Benjamin Batalla is a graduate student currently enrolled at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana and has studied piano for fifteen years. He previously studied at Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Florida under the tutelage of Mr. Pedro Hernandez. Benjamin currently studies with Professor Faina Lushtak.
As a musician, Benjamin sees authentic beauty as a means of drawing people towards the transcendent. In his life, music has helped him to recognize humanity’s collective longing for the infinite, for something greater than ourselves. Music has taught him to understand his own worth and dignity, along with his capacity to conquer personal battles, to endure suffering, to live and to love. This transformative power of music is what gave Benjamin the desire to be an artist and to share love through beauty. In a culture of use, violence and exploitation, Benjamin hopes that his music will remind audiences of their own inherent beauty, dignity and worth.
As a classical soloist, Benjamin has been recognized both nationally and internationally and has received awards in various competitions. In 2013, Benjamin was featured as a winning young artist in classical piano in Downbeat International Magazine’s June Issue. He was a first-place winner in both the Orfeo International Solo Competition and the Orfeo International Concerto Competition in Vipiteno, Italy. His recent awards include receiving first place in the Gulf Coast Steinway Society held in Mobile, Alabama. Benjamin also received first place in the 2015-2016 state MTNA Young Artist competition and was selected as the alternate winner in the regional competition in both 2016 and 2018. Benjamin was also a finalist in the Junior Philharmonic Society of New Orleans and has been an active participant in Brandywine International Piano Institute in West Chester, Pennsylvania for four consecutive years. Recently, Benjamin received first place in the Concerto Competition at Tulane University for performing Rachmaninoff’s 2nd Piano Concerto.
Benjamin is also an avid jazz musician. He has performed in several New Orleans jazz ensembles with local artists including Mario Abney and Nayo Jones. He has a special passion for improvisation and believes that spontaneous music-making has a unique power in uniting musicians of all types of backgrounds, cultures, and beliefs into a strong community. He enjoys the vulnerability and excitement of creating music on-the-spot. Benjamin also enjoys integrating his passion for music with his love for his Catholic faith as he serves as the director of music ministry for the Tulane Catholic Center, where he composes and directs three choirs regularly for liturgical events.
Benjamin’s performance of an improvisation for Celebration of Music is a narrative of his struggles with understanding his worth within a society that promotes greed and use. Although his music has no words, he hopes that his audience can relate with his spontaneous music-making that comes directly from his heart. With this performance, Benjamin hopes that his music will remind his audience that they are each infinitely loved and worthy of existing.
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