"iconoclastic" and "inventive"
The New York Times
Since 1980 Benjamin Verdery has performed worldwide in theatres and at festivals, including Theatre Carré (Amsterdam); the International Guitar Festival (Havana, Cuba); Wigmore Hall (England); the 92nd Street Y, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center and the Metropolitan Opera (NYC). His tours regularly take him to Canada, Europe, Asia and throughout the United States. He has recorded and performed with such diverse artists as Andy Summers, Frederic Hand, William Coulter, Leo Kottke, Anthony Newman, Jessye Norman, Paco Peña, Hermann Prey and John Williams. Several composers have composed music for him including Ezra Laderman, Martin Bresnick, Daniel Asia, John Anthony Lennon, Ingram Marshall, Anthony Newman, Roberto Sierra, Van Stiefel and Jack Vees. Of particular note was the commissioning by the Yale University Music Library of a work by Ingram Marshall for classical and electric guitars. Benjamin and Andy Summers premiered Dark Florescence at Carnegie Hall with the American Composers Orchestra and at the Belfast Festival (Ireland) with the Ulster Orchestra.
Benjamin has released over 15 albums, his most recent being: Happy Here with William Coulter (Mushkatweek) and Branches with works by J.S. Bach, Strauss, Jimi Hendrix, Mozart and the traditional Amazing Grace (Mushkatweek). His recording, Start Now (Mushkatweek), won the 2005 Classical Recording Foundation Award. Other recordings of note include Some Towns & Cities which won the 1992 Guitar Player Magazine Best Classical Guitar Recording and his collaborations with John Williams (John Williams Plays Vivaldi) and Andy Summers (First you Build A Cloud).
The Guitar Society of Toronto is proud to announce that five of its long-time volunteers received the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards for their continuing contribution to the organization. Honorees Eli Kassner (50 years), Ann Kassner (40 years), Harold Levy (25 years), Jack Silver (20 years) and Jeffrey McFadden (20 years) were recognized during a recent Guitar Society event.
On October 16th Eli Kassner, founder and Artistic Director Emeritus of The Guitar Society of Toronto, attended a ceremony presided over by The Honourable Bob Rae, where he was presented with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.