Welcome to Philadelphia Jazz Project

Mysterious Traveler - Ben Singer

Ben Singer 1Mysterious Traveler 4 Concert Series

November 20th, 2017 - 7PM | Ben Singer

Parkway Central Library | Montgomery Auditorium
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189


All events in this series are FREE, but you must RSVP



Mysterious Travelers 4: Further Investigations - a collaboration between The Free Library of Philadelphia and Philadelphia Jazz Project. Back by overwhelming popular demand! FREE concerts on Monday nights from September 2017 through May 2018; audiences will hear from veteran, as well as up-and-coming musicians who are shaping the future sounds of Philadelphia with a sharp ear to the legacies of our past. This season our artists will continue to celebrate the massive and amazing collections of the Free Library by exploring them as a source of inspiration for the creation of new musical works.


Ben Singer is a drummer local to Philadelphia and strives to build upon the strong music tradition that the city is known for. While attending Temple University, he studied with teachers such as Dan Monaghan, Dick Oatts and Byron Landham to hone his skills and learn the history of the music. Singer is interested in incorporating new elements into the tradition and and works to play within the space between the familiar and the unexpected. He has worked with many of the areas local talents including: Josh Lee, Tim Warfield, Daud El-Bakara, Jack St. Clair, Chelsea Reed, Julian Hartwell and more. He has also worked as a musician on the Holland America Cruise Line. Furthermore, Ben Singer works as a bandleader/composer and strives to continually find his voice in the pursuit of presenting original music to the world.


Drummer and composer, Ben Singer will be our next guest artist in the Mysterious Traveler Concert Series. In his concert, Ben Singer will explore musical possibilities for Dostoyevsky's classic novel, "Crime and Punishment."


PJP spoke with Ben Singer, about his music, approach and the new project that he will reveal in the Mysterious Traveler Concert Series.


Ben Singer 2PJP: Can you briefly describe your musical direction?


Ben Singer:  An overarching theme in my work is the interplay between the expected and the unexpected. I like to deliver music that is pleasing and melodic, while simultaneously finding ways to surprise the listener. This extends to the tradition as well; it is important not to be a copy of someone that came before, but everything I play still has to be connected to the spirit of the music. As for my influences, the great Philadelphia musicians on the scene today have had a huge effect, showing me how to have a musical personality while serving the music. The great classical composers have had an effect on me as well, exemplifying how to achieve musical order to express ideas more clearly.


PJP: What are you going to present at the Mysterious Traveler Concert Series?


Ben Singer: I will be presenting works related to Dostoevsky's, Crime and Punishment. The book is about a young man who commits a murder with a degree of good intention. He gets away with it, but discovers dark moral realities in the process. My works will not be reiterations of the plot, but rather musical reflections on the inner experience of the main character, Rodion Raskolnikov meant to invoke an emotional connection to his experience.


Ben Singer 3PJP: Why is this theme/concept so important? Can you explain your process and the steps that led to this performance?


Ben Singer: My goal is to abstract Raskolnikov’s journey into musical concepts. The audience may not know what is going on in a literal sense but they will feel something related to the themes of the work nonetheless. I think this is one the particular strengths of instrumental music, due to its inherently abstract nature.


While reading Crime and Punishment, I took note of spots that resonated with me and made a list. I picked a few of these and turned them into musical pieces. It was important to have the big picture mapped out first, as I wanted things to be interconnected.


PJP: How do you manage the task of creating and encouraging fresh, new, forwarding moving musical ideas while simultaneously exploring, celebrating and documenting the past?


Ben Singer:  This is a challenge, but one where the best ideas can come from. For me, I find it very useful to take things that have already been done and twist them into something new. If it is a melodic concept for example I will try to internalize it completely and then start tinkering with it, moving notes and rhythms. After that point I trust my ear to guide me towards musical ideas that make the most sense to me personally.


PJP: When listening to your music what advice would you give the audience to assist with greater understanding and enjoyment?


Ben Singer: Listen to the musical tools I am using and how I am arranging things to convey a mood. A classic example of this kind of thing is the use of tension and release. Where does the music sound consonant? Where does it sound dissonant? A lot of composing is about finding clever ways of combining these two feelings to achieve an emotional effect on the listener.


PJP: Why Jazz? When you could be doing anything else, Why this music?


Ben Singer 4Ben Singer:  I find Jazz interesting because it is a direct connection to the history of America, allowing a greater perspective on society today. It always has you engaged in the past while expecting you to push forward at the same time. Furthermore, the music demands a lot from you as a performer, but the reward is wonderful; you are able to express yourself as an individual, while feeling connected to something greater. Lastly, many lessons learned while pursuing the music can be applied to other areas of life, such as teamwork, individuality, connection and innovation.



November 20th, 2017 - 7PM | Ben Singer

Parkway Central Library | Montgomery Auditorium
1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189


All events in this series are FREE, but you must RSVP




Follow PJP, like us, or just check us out at our pages on these social media platforms...




Mysterious Traveler 4 - Further Investigations Concert Series is produced by Philadelphia Jazz Project in collaboration with The Free Library of Philadelphia.


PJP Logo               FLP


Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Wyncote Foundation.


<< Go back to the previous page

Tags : BenSinger MysteriousTraveler FreeConcert FreeLibrary Philadelphia MontgomeryAuditorium CentralLibrary CrimeandPunishment Dostoevsky RodionRaskolnikov Drums Drummer TempleUniversity DanMonaghan DickOatts ByronLandham JoshLee TimWarfield DaudEl-Bakara JackSt.Clair ChelseaReed JulianHartwell PhillyJazz




Philly Jazz Quotes

If it hadn't been for him, there wouldn't have been none of us. I want to thank Mr. Louis Armstrong for my livelihood.
                    Dizzy Gillespie

Other Info





Jazz News

Philadelphia Jazz Project is a sponsored project of the Culture Trust | Greater Philadelphia, with funding provided by The Philadelphia Foundation.