Composer and performer Benjamin Shaw lends a particularly unique voice to his compositions and projects.
He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Composition from the University Of Rhode Island, studying from such incredible, diverse musicians as Eric Hofbauer, Joe Parillo, David Zinno, and Eliane Aberdam. There he also studied saxophone performance under Dr. Jared Sims. More recently, Shaw has been studying privately with internationally renowned composer Alla Cohen.
Shaw has written for a wide range of ensembles and media - short film and animation scoring - spanning the breadth of musical diversity. While primary focused on jazz and 21st century classical music, he has shown equal proficiency in a range of disciplines and styles. Recently he received high marks from the IBLA Foundation in their 2019 Grand Prize competition for his Solo Flute no. 1 and in the 2018 Grand Prize competition for his String Quartet no. 1, both which earned a distinction in the “Most Distinguished Musicians” category.
As a performer, Shaw has played across the Northeast as a member of several different ensembles, spending time as both a leader and sideman. He plays saxophone and composes for several different jazz ensembles - ranging in size from duo to octet - in which he and his colleagues perform modern compositions in the jazz tradition. Shaw also writes and performs as a singer/songwriter where he digs into the uniqueness of American music and seeks to blend all its facets together for a rich experience where the sounds of folk ballads and second line rhythms can be heard alongside lush jazz harmonies and contemporary styles, all with the craft of a honed musician. He was also the principal composer and lyricist, as well as vocalist and sax player, for Rhode Island based hip-hop/rock/R&B band Milkbread. Although they have since disbanded, the group released a couple of albums, collaborated with local artists, and worked with Converse Shoe’s Rubber Tracks to record and release a single, “Contiguous”.
Aside from being a performer, Shaw also organizes “Is This Jazz?” which hosts concerts around the city of Providence, RI presenting both local and international musicians exploring the outer limits of jazz. He is also a contributing writer to Motif Magazine, where he covers Rhode Island’s evolving jazz scene.
Shaw is excited to be a part of the growing New England arts community as a modern composer and performer.