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About Ben Schenstead



Ben Schenstead is a Saskatoon-based guitarist and music educator, known mainly for his classical and fingerstyle guitar playing.

While mainly self-taught on the guitar, Ben's early training included obtaining the ARCT Diploma in classical guitar from the Royal Conservatory of Music, University of Toronto, and a Bachelor of Music degree (with Great Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan. Ben has taken masterclasses with guitar luminaries Christopher Parkening in Bozeman, Montana, and Oscar Ghiglia at the Banff Centre of Fine Arts, and more recently in Germany with masters Pavel Steidl and Manuel Barrueco.

Schenstead taught guitar for the University of Saskatchewan Music Department for some twenty years and at his own music academy in Saskatoon, obtaining his B.Ed. and M.Ed. degrees along the way. In 2001, Ben decided to take a hiatus from teaching music lessons and taught high school for five years, which included courses in guitar. He then taught post-secondary courses in education and arts methods for FNUniv, the U of Regina, and U of Saskatchewan. Today, Ben focuses on teaching private music lessons and arranging music, and developing his performance activities.

Schenstead's first CD Sunburst, garnered him a nomination for a Prairie Music Award. The Winnipeg Free Press described the album as “very impressive… eclectic …Schenstead is a technically whistle-clean, tasteful artist…well-sprung rhythms and solid lyrical sensibility..."

Ben Schenstead's second CD, Spirit of the Guitar: From Latin-America to Europe, features guitar pieces mainly from Latin America; the other half showcases Ben's guitar playing with the Saskatoon-based Prairie Virtuosi Orchestra, , which specializes in Baroque music. Among the pieces are a rarely-recorded concerto by Karl Kohaut and Schenstead's arrangement of the famous Adagio by Albinoni.

Ben Schenstead has also been a guest performer twice with the Amati Quartet, a distinguished string ensemble based in Saskatoon who play priceless historical Italian instruments. Schenstead's guest performances included Boccherini's "Fandango" Quintet, Vivaldi's Concerto in D, and Schenstead's own adaptation of Alessandro Marcello's Oboe Concerto in D minor, for guitar and string quartet.

Schenstead's guitar playing has been heard many times on CBC Radio both provincially and nationally, and he has appeared on national television. Schenstead has also performed with members of the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra in major musical theatre productions, including Fiddler on the Roof and Man of La Mancha. Ben Schenstead has given classical guitar performances for the University of Saskatchewan, the NorthWest Guitar Festival, Lethbridge, Alberta, Common Weal Community Arts, Rawlinson Centre Art Gallery, Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, and the Fine Arts Concert Series for the University of Regina. Ben has also been a judge and adjudicator for music festivals in Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC and has given workshops in guitar.

He has also performed many times at the SaskTel Jazz Festival, and at the Bassment Jazz Club in Saskatoon, and at countless private and corporate engagements in the province both as a soloist and with the Ben Schenstead Trio which plays Latin, jazz, light classics and contemporary music, along with original compositions. One of his original compositions for solo guitar, Farewell, was published in Classical Guitar Magazine, summer 2019 edition.



Reviews

“very impressive… eclectic …Schenstead is a technically whistle-clean, tasteful artist…well-sprung rhythms and solid lyrical sensibility..."

-Winnipeg Free Press


"...your version of my piece [Valse des Loges] is really gorgeous and I loved it. It's probably the best version I've heard of it till now. Bravo...All best in your music. And congratulations again. You're a man of taste."

-Roland Dyens, composer, Professor of Guitar, Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris


"wonderful, warm tone and yet with clarity and depth of tone.  A flawless technique almost hidden by gorgeous colours, long lines and sensuous phrases.  His music draws you into the very core of your being."

-Dr. Lynn Channing, Professor of Music, University of Regina

Selected Hilights of Ben's Performances:

Guest appearance with the Amati String Quartet. Convocation Hall, University of Saskatchewan. "Italian Serenade" with works by Marcello, Vivaldi, and Giazotto.

Bruno Arts Bank. Classical guitar showcase (2011)

Regina Musical Club Concert. 2:00 PM, Riddell Centre, University Theatre, Regina (2011)

Recital and CD Release. 8:00 PM, The Refinery, Saskatoon. (2010).

Two-Story Cafe performance, Art Gallery of Prince Albert, E.A. Rawlinson Centre (2010)

Literacy Conference, TCU Place, Saskatoon

Fine Arts Concert Series Recital, U of Regina, Riddell Centre Theatre
2:00 PM

Nourishing Thoughts @ the FoodBank Lecture/Presentation, sponsored by Centre for Continuing Education, U of R (2010)

Guest Appearance with the Amati String Quartet, Convocation Hall, U of Sask. (2009)

Art Gallery Performance (showcasing works of Karen Holden), Saskatoon Public Library Art Gallery (2009)

To inquire about booking Ben for your event, please email.