Ben Cosgrove is a composer, pianist, and multi-instrumentalist based in Boston, MA. He performs regularly both as a solo artist and as a sideman and has written scores for films, plays, radio, and television, toured widely across the US and Canada, and produced several well-received albums of his original, often geographically-inspired work.
Yankee Division, named for Boston’s circumferential highway and independently released in spring 2011, is the newest addition to this series. As on his previous releases, Cosgrove not only composed the music and self-produced the entire album but performed nearly all of the instruments himself. Here, these range from ukulele to accordion to bowed wine glasses, with the whole unconventional ensemble anchored by the familiar sounds of Cosgrove’s dazzling piano and acoustic guitar.
The new material represents a leap forward from his previous recordings. The music on Yankee Division brings forth a variety of new and interesting instrumental textures and steps gracefully between shifting atmospheres of melancholy and hope. Throughout its length, the record suggests themes of movement and landscape and, like much of Cosgrove’s work, focuses closely on the clear expression of place. Featuring individual pieces inspired by the region’s towns, rivers, highways, and history, Yankee Division is largely a paean to the varied and complex landscape of its composer’s native New England.
In addition to his recorded work, Ben Cosgrove has performed regularly as a solo pianist from a very young age, and has worked with a wide range of other artists (he performs frequently with the Minnesota-based stompgrass band Saint Anyway, constitutes one half of the folk duo 90-Mile Portage, and has played with singer-songwriters David Berkeley, Charlie Christos, Forrest O’Connor, Clint Miller, and Diet Folk, among others), playing keyboards, upright and electric bass, mandolin, trombone, trumpet, accordion, ukulele, violin, and other instruments both in concert and on record. He regularly composes string and horn arrangements for others’ projects and has recorded original music for clients including WHRB, Bristlecone Media, and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. He has also written the scores for numerous documentaries and short films, some of which have been featured at film festivals in Madrid, Northampton, and Cannes.
Ben is also a prolific writer of nonfiction, and has contributed essays about landscape and place to Appalachia, land that i live, The Harvard Advocate, The Bad Version, and the Monadnock Conservancy, among other publications. In 2011-12, as a Middlebury Fellow in Environmental Journalism, he worked with acoustic scientists at national parks across the country to research noise pollution and the preservation of natural soundscapes.
His musical compositions have been called both “compelling and powerful” (The Harvard Crimson) and “delicately romantic” (MethuenLife), and he has earned a reputation as a hard-working collaborator and engaging performer. He lives in Cambridge, MA, where he holds the position of Signet Artist-in-Residence Fellow at Harvard University.
For bookings, commissions, CD orders, and other inquiries, please contact Ben.
“That Yankee Division sounds so flawless is certainly no surprise… The truth is, Cosgrove’s talents know no bounds.” -ResidentMediaPundit.com
“The composer/performer displays an astonishing versatility in crafting his instrumental tracks: he builds them from piano, guitar, mandolin, banjo, trumpet, trombone, upright bass, and dynamic percussion, all of which Cosgrove plays, records, and mixes himself. Onstage, he usually performs solo, building up his layered sound with a digital looping pedal that allows him to record a part live on acoustic guitar or keyboard and then play and record other parts on top of that, multiplying himself into a sophisticated one-man band.” – Harvard Magazine
“Compelling and powerful” -The Harvard Crimson
“[Cosgrove] seemingly has the ability to play, and play well, any instrument he touches.” – Duluth News-Tribune
“Passionately joyful… delicately romantic… fantastically uplifting.” -MethuenLife
“[Cosgrove's] melodies drift across haunting northern expanses amid polished arrangements, often gradually decomposing as chaos creeps in underneath. The music stirs intimate feelings of loneliness and homesickness, as well as taking on bigger places, distance, and a greater sense of history… these musical journeys evoke the melancholy and the frantic disorientation of departure, transit, and return.” – Harvard Magazine
“Hits all the right notes.” -The Valley Dispatch