“Ben is a natural performer who infuses his interpretations with energy, excitement, and a broad expressive range. His devotion to new music and community building is admirable, and garners more interest in the guitar wherever he goes. I am always excited to see what projects he is cooking up next!” -Steve Cowan
From St. John’s Newfoundland and Labrador, Ben Diamond is a classical guitarist based in Montreal who strives to push the limits of the instrument with every performance. He is interested in exploring new directions as an improviser, educator, and recording artist with a goal of showing the many hats of the guitar in the 21st century. His debut CD PRIME featuring works written in the last 20 years by Canadian composers is appraised for its unique blend of interpretations, colors, and personalities in an attempt to highlight the versatility of the guitar today. Featuring works by Dale Kavanagh, Andrew Staniland, Jason Noble, Holly Winter, with premiere recordings by Steve Murphy and Joseph Donaghey, the album was released in 2021 and was nominated for the MusicNL award for Classical Artist of the Year.
Ben has performed many new works across many provinces such as Ontario, Quebec, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland. The inaugural “21st Century Guitar Conference” in 2019 is where he first commissioned a new piece titled “Prime Directive” for guitar and electronics which fostered an interest in developing the electroacoustic repertoire for guitar. At the conference, Ben was also featured as a soloist and ensemble musician in the many highlight concerts which emphasized new techniques for guitar composition, pedagogy, research and technology. Other festival appearances include “Sound Symposium” (NL), “Newfound Music Festival” (NL) and “Guitare Alla Grande” (QC/ON). Throughout the development of the COVID-19 pandemic, Ben regularly gave online concerts, taught a variety of skill levels, and hosted events with the Atlantic Guitar Society for which he co-founded with guitarist and composer Steve Murphy. Alongside Ben’s growing niche for new music, he prioritizes all eras of classical repertoire to present concert programmes with many characters and influences. It was through these many ambitious endeavors that Ben was listed on the CBC “30 hot Canadian Classical Musicians” list in 2021, and awarded the 2021 ArtsNL Emerging Artist of the Year award. The early years of Ben’s guitar studies include performing examinations with organizations such as the “Royal Conservatory of Music” and in 2018 he was recently awarded a Gold Medal with “Conservatory Canada” for his Senior Recital Evaluation. In 2017, he was the first guitarist to win the Junior Instrumental Rose Bowl at the Kiwanis Music Festival in St. John’s. Ben participated in the Kiwanis festival again in 2019 and proceeded to win First Place in the Newfoundland Provincial Music festival. From there, he represented his home province in the FCMF - National Music Festival in Saskatoon SK and won Second Place in the National guitar competition.
An avid educator, Ben began his teaching career in St. John’s Newfoundlandand continues to teach privately in Montreal QC. Ben has hosted masterclasses with the “Long and McQuade Classical Guitar Camp”, the Atlantic Guitar Society, the Ottawa Guitar Society, and Acadia University. Ben recently graduated from Memorial University with a B. Mus (Honors) in Guitar Performance where he studied with Sylvie Proulx. He is currently a second year M. Mus student in Performance at Schulich School of Music of McGill University in the studio of Steve Cowan. Alongside his studies, Ben enjoys spending time with family and friends, going outdoors, and traveling. Ben plays a 2018 Ross Chiasson guitar and is an Ambassador for Augustine strings.