015 conference of the Association of Environmental Studies and Sciences in San Diego.
“Little Rain” (2013) from Field Studies. Violin, synthesizer, electric guitar, organ, double bass, piano, field recordings, performed and recorded by Ben Cosgrove in 2014.
“‘Little Rain’ is a song from my 2014 record Field Studies — it’s intended in part as a portrait of the Sierra Nevada, and is meant to draw an implicit link between finding one’s way while lost in an overwhelming and disorienting landscape and an analogous emotional situation of finding ballast and clarity after crisis, confusion, or heartbreak.”
Carrying Capacity (2015). Performed by Wild Shore New Music Ensemble (Andie Tanning Springer – viola; Mariel Roberts – cello) in 2016.
“Carrying Capacity is a piece inspired by an artist residency I undertook at Isle Royale National Park. The piece is driven by data collected by wildlife biologists over the course of fifty years on the island, comparing the changing populations of moose and wolves in that isolated environment. I tried to mirror the general trajectory of those population trends as well as historic moments of stress and balance in the ecosystem using the textures of both instruments. See the program notes and score for more information.”