“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 artworks that seek to challenge our perception, and collapse the borders that divide us. He is particularly focused on the application of new technologies and scientific innovations within the context of contemporary sound and visual arts practice, exploring the human body as a musical instrument, human identity, the relationship of sound and medicine and human healing.
A Melbourne born classically trained musician, he operates at the confluence of art, medical science, technology, fashion, modern classical and the avant-garde. He is a composer, a performer, an art director, published scientific researcher, 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, who commenced piano studies at two years of age, Benjamin began touring by 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 his work to charities and organistaions including Médecins Sans Frontières and Red Cross Japan.
In 2009 he established “contrapuntal” in Tokyo, envisaged as an artist collective and creative think-tank, which has since branched out globally. Over the past decade, he has established an international practice in site-specific multi artform installations, spanning large scale commissions and live performances, Art Direction for major brands and product activations, sound composition, and creative production. Clients include 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, Ninja Tunes, and a 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 residency at Klanghaus (Austria), and particiapted in an underground sound-art exhibition in Tokyo with Yoko Ono.
In the emerging field of Art + Science, his sound work was commissioned for transmission into Outer Space at MONA (2015). In 2016 he was appointed a Fellow of the Moscow State Conservatory of Music, working in the ground breaking field of music and genetics, with the Russian Academy of Sciences. As 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. 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). Benjamin continues to explore the human body as a musical instrument, taking innovations in science and medicine, and applying them in an artist context.
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, most recently with YAMAHA Music and Ableton (Germany).