19 Grove St. ~ PO Box 58 ~ Peterborough, NH 03458 ~ 603-924-3235 

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Music in Bass Hall: Ben Cosgrove

October 22, 2017 @ 3:00 pm

$15 – $18

Ben Cosgrove is a composer, pianist, and multi-instrumentalist based in New England. He performs regularly all over the country, writes scores for films, plays, radio, and television, and has produced several well-received albums of original instrumental music. His “electric and exhilarating” live performances on solo piano are at once dazzling and intimate, the music both delicate and commanding. 

The strongest forces guiding Ben’s composition and performances are his deep interests in landscape, place, and ecology. “I don’t think of my pieces as rendering places in music,” he notes in an article in Harvard Magazine, “but more just as responding to places musically. Writing music just turns out to be a great way for me to process the world.” For years, Ben has been inspired by the ways people respond to built and natural environments, and through songs with names like “Prairie Fire,” “I am Walking Inland,” “Nashua,” and others, he seeks to recreate these phenomena with sound. A year spent researching the preservation of natural soundscapes in America’s national parks has also shaped much of his new material. “I’m interested in the relationship between sound and a sense of place,” he says. “So much of the North American soundscape is becoming clouded with drones and mechanized noise that it’s quickly losing the rich diversity you see in the continent’s visual landscape.”

From 2012 to 2014 Ben served as the Signet Artist-in-Residence Fellow at Harvard University, and he is a recipient of the St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award. He has also held residencies and fellowships at Acadia National Park, Isle Royale National Park, Middlebury College, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology, and he was the 2015-16 artist in residence at White Mountain National Forest in New Hampshire and Maine.

In 2014, Ben released Field Studies, his first full-length studio offering since 2011′s Yankee Division, which focused specifically on the environment of north-central New England. The music on Field Studies looks through a broader lens, considering the human experience of many dramatically varied physical landscapes across North America. Different sections of the album utilize field recordings, innovative arrangements, and elegantly interwoven melodies to evoke deserts, wilderness lakes, prairies, mountain ranges, coastlines, and sprawling suburbs all in turn. In one piece, swirling arpeggios capture the disorientation of a fast drive across the plains; in another, murmuring dissonances suggest the swell of the tide. Taken as a whole, the record and the performances Cosgrove has given in the wake of its release offer an intimate aural tour of the continent and a unique expression of place. At the end of 2014, Sound of Boston named Field Studies one of the best local albums released that year.

In addition to his solo work, Ben has performed and recorded with a wide spectrum of other artists that includes David Berkeley, Charlie Christos, Jamie Kallestad, and The Social Animals, among others. In 2014 Ben produced, arranged, and engineered a new record, ellery, for the Maine-based singer-songwriter Max Garcia Conover, and he also constitutes one half of the folk duo 90-Mile Portage. He regularly composes string and horn arrangements for others’ projects and has recorded original music for clients including Grand Teton National Park, WHRB, Bristlecone Media, Fabular Films, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. In 2016, his piece “Carrying Capacity,” a string work inspired by ecological data collected at Isle Royale National Park, was premiered by Wild Shore New Music at their annual festival in Homer, Alaska and then performed at Park Service sites in New York City and Washington, DC.

Solo Piano – Review excerpt

Ben Cosgrove sees the world differently than you. While you’re looking, he is listening. It would be fair to call Cosgrove obsessed with landscape. His instagram is one stunning or unique image after another from his travels across the country. In an essay for Appalachia, he once wrote: “Most of our acoustic clutter takes the form of thick and heavy drones: airplanes, interstates, appliances, engines, air conditioners, power lines, all hanging like a veil over the world’s beautifully various soundscapes.”

When listening to his new album, Solo Piano, which includes selections culled from his previous works of instrumental songs inspired by landscape, the clutter is pushed aside, leaving your ear more finely tuned to music and the world. Solo Piano was recorded in thirteen different states on Cosgrove’s seemingly neverending national tour. It would be wrong to say that Cosgrove captures the way these places look–that’s not right; it is more accurate that his music approximates the way these places feel if we would stop to take them in.

The 2017 Season for Music in Bass Hall is sponsored by Waterhouse Restaurant in Depot Square, Peterborough. Waterhouse RestaurantConcert goers are encouraged to enjoy dinner before the show (or brunch before our Sunday afternoon shows), or libations and snacks after the concert. For reservations call 603-924-4001


Open Tuesday – Sunday
Lunch/Sunday Brunch 11:30am – 2pm
Dinner starts at 5pm






October 22, 2017
3:00 pm
$15 – $18
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Bass Hall: Monadnock Center for History and Culture
19 Grove St
Peterborough, NH 03458 United States
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