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Ben Neill

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Professor of Music (Industry and Production)

Year Joined RCNJ: 2008

Contact Information

Social Media:

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Education:

  • B.M., Youngstown State University
  • M.M., Youngstown State University
  • D.M.A., Manhattan School of Music

Courses Offered:

  • Business of Music
  • Music Online
  • Capstone Seminar in Music
  • DJ Culture
  • Marketing and Management in the Music Industry
  • Avant Garde and Experimental Music
  • Electronic and Computer Music II
  • Digital Music Performance
  • Cross-Cultural Music Theory and Composition (MFA)
  • Advanced Business of Music

Awards and Special Recognition:

  • New York State Council on the Arts, $10,000 Film/New Media and Technology grant for final development and performances of Fantini Futuro, 2022
  • Best in Show award and cash prize for Chaotica, multimedia collaboration with artist Carl Van Brunt. Digital Graffiti exhibition, Alys Beach, Florida, 2021. (Smithsonian Magazine named Digital Graffiti one of top five immersive art experiences in the world.)
  • Artist-in-Residence, Nokia Bell Labs Experiments in Art and Technology program, 2019-21
  • Visiting Artist, American Academy in Rome, 2015, 2018
  • New Music USA Project Grant for the creation of Fathom; Hudson River Data as Music, commissioned by Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries, 2016
  • Artist residency at STEIM (Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music), Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2016
  • Commission grant to create The Demo with Mikel Rouse from Rockefeller Foundation MAP Fund, 2014
  • Individual Artist Grant from New York State Council on the Arts for Manitoga, a work for brass quintet and electronics, commissioned by the Russel Wright Center for Art and Design, 2014
  • Artist in residence, Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music (STEIM) Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2014
  • Thomases’ Award for significant and ongoing contributions to the development of Ramapo College, 2013
  • Commission to create Persephone with Ridge Theater by Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, 2010

Recent Scholarly and Professional Accomplishments

Conference Presentations:

  • IRCAM Forum Montreal at McGill University, Fantini Futuro: Spatial Trajectories and Interactions, 2021
  • International Conference on Audio Display (ICAD), Fathom; Hudson River Data as Music, 2021

Publications/Recordings:

  • “Channels of Diffusion,” article in peer reviewed journal ECHO; A Journal of Music, Thought, and Technology, Orpheus Institute, Ghent, Belgium
  • Trove, 104 track album recorded during Covid-19 pandemic, Blue Math Music, 2020-21
  • Life You Are, collaborative album with Mimi Goese, Blue Math Music, 2021
  • Viscera, song co-written with vocalist Mimi Goese, Amazon Music Exclusive release, 2017
  • Horizonal, album for Mutantrumpet with interactive computer electronics, Audiokult Recordings, Vienna, Austria, 2015
  • Songs for Persephone, music from the BAM Next Wave Festival production, collaboration with vocalist Mimi Goese, Ramseur Records, 2011
  • “Playing into the Machine,” article with NJIT Professor David Rothenberg in Leonardo Music Journal, MIT Press, 2010
  • Night Science, solo album of music for Mutantrumpet with interactive computer electronics, Thirsty Ear Recordings, 2009

Performances:

  • La Monte Young’s Theater of Eternal Music Ensemble, Dream House, New York City, 2021
  • Fantini Futuro, Berrie Center, Ramapo College, 2020
  • ITSOFOMO, Getty Museum, Los Angeles, California, 2019
  • Fathom; Hudson River Data as Music, International Computer Music Conference 2019, New York University, New York, NY
  • Fantini Futuro, world premiere, Roulette Intermedium, Brooklyn, NY, 2019
  • Big Ears Festival 2019, Knoxville, TN
  • Artist residency at STEIM (Studio for Electro-Instrumental Music), Amsterdam, the Netherlands, 2016, 2018
  • ITSOFOMO (In the Shadow of Forward Motion), collaboration with David Wojnarowicz, 3 performances at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, 2018; 2 performances at Kunst Werke Institute, Berlin, Germany, 2019
  • The Second Dream of the High Tension Stepdown Line Transformer by La Monte Young, leader/performer with LA Philharmonic, Disney Hall, Los Angeles, CA, 2018
  • S.E.M. Ensemble at Paula Cooper Gallery, New York, NY, 2018
  • STEIM Summer Concert with Nicolas Collins, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2018
  • Sowieso, Berlin, Germany, with Nicolas Collins, 2018
  • Spectrum, Brooklyn, NY, with Nicolas Collins, 2018
  • WNYC New Sounds Live from the Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, New York, NY, 2017
  • Santa Monica College, Los Angeles, Horizonal, multimedia collaboration with artist Andy Moses, 2017
  • Le Poisson Rouge, New York, NY, collaboration with Mimi Goese, 2016
  • The Towne Crier, Beacon, NY, premiere of Fathom; Hudson River Data as Music, commissioned work with Mimi Goese, 2016
  • Palace of Arts/MUPA Budapest, Hungary, Bartok 2.0, part of Contemporary Arts Festival, 2016
  • Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center, Garrison, NY, performance of commissioned work MANITOGA, 2016
  • International Conference on Live Interfaces, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK, 2016
  • Café Oto, London, UK, 2016
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music with Mimi Goese, 2016
  • Lied Center, University of Kansas, The Demo with Mikel Rouse, 2016
  • Whitney Museum of American Art, collaboration with Mimi Goese, 2015
  • Premiere of The Demo at Bing Concert Hall, Stanford University, 2015
  • Preview performance of The Demo, Playhouse Theater, Krannert Center, University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana, 2014
  • MOMA/PS1, Semiotext(e) 40th Anniversary event, 2014
  • Premiere of MANITOGA, for brass quintet, percussion, live electronics, Russel Wright Center for Art and Design, 2014
  • Lincoln Center Rubenstein Atrium, 2011
  • Moogfest, Asheville, NC, 2011
  • Brooklyn Academy of Music Next Wave Festival, 2010

Scoring / Broadcast:

  • Composed and produced music for 3 national television commercials for John Hancock Investments, 2016
  • Composed and produced music for 9 national television commercials for Cadillac automobiles, 2014

Exhibitions/screenings:

  • ITSOFOMO, collaboration with David Wojnarowicz, KW Art Institute, Berlin, Germany, 2019
  • STEAK ABC, multimedia sculpture/sound installation with Carol Szymanski, Winter Garden at Brookfield Place, New York, NY, 2017
  • Horizonal, multimedia painting/video/sound collaboration with artist Andy Moses, Pascal Gallery at Ramapo College, March 2016
  • ITSOFOMO, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2016
  • ITSOFOMO, Grazer Kunstverain, Graz, Austria, 2015
  • ITSOFOMO, Armand Hammer Museum of Art, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA, 2013
  • ITSOFOMO, Tate Modern Museum, London, UK, 2011
  • ITSOFOMO, Oporto, Lisbon, Portugal, 2012
  • ITSOFOMO, Station Art Museum, Houston, TX, 2010
  • ITSOFOMO, Beirut Art Center, Beirut, Lebanon, 2010

Biography:

Professor Ben Neill is a composer/performer and the creator of the Mutantrumpet, a hybrid electro-acoustic instrument. His active career as a recording and touring artist, curator, and composer for TV and film stretches back to the 1980’s, and he is widely recognized as a musical innovator through his recordings, performances and installations. He teaches primarily in the fields of Music Industry and Music Production, and is the founder and Director of the MFA in Creative Music Technology at Ramapo College.

Neill has recorded twelve albums of his music on labels including Universal/Verve, Thirsty Ear, Astralwerks, and Six Degrees. From 2019-21 he was an Artist in Residence at Nokia Bell Labs where he explored new modes of emotion transfer and communication between people using sound, visual media, and hybrid instruments. Performances include BAM Next Wave Festival, Big Ears Festival, Lincoln Center, Whitney Museum of American Art, Bing Concert Hall at Stanford, Getty Museum, Cite de la Musique Paris, Moogfest, Spoleto Festival, Umbria Jazz, Bang On A Can Festival, ICA London, Istanbul Jazz Festival, Vienna Jazz Festival, and the Edinburgh Festival, among many others.

Neill has worked closely with many musical innovators including La Monte Young, John Cage, John Cale, Pauline Oliveros, Rhys Chatham, DJ Spooky, David Berhman, Mimi Goese, King Britt, and Nicolas Collins. Neill leads concerts of Young’s The Second Dream of the High Tension Stepdown Line Transformer with an international brass ensemble; performances have recently been presented in New York, Amsterdam, Paris, Amsterdam, Huddersfield, Den Bosch, Oslo, Krems, Koln, Los Angeles, and Warsaw.

Neill began developing the Mutantrumpet in the early 1980s. Initially an acoustic instrument (a combination of 3 trumpets and a trombone combined into one), he collaborated with synthesizer pioneer Robert Moog to integrate electronics. In 1992, while in residency at the STEIM research and development lab for new instruments in Amsterdam, Neill made the Mutantrumpet fully computer interactive. In 2008 he created a new version of his instrument at STEIM, and returned there in 2016-17 to design Version 4.0 which made its debut in 2019.

Other current projects include Trove, a 104 track album of ambient music performed on the Mutantrumpet created during the Covid pandemic, and collaborations with vocalist/composer Mimi Goese, chaos mathematician Ralph Abraham, and the Beacon Institute for Rivers and Estuaries.

A native of North Carolina, Neill holds a Doctorate of Musical Arts degree from Manhattan School of Music. He studied composition with La Monte Young and was mentored by composer/performer Jon Hassell in the early 1980’s. Neill has also composed extensively for television and film, see his portfolio of Music for Media here.

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