Baritone BEN KAZEZ has received praise from the San Francisco Classical Voice for his “remarkable” performances of concert and operatic music from the Baroque to the present day. His 2014–2015 season began with a return to the American Bach Soloists Festival, where he performed Handel’s L’Allegro under Jeffrey Thomas. He then performed as soloist in Messiah with Cincinnati Boychoir, Vaughan Williams’s Serenade to Music at the Mondavi Center (UC Davis) under Jeffrey Thomas, Brahms’s German Requiem with the Bay Choral Guild, Haydn’s Creation (Raphael/Adam), Handel’s Ariodante, and Handel’s Acis and Galatea.
Ben grew up in a musical family and initially focused his career on app design, studying voice avocationally and performing operetta and art songs, including a master class with Martin Katz. Then, at a choir audition in San Francisco, he realized music could be a vocation, too.
That audition resulted in an invitation to attend the American Bach Soloists Festival in summer 2013, where he performed as Haman in Handel’s Esther under conductor Jeffrey Thomas and coached with early music luminaries. This launched Ben’s 2013–2014 season in San Francisco, performing as soloist for Beethoven, Handel, Schubert, Bruckner, Weber, and Zelenka with Masterworks Chorale, Peninsula Symphony, Soli Deo Gloria, and the Albany Consort. Ben also made his operatic debut, singing Zoroastro in Handel’s Orlando, and sang several performances with Chanticleer alumni in the nine-voice ensemble Clerestory.
Though performing is his focus, Ben also serves on the marketing committee for San Francisco Opera’s Merola program and has helped market two sold-out crowd-funded opera productions. He is currently exploring ways in which apps can help build new audiences for classical music. Ben is a graduate of Carleton College (magna cum laude with Phi Beta Kappa) and enjoys traveling, speaking Italian and French, cooking, and occasionally juggling.