“Embodying classical aesthetic, music and culture, Benjamin Skepper is a musician with an extraordinary sense of the contemporary” (M. Pugliese, Director Museo 900 for Rolling Stone Italy)
Benjamin Skepper creates cutting edge experimental art that seeks to expand our perception, and collapse the borders that divide us. He is particularly focused on the application of new technology and scientific innovation within the context of contemporary sound and visual arts practice. He actively explores the human body as a musical instrument, human identity and human rights, and the relationship of sound with medicine (neuroscience and genetics) and human healing .
A Melbourne born classically trained musician, he operates at the confluence of art, science, technology, fashion, modern classical and the avant-garde. He is respected as a performer, composer, art director, published scientific researcher (most recently MIT Leonardo Journal 2020), and cultural advocate, with deep interests in Russia and Japan. His talent and curiosity have taken him across musical boundaries and artistic borders for which he has garnered international acclaim.
A child prodigy, commencing piano at two years of age, Benjamin began touring at seven as a solo pianist, boy soprano, ballet dancer and the youngest self-taught harpsichordist in Australia. He embarked on his first international solo piano tour at 10 years old, performing a Mozart concerto with full orchestra in New Zealand, as a Suzuki Music Young Ambassador. His passion continued with studies in the violoncello, touring and performing with symphonic orchestras and chamber ensembles nationwide.
Alongside his two decade long professional classical career, Benjamin also completed an Arts/Law degree with Honours at the University of Melbourne, majoring in Public and International Law, specialising in Children’s Rights. A qualified solicitor, he remains actively involved in human rights and children’s policy, working and travelling extensively in Asia and Europe, volunteering with NGOs and donating work to charities including Médecins Sans Frontières and Red Cross Japan.
In 2008 he established “contrapuntal” in Tokyo, an artist collective and creative cultural think-tank, which operates globally. Over the past decade, he has established an international practice in site-specific multi artform installations, encompassing large scale commissions and live performances, art direction for major brands, sound composition, and production. Clients range from Museums, Festivals, commercial and luxury brands, fashion, TV, theatre, film and government organisations.
In 2008, he launched his independent music label under contrapuntal, with five self-produced solo releases, licensing original music for film, commercials and online digital content, collaborating with major record labels, including Colombia Music and Ninja Tunes, and music video exclusive with VICE (THUMP) Australia.
In the field of contemporary art, he has presented performance art works and sound installations worldwide, most recently at the National Gallery of Australia with Nakaya Fujiko (Canberra), the inaugural contemporary Art Bienial “Astana Art Show” (Kazakhstan), Museo del Novecento (Milan), “Culture Warriors”, Australia’s first Indigenous Art Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), as artist in residence at “No Mans Land” (French Embassy, Tokyo), “Sight & Sound: Music & Abstraction in Australian Art” (Arts Centre, Melbourne), “Rooms” International Fashion and Design Trade Fair (Tokyo), White Trade Fair (Milan), “Art After Dark” for the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition “Napoleon: Revolution to Empire” (Melbourne), and as a headline performer at MONA FOMA 2013 (Tasmania), dubbed a festival highlight by curator Brian Ritchie. By special invitation from The Hermitage Foundation (Russia), Benjamin performed at the opening of “Manifesta 10”, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art (Saint Petersburg). He recently undertook a sound-art residency at Klanghaus (Austria) with Mia Zabelka, and particiapted in an underground exhibition in Tokyo with Yoko Ono.
In the emerging field of Art + Science, his sound work was commissioned for transmission into Outer Space and the ISS from MONA (2015). In 2016 he was appointed a Fellow of the Moscow State Conservatory of Music, as a researcher in the ground breaking field of music and genetics, with the Russian Academy of Sciences. As the international Ambassador to that project, he presented a world premiere in Vienna at the Symmetry Festival (2016). A published researcher and scholar, his article recently appeared in MIT Leonardo Journal (2020), and he is currently developing a Music + Genetics App due for release in 2021. In 2017, he became the first resident artist at Science Gallery Melbourne, securing a commision to create a new live performance artwork for the inaugural exhibition opening “Blood” (2017). Consolidating on his body of work in art and science combined with his love of audio visual live performance, he premiered a new work “Praeludium & Fuga” (2019) at the Moscow State Conservatory to a sell out audience. In collaboration with Radugadesign, this was the first ever work of its kind to be presented at the esteemed music institution.
As a cultural advocate and creative consultant, he has worked closely with local and federal government bodies to research and identify international collaborations and exchange opporunities as Australia’s Cultural Ambassador to Russia.
Artist features include Rolling Stone Italy + Russia, AMICA Italy, GQ Japan, L’Officiel Kazakhstan, and Good Weekend Magazine (Australia). He also holds multiple Brand Ambassadorships and endorsements, including YAMAHA Music and Ableton (Germany).
2021 will see Skepper launch a new arts festival and music app, followed by a book deal with Japan’s premiere publishing house President Inc, to expand on his creative ideas in the sphere of business and innovation. On March 11, he will also launch a new documentary series called “Our Story by Benjamin Skepper”, with accompanying music video, to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the earthquake, tsunami and nuclear disaster in Tohoku, Japan