“He is one of those rare young musicians who establishes his individuality in three or four notes." - Artsjournal (Doug Ramsey)
Despite his age, Ben van Gelder (22) is emerging as an important new voice on the New York jazz scene. Musicians and peers alike prize him for his unique sound, originality and artistic integrity. He performs all around the world in various settings and formations. When not performing Ben keeps himself busy writing, practicing and listening in search of a highly personal expression. His highly anticipated debut album, Frame of Reference, released in june 2011, features some of the most talented musicians from the New York jazz scene. The music he plays has a strong investment in the jazz tradition, but entertains an original approach, encompassing a multitude of contemporary influences. He often chooses for chord-less formations, seeking new harmonic explorations, making for music that is harmonically intricate, yet always striving to be lyrical.
A native of the Netherlands, Ben grew up in a family with a penchant for music. He decided to pursue music at a young age studying with many acclaimed musicians in the Netherlands. He was admitted to the Conservatory of Amsterdam where he studied under the tutelage of Ferdinand Povel and Dick Oatts. At this time Ben started performing regularly throughout the country with some of the Netherlands most prominent musicians at venues including the Bim-Huis and the North Sea Jazz Festival.
In 2006 Ben moved to New York to further his music and academic studies at the New School University. He received lessons from revered musicians such as Lee Konitz and George Garzone. During his three year stay in the city Ben has played or recorded with many prominent contemporary jazz musicians including David Binney, Ambrose Akinmusire, Nasheet Waits, Aaron Parks, John Escreet, Ben Street, Thomas Morgan and Rodney Green. As a leader and as a sideman Ben has performed at many important venues in the city.Over the past years Ben was the recipient of various national and international awards. NFAA nominated Ben for the Stan Getz/ Clifford Brown fellowship (2005). He received the highest honor for his achievements over the course of the program. Recently, Ben was the winner of the Deloitte Jazz Award (2008), which is considered to be the most prestigious jazz award in the Netherlands. The jury prized Ben for his musical integrity, choice of repertoire and highly personal sound.
Beside playing at some of New York’s major Jazz venues, Ben has performed at many important international venues and festivals in countries such as the UK, Canada, Bulgaria, Belgium, Portugal, Spain and Norway.
-Deloitte Jazz Award (2008)
-NFAA Clifford Brown/ Stan Getz fellowship award (2004)