Alumni Update: Benjamin Beilman
Ben was a mere 13 years old when he performed on From the Top, but we had a strong feeling that he was going places, and indeed he has. Now 25, Ben is an award-winning soloist who performs across the US as well as internationally.
Ben remembers his time on From the Top as being both fun and invaluable. Being on the show served him well because it provided him with early exposure to a very different kind of performance opportunity – learning how to quickly work together with his trio which was formed just for the occasion, and playing for live radio. In his work on From the Top, he also remembers learning how important it is to go from concentrating intently on his playing, to immediately having to walk up to a microphone and form complete sentences!
Ben is very excited about his current direction. He is moving forward as a young soloist, while simultaneously placing a heavy emphasis on collaboration and chamber music. Last summer he loved playing at the Bravo Vail Valley Music Festival with the Philadelphia Orchestra, conducted by Robert Spano, where they performed Jennifer Higdon’s Pulitzer prize-winning violin concerto. After spending so much time at The Curtis Institute in Philadelphia, Ben truly relished this because he considers The Philadelphia Orchestra his “most beloved orchestra – my hometown orchestra.” He explained, “I listened to them every weekend at Curtis. I know their sound and their playing, and after seeing them so many times from the top tiers of the balcony, being able to share the stage and solo with them was a highlight I’ll always remember.”
Last year, in 2014, Ben was thrilled to receive the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship, a wonderful scholarship program based in London with a blind audition process.
“Being chosen for this was like a dream come true,” Ben shared. “The purpose of the award is to help you achieve your goals in whatever way you want or need.”
They awarded him 20,000 pounds (approximately $30,000!) toward pursuing his own projects and ideas.
“What they are saying is, ‘go and explore and create, and we’ll help.’”
Ben used part of the funds to purchase a Tourte bow, an extremely high quality bow made in 1820. He used additional award money to update his photo resources, and he used the remainder to cover the expenses of recording his debut CD with Warner Classics, his first official CD with a major label.
Ben plays a Peter Greiner violin. Greiner is a contemporary German who now lives in London. His violins are unique in that they feel “unbelievably accepting and can be so quickly maneuvered.” Whether his concert is outdoors, in a small hall, or in a 3000 person auditorium, with this precious violin Ben can change the tone, color, emotion, character, or amplitude of his music at a moment’s notice.
Ben is still young, of course, but now that he is 25 and successfully concertizing, his advice to young musicians who appear on the show is eloquent.
“Enjoy playing your music as much as possible, and as long as possible. Try to hold on to the untainted enthusiasm of music making, no matter what happens. Your love of music and the score itself will never betray you – you can always depend on it.”
Even when things get tough, Ben can always go back to the music itself to replenish his soul.