Benjamin Maxwell Park was born in 1987 in Boston, Massachusetts. His passion for and interest in music began at least as early as age 8 when he started taking piano lessons.
In his high school years at Boston Latin School, Ben continued to delve deeper into music. He picked up the French horn his freshman year and began writing a few short pieces for piano. Though by his senior year of high school he had yet to take any formal composition classes, a growing interest in composition inspired Ben to write an orchestral overture to supplement The Moonlight Room, a play in which he also was participating as an actor.
But it was not until arriving in the fall of 2006 at MIT that Ben started studying and writing music more seriously. After declaring his physics major, Ben soon added ambitions for a second degree in music. While continuing his physics studies at MIT, Ben took over a dozen music classes, ranging from composition to analysis to history and more. Over his four years at MIT, Ben studied with Peter Child, Keeril Makan, and Charles Shadle and also had works read by the MIT Symphony Orchestra (MITSO) and Quartet X. He also played horn in the MIT Wind Ensemble (MITWE) under the direction of Fred Harris and participated in MIT’s Musical Theatre Guild. In recognition of all his contributions to the MIT Music and Theater Arts Department, Ben was awarded the Gregory Tucker Memorial Prize in 2009.
Additionally at MIT, Ben taught an Advanced Placement Music Theory class for high school students and worked as a research assistant with the Speech Communication Group, where he investigated the stimuli of errors and rhythmic patterns in speech. He graduated from MIT in June 2010 with an S.B. in Physics and an S.B. in Music.
Electing to follow his passion for music, Ben enrolled at the Hartt School of Music in West Hartford, Connecticut the following fall in a master’s degree program. During his first year there he studied composition with Larry Alan Smith and was commissioned to write a new choral piece for the Connecticut Choral Artists (CONCORA), which was premiered in April 2011. In the second year of his master’s program, Ben studied with Robert Carl. He wrote original music to accompany the Theatre Division’s production of Molière’s Tartuffe and had his Daydream Suite performed by the Hartt Symphony. Ben completed his master’s degree in composition in the spring of 2012, composing his first symphony for his master’s thesis.
Ben continued his studies at the Hartt School of Music, pursuing an Artist Diploma. After spending a year studying with David Macbride, he also worked with Ken Steen. In 2013 Ben was awarded the Burton Scholarship for music composition, and for the 2013-2014 academic year served as the Graduate Theory Teaching Fellow at Hartt. He continued to play horn at Hartt in Capitol Winds, a symphonic band comprised of students , music educators, and adult members of the greater Hartford community led by Gary Partridge. The group premiered his The Lady, or the Tiger? in December 2012. Ben has also had two works premiered by Hartt’s Foot in the Door ensemble – a violin concerto, Huldufólk, and For Those Who Hold Fast for chamber orchestra. The former was recently played in Reykjavik, Iceland, as part of the Dark Music Days Festival in January 2015.
In the fall of 2014, Ben embarked on a doctoral program in music composition at the New England Conservatory in Boston. He is currently in the studio of Kati Agócs. Since returning to Boston, he has had multiple works premiered in NEC’s Jordan Hall, including when in 2017, the Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) premiered The Dwarf Planets (an addendum of sorts to Holst’s renowned suite). That summer Ben was the composer in residence at the new Flatirons Chamber Music Festival in Boulder, Colorado, started by fellow NEC musicians Jamie Clark and Kenny Lee, where he returned this past June. Ben also coordinated the Tuesday Night New Music series at NEC and has been teaching a variety of theory and composition courses at NEC, Boston College, and MIT.
Outside of music, Ben has also developed an enthusiasm for improv comedy, culminating in his participation in and leadership of MIT’s premier improv comedy group, Roadkill Buffet. He also enjoys hiking, cooking and baking, reading, and photography. Ben currently resides in West Roxbury, Massachusetts, with his wife, Kira Sargent.