Dr. Benjamin Krause of the Hope College music faculty has received Honorable Mention in the 2020 National Association of Teachers of Singing Art Song Composition Award program.
He was chosen for his composition “Six Lowell Songs” for soprano and piano. The work is based on the poetry of Amy Lowell (1874-1925), who posthumously won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1926.
The NATS also named a first-place winner and second-place winner. All three awardees were selected from among 10 finalists.
It is the second year in a row that Krause, who joined the Hope faculty in 2018, has received major recognition as a composer from a national music-teachers’ organization. In 2019, he was named the 2018 Distinguished Composer of the Year by the Music Teachers National Association for his work “Taxonomies of Pulse.”
Krause, who is a visiting assistant professor of music and teaching music theory, has previously had work recognized through commissions, awards, and residencies by the Copland House, Houston Symphony, Network for New Music, Oregon Community Foundation, Presser Foundation, ASCAP, Da Camera of Houston and The American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France. His piece “Pathways” for chamber orchestra won of the Houston Symphony’s inaugural Young Composer Competition and was described as “attractive… the composer craftily reconstituted orders of events to create a compelling dramatic arc. Krause’s excellent control of dissipating energy for the serene ending of the work was most impressive” (concertonet.com).
An artist with diverse interests, he has collaborated with photographers, dancers, architects and filmmakers in his creative work. He was a Young Artist of Da Camera (2011-12) and received the 2012 Presser Award, enabling a summer of study in Europe at the American Conservatory of Fontainebleau, where his work was awarded the Prix Marion Tournon Branly.
Krause's music is characterized by its visceral rhythmic drive, tight motivic control, and colorful, dense, and nuanced harmonies reminiscent of jazz. His music draws freely and fluently from many historical traditions and aesthetics, both improvisational and carefully controlled, often creating new sound worlds through the absorption and synthesis of disparate musical idioms.
As a pianist, he is active in contemporary music, jazz and the traditional classical repertoire, with performances at Carnegie Hall, Zilkha Hall (Houston), the Houston Museum of Fine Arts, the Menil Collection, and in collaboration with such artists as Molly Barth (Eighth Blackbird), Jeffrey Zeigler (the Kronos Quartet), Timothy McAllister (PRISM Saxophone Quartet) and Ronald Feldman (the Boston Symphony). In both solo performances and collaborations with many ensembles, he has premiered and performed more than 50 new works in a wide variety of venues, in addition to performing the works of major 20th and 21st century composers such as George Crumb, Louis Andriessen, John Cage and Pierre Jalbert.
As an educator, he has designed and taught university courses in composition, orchestration, music theory, aural skills and jazz. While a visiting assistant professor of music at Valparaiso University from 2015 to 2018, he founded and directed VUNUMU (Valparaiso University New Music Ensemble), coaching and leading performances of the work of leading contemporary composers as well as of that of student composers.
Krause holds composition degrees from Rice University (D.M.A.) and the University of Oregon (M.M.).
Founded in 1944, National Association of Teachers of Singing Inc. is the largest professional association of teachers of singing in the world with more than 7,000 members in the United States, Canada, and more than 35 other countries. Whether working in independent studios, community schools, elementary and secondary schools, or higher education, NATS members represent the diversity of today’s music landscape, teaching in all vocal styles. Internationally, NATS is represented in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, China, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom, with the number of countries growing every year.