A bold, expressive, risk-taking performer, and called “a phenomenal harpist” by Chicago Magazine, Chicago-based harpist Ben Melsky is committed to breaking pre-conceived notions of the harp’s capabilities and re-defining them. Through performance, collaboration, residencies, educational initiatives and presentations he encourages creating new, effectual means of expression.
Dedicated to connecting audiences to the music of the 21st century, Ben is Executive Director and harpist of the highly acclaimed Ensemble Dal Niente with whom he has performed nationally in concerts and residencies. Additionally, he is the principal harp for the Joffrey Ballet and has played with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, Chicago Opera Theater, Grant Park Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic and Ann Arbor Symphony among many others. He has worked closely with or premiered works by leading composers of today including George Lewis, Augusta Reed Thomas, Marc Andre, Anthony Cheung, Raphael Cendo, Tomas Gueglio, Eliza Brown, Katherine Young and Marcos Balter among others.
In addition to his work as an orchestral musician, he has played in numerous Jeff-Award winning musicals including Sunday in Park with George and Follies at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, A Little Night Music at Writer’s Theater, and Animal Crackers at the Goodman Theater. Solo and chamber highlights include appearances at the Kennedy Center, Northwestern University, Art Institute of Chicago, Latino Music Festival, Music Institute of Chicago and WFMT broadcasts. His debut recording Sommeil was released in December 2013 and he can be heard on Ryan Muncy’s Hot, released in November 2013 for the New Focus Label and one of the NYTimes Artsbeat best CD’s of 2013. He is currently pursuing his Doctoral degree at Northwestern where he has both B.M. and M.M.