Ben Richter
is a
composer, accordionist, multi-instrumentalist, and founding director of New York’s Ghost EnsembleHis chamber music explores sound-worlds of constant transformation that combine subtly shifting timbres and sliding microtonal fluctuations to create music that critics have described as "likely to offer a profound impact on the very nature of listening" (Stephen Smoliar) and "seek[ing] an altered consciousness … the music sounds like something incomprehensibly massive is passing by, slowly" (George Grella)As a solo accordionist, Ben Richter draws from experimental improvisation, traditional klezmer practices, and contemporary chamber music to create atmospheric music that explores a timeless, mystical space at the intersection of memory and imagination.

Ben Richter is the founding director of Ghost Ensemble, a New York-based chamber group dedicated to experimental music that explores the experience of listening. Other ensembles who have commissioned and premiered his music include Ostravska Banda, 
Nieuw Ensemble, Wild Rumpus, Canticum Ostrava and Capella Ornamentata, Janaček Philharmonic, the American Symphony Orchestra, Da Capo Chamber Players, New York Miniaturist Ensemble, and SEM Ensemble, for which he has served as a coordinator. He has recently received commissions from the Hudebni Soucasnost festival, Wild Rumpus ensemble, accordion duo Toeac, It Nije Ensemble, Duo Van Amsterdam, trombonist William Lang, and harpist Somna M Bulist. He was a resident composer at Ostrava Days 2013, 2015, and 2017, and presented new works Destabilization and Mirovia at the 2013 and 2014 festivals of the Deep Listening Institute. His album Panthalassa: Dream Music of the Once and Future Ocean, combining solo and multitrack accordion, orchestral, and electronic works, was released in June 2017 on the Infrequent Seams label, and the "monumental, Beckettian" (Andrew Smith, Brian Olewnick) 2016 work Wind People was released on Ghost Ensemble's debut album, We Who Walk Again, on Indexical Records in May 2018.

In addition to Ghost Ensemble and SEM, Ben has collaborated as a performer with contemporary classical ensembles and rock, folk, klezmer, and jazz bands such as The Dresden Dolls, The Music Tapes, The Land of Dreams, Jason Webley, Over A Cardboard Sea, Dog on Fleas, The Aboriginals, and Johnny Hobo and the Freight Trains. He composed and performed for the productions of the Surrealist Training Circus, of which he was musical director from 2004 to 2008.
 He also creates recorded electronic music and musical scores for film and theater, and has presented immersive sound installations at exhibitions in the United States, Germany, Switzerland, and the Netherlands.

Ben Richter studied accordion and composition independently with Pauline Oliveros, and holds degrees in composition from Bard College and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague. He has published research on time distortion, modes of listening, and parahypnotic phenomena in music. He lives in Berlin.

(click below for high-res photos)

(photography by Kyoung Eun Kang)
(photography by Craig Redmond)
(photography by Nick Bremer)