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One thing unifies the body of work brought to life by revolutionary creative thinker, Ben Opie: the poetry of a beautifully curated concept. For more than 10 years, Opie has delivered on his ability to build collective momentum around a shared artistic vision. Whether musician, producer, collaborator or artistic director, these roles are mere tools in the toolbox. The core of his practice? Distilling an idea and achieving it through a process of unyielding creative deep-dive.


It’s a skill that’s becoming increasingly recognised across the sector. In 2018, Opie accepted his invitation to join Peninsula Summer Music Festival as its second-ever Artistic Director. Taking immediate steps to broaden the impact of the festival, the 2019 program brought more music to more people than ever before including 25 performances at 17 venues across the Mornington Peninsula region. As Director of groundbreaking outfit, Inventi Ensemble co-founded in 2013 with collaborator Melissa Doecke, Opie has commissioned dozens of new contemporary Australian works, performing at countless major national venues including Hamer Hall and Melbourne Recital Centre.


Opie is a dedicated and proficient builder of artistic communities. From 2014 to 2017, he produced twice-weekly music-making workshops for detainees of Melbourne’s immigration detention centres. As Creative Director of Melbourne Recital Centre’s 'Sound Matters', Opie partnered with cultural leaders, Vision Australia to design and deliver a series of workshops to train musicians in interactive outreach workshops for visually impaired children. In 2019, Opie was the only Australian artist invited to present at the annual Flying Carpet Festival in Turkey, an appearance in which he supported Syrian refugee children to devise and build musical instruments from found materials.


From life-drawing classes featuring musicians as models to the performance of Bach from a ten-tonne truck, Opie’s creative thought leadership achieves what others rarely can: a meaningful and memorable combination of diversity, access and innovation.


As a performer, Opie embodies this same sense of ingenuity. Featuring with Ad Lib Collective as part of boundary-pushing Melbourne music series, Play On (2021), Opie joined contemporary artists Sleep D in the creation of a new work: Flashed Glass, an album of six tracks fusing electronic music with the timeless versatility of orchestral instruments. His collaboration with 2011 Young Australian Jazz Artist of the Year, Johannes Luebbers saw the development of Opioid, a work exploring the deepest, darkest crevices of Opie’s dexterities as a player. In 2017, Opie traveled to Tenant Creek as a member of the Opera Australia Chamber Orchestra to produce Rayella, an LP collaboration with First Nations artists Eleanor and Raymond Dixon. More recently, Opie’s work with Rwandan-British composer Stéphanie Kabanyana Kanyandekwe utilises long-form conversations between both artists to direct multidimensional creative performances in sound. Each project represents an extension of these discussions, featuring artworks by Cerith Wyn Evans, Brook Andrew and Kabanyana Kanyandekwe herself.


Born in 1981 in Melbourne, Opie has fast become a fixture of the Australian arts scene, a standing enhanced by his commitment to mentoring young and emerging artists. Pairing a focus on technical skill with the enhancement of conceptual bravery, creative dexterity and the performance mindset, Opie’s offering is unique. It has secured him regular appearances with students of the Australian National Academy of Music, Melbourne Conservatorium of Music, Australian Youth Orchestra, and the Freedman Fellowship, and other Australian youth music organisations.


What many have come to realise is that Ben Opie’s key strength comes from an ability to sew narratives of beauty from fractured elements of the whole. Music making is simply the medium that allows him to deliver.


Oboe Oboist Australia Musician Classical Music Performing Arts
The Age - Tony Way Melbourne 2021
"Ben Opie’s plaintive solos on oboe and cor anglais were matched by beautifully sculpted melodies from violinist Kyla Matsuura-Miller"
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