Ben Richter
is a
composer, accordionist, multi-instrumentalist, and founding director of New York’s Ghost EnsembleHis chamber music explores sound-worlds of constant transformation that combine subtly shifting timbres and sliding microtonal fluctuations to create music that critic George Grella has described as “seek[ing] an altered consciousness … the music sounds like something incomprehensibly massive is passing by, slowly.” As a solo accordionist, Ben Richter draws from experimental improvisation, traditional klezmer practices, and contemporary chamber music to create atmospheric music that explores a timeless, mystical space at the intersection of memory and imagination.

Ben Richter is the founding director of Ghost Ensemble, a New York-based collective dedicated to performances of experiential and experimental music. Other ensembles who have commissioned and premiered his music include the American Symphony Orchestra, Nieuw Ensemble, Ostravska Banda, Da Capo Chamber Players,
New York Miniaturist Ensemble, and SEM Ensemble, for which he has served as a coordinator. He has recently received commissions from the Hudebni Soucasnost festival, Wild Rumpus ensemble, accordion duo Toeac, It Nije Ensemble, Duo Van Amsterdam, trombonist William Lang, and harpist Somna M Bulist. He was a resident composer at Ostrava Days 2013 and 2015, and presented new works Destabilization and Mirovia at the 2013 and 2014 festivals of the Deep Listening Institute. His album Panthalassa: Dream Music of the Once and Future Ocean, combining solo and multitrack accordion, orchestral, and electronic works, was released in June 2017 on the Infrequent Seams label. The 2016 work Wind People, composed for Ghost Ensemble, will be released on Indexical Records in 2018.

In addition to Ghost Ensemble and SEM, Ben has collaborated as a performer with contemporary classical ensembles and rock, folk, klezmer, and jazz bands such as The Dresden Dolls, The Music Tapes, The Land of Dreams, Jason Webley, Over A Cardboard Sea, Dog on Fleas, The Aboriginals, and Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains. He composed and performed for the productions of the Surrealist Training Circus, of which he was musical director from 2004 to 2008.
 He also creates recorded electronic music and musical scores for film and theater, and has presented immersive sound installations at exhibitions in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Ben Richter’s principal teachers include Pauline Oliveros, George Tsontakis, Joan Tower, and Kyle Gann. He studied composition at Bard College and at the Royal Conservatory of The Hague, where he completed an M.M. with research focused on time distortion and parahypnotic phenomena in music. He lives in Berlin.

(click below for high-res photos)

(photography by Craig Redmond)
(photography by Nick Bremer)