B i o g r a p h y
Benjamin Burgdorf is an artist seeking to expand the possibilities and alter modern perceptions of classical music. This is accomplished through his work as a performer, educator, and administrator.
Burgdorf (formerly Benjamin Davis), is currently taking a sabbatical from his busy performance and teaching career from 2018-2020 to earn a Master's Degree from Boston University under the instruction of Michelle LaCourse.
As a performer, he served as the violist of Lux String Quartet from 2013-2018 (named 2015-16, 2017-18 Classical MPR Class-Notes Artist), acting principal violist with the Des Moines Symphony for the 2017 season, section violist with the Quad City Symphony, an improviser in Improvestra, a travel-blogging, busking, improvising street artist and wannabe poet in Wormwood, and a frequent collaborative soloist with composers and artists both locally and nationally. He has served as interim violist of the Belin Quartet's 2017 Season and has also enjoyed substitute orchestral engagements with Orchestra Iowa, Mankato Symphony, and the South Dakota Symphony.
As an administrator, he serves as the Founder and Artistic Director of the Oskaloosa Music Festival which celebrated its 10th successful season in 2019.
As an educator, he has offered private lessons for violists and violinists in the Bloomington School District, City of Lakes Waldorf School, and Sarah Jane's Music School. He also occasionally picks up the baton to conduct youth ensembles in regional orchestra festivals. During the summers, he has been on faculty at Pioneer High School Orchestra Camp hosted at Interlochen.
Burgdorf began his viola studies at the age of 9 with Bruce McLellan, and by the age of 16 had his soloist debut with the Oskaloosa Symphony Orchestra. He has had the privilege to study performance with Charles Miranda and Dr. Jonathan Sturm of the Des Moines Symphony, as well as Thomas Turner of the Minnesota Orchestra. He finished his collegiate studies with a B.M. in Viola Performance at the University of Minnesota under the instruction of Korey Konkol. In 2010, while in attendance at the Chautauqua Institution, Burgdorf had the privilege of receiving instruction from both Carol Rodland and Roland Vamos.
Ever in love with life-long learning, he continued independent private study with Sabina Thatcher from 2014-2016 and has returned to academia to pursue his Master's Degree with Michelle LaCourse.
As a teacher, he has studied Suzuki Pedagogy with Nancy Lokken at the Ottawa Suzuki Strings and Ann Smelser at Chicago Suzuki Institute.
Burgdorf proudly performs on an award winning 16 3/8" Brescian model viola after Da Salo made by New York-based luthier, Jason Viseltear.
He commissioned Northfield-based archetier, Matthew Wehling, to make his bow. The work of these living master craftsmen, when put together, sounds like a gourmet meal with perfectly paired wines!
When not playing the viola, you might be able to find Benjamin hiking off in some remote mountain range, canoeing through a chain of Northern lakes, or trying to be as Zen as possible on his yoga mat.