Two types of people walk the alleys of Melbourne’s wildly eclectic arts scene: those who argue classical music is a static art form, and those who know the work of Ben Opie.
Tackling mind-blowing innovation with the class and sensitivity of a veteran, Ben is a young oboist of matchless capacity performing at the cutting edge of classical music’s fresh-faced evolution. With a big emphasis on innovation and meaningful collaborations, Ben’s approach has the power to keep classical music connected and relevant to its audience. He does this not only in his performing career but also in his new role as Artistic Director of the Peninsula Summer Music Festival.
You’d take him for a Melbournian, of course. Bearded, sharply dressed, and with a warm and generous demeanor, but you were certain of your opinions on what classical music is, and the effects it can have, right? Think again. Not in recent history has an Australian classical musician moved so courageously between projects. Bach from a three-tonne truck in a gritty Melbourne pop-up venue? No problem.
Amongst a history of solo performances throughout Europe, the Middle East and North America, Ben’s boundary-obliterating chamber group, Inventi Ensemble has featured at the heart of the Australian music scene since early 2014. A champion of contemporary repertoire and mixed-media works, Ben has collaborated with Gretchen Miller (ABC Radio National) and artist Cecilia White (‘The Breathing Space Projects’), and has appeared in various other multimedia performances, both locally and internationally.
Ben has featured around the world as an expert music mentor. His unique approach to pedagogy and practice seeks to encourage in young musicians not only the development of their musicianship but their creative entrepreneurial skills to boot.
If there’s a young mind qualified to speak on true professional balance today, there’s no doubt it’s this one.