Ben Kazez was a Britten–Pears Young Artist in 2016 and graduated magna cum laude from Carleton College (Minnesota). His facility with languages has drawn him to a wide variety of music, and his facile coloratura and love of the High Baroque have instilled in him a special passion for J.S. Bach.
In summer 2017 he joins the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists to perform Monteverdi L'Orfeo, Poppea, Ulisse, and Vespers (Salzburg Festival, Venice La Fenice, Cremona, Pisa, Chicago, and Paris) and Mendelssohn and Brahms with the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchester, all under Sir John Eliot Gardiner.
In the 2015–16 season his solo performances included Bach cantatas with tenor Mark Padmore at Snape Maltings (Aldeburgh Music, England), Bach cantatas with trumpeter John Thiessen and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock as part of Ben’s Leipzig Cantata Project (San Francisco), Bach St John Passion (learning Jesus on 48 hours’ notice to replace a sick colleague), and Bach cantatas as guest artist at University of San Diego. He also performed Mozart Mass in C at Stanford University (California), Don Basilio in Paisiello Barber of Seville (deemed “vital and fresh” by the San Francisco Classical Voice), Barber’s “Dover Beach” at Herbst Theatre (San Francisco), and a solo recital of songs by Franz Schubert and Czech Holocaust victim Pavel Haas.
In 2016–17 he studies lieder and chansons with collaborative pianist Martin Katz. Performances include eight Bach flute arias in Lyon (France) with a fellow Britten–Pears Young Artist, Bach bass cantata 158 Der Friede sei mit dir as guest artist at San Francisco Conservatory, a return to University of San Diego for three Bach cantatas and Carissimi’s Jephthe, Bach Cantata 147 Herz und Mund, and Schubert lieder in master class at the Collaborative Arts Institute of Chicago.
In previous seasons, Ben performed as soloist in Charpentier Messe à 8 with Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Festival, Bach Mass in B Minor and Handel L’Allegro and Esther (Haman) with American Bach Soloists, Handel Messiah with Cincinnati Boychoir (Ohio), and Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music at University of California, Davis. He also sang music from the renaissance to the contemporary with nine-voice Chanticleer alumni ensemble Clerestory, culminating in “Sing With Haiti” at Grace Cathedral (San Francisco) hosted by Deborah Voigt and Susan Graham. Other solo concert performances have included Haydn Creation (Raphael/Adam) and masses, Bach Christmas Oratorio and St Matthew Passion (arias), Mozart Requiem and masses, Beethoven masses, Brahms Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Vaughan Williams Serenade to Music, and twenty Bach cantatas.
To bring new audiences to baroque music, Ben recently launched the Leipzig Cantata Project, performing with nine other musicians including Tafelmusik trumpeter John Thiessen and Philharmonia Baroque concertmaster Elizabeth Blumenstock. Over 200 people, nearly half of them younger than 35, gathered in San Francisco to hear Bach cantatas and enjoy German wine and snacks with the performers. The project was featured by KWMR radio, the Goethe Institut, and the San Francisco Early Music Society.
Ben resides in California and is fluent in French and Italian.