This American composer is a native of Santa Barbara, California and studied at the University of Illinois, St. Olaf College, and Westminster Choir College. He studied conducting with Joseph Flummerfelt, Kenneth Jennings, Frauke Haasemann, and composition with John Bertalot, Charles Bertalot, Charles Forsberg and Stefan Young. His choirs have appeared on national and state conventions of ACDA, with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra and Garrison Keillor. Since 1988, Ben as been composer-in-residence and Director of Worship and Music at First Christian Church, Des Moines, Iowa, Ben has completed over 70 commissions in many genres. Research in Kenya and Tanzania on the role of singing in strengthening community and solving conflict produced his extended work BANDARI: Inside These Walls, which established him as a leader in the development of cross-cultural choral repertoire. Central to Ben’s UNESCO -based Thresholds Choral Festivals, his eclectic body of work reflects a passion for cross-cultural experiences as well as for the great Western musical traditions.