Beginning in 1992, when his group New Klezmer Trio “kicked open the door for radical experiments with Ashkenazi roots music” (SF Chronicle), clarinetist Ben Goldberg has established himself as “one of the most vibrant, flexible, and inventive clarinetists in jazz and improvised music” (Downbeat). NPR calls Ben “an artist who seems to find beautiful melodies at the end of every path,” and The New York Times has noted his music for “a feeling of joyous research into the basics of polyphony and collective improvising.” After twice being named Rising Star Clarinetist in the Downbeat Critics Poll, he now consistently places in the top two in the Clarinet category. Ben has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, Chamber Music America, and the Shifting Foundation.
Ben has released over forty albums of his original music, including Go Home, “a searching ensemble that welcomes lyrical improvisation while embracing the groove” (The New Yorker); Orphic Machine, a song-cycle with lyrics from Allen Grossman’s speculative poetics — “knotted and occasionally spooky composition marked by dazzling interplay” (LA Times); and Everything Happens To Be, which All About Jazz said “seems to come from a place outside of time – or maybe it comes from several times simultaneously.”
In his coursework on improvisation at UC Berkeley, Ben is dedicated to helping students develop the skill and knowledge to further their own exploration of spontaneous musical creation.