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composer / performer / instructor

Ben's new book Organic Music Theory is now available on Amazon.

Organic Music Theory provides a radical perspective on creative production. Given elements supplied by nature and history, creativity is simply a matter of choice; anyone who has ever made a choice is 'creative.' However, instead of relying on recipes created by individuals of the past, OMT facilitates each of us to compose languages of the future, making creative choices directly from naturally occurring--organic--and self-organized universal elements.

Based on theory that began in the modal period in jazz, Ben Schwendener clearly explains and then expands this perspective into a broad range of applications. This important work is intended not only for musicians, but for anyone sensing the existence of a larger realm of creative choice.


Meet Ben

Composer / pianist Ben Schwendener sustains a unique voice in contemporary creative music and is a leading authority on George Russell's Lydian Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organization, which he assisted Russell in teaching at the New England Conservatory from 1986 to 2004.  

Schwendener presents a new direction in natural pedagogy and dialogue-based arts education, establishing Organic Music Theory and Universal Musical Elements as primary creative sources. He has given lectures, workshops and seminars at Universities and institutions around the world. Schwendener is on the faculty at the New England Conservatory and the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and has also designed classes for non-musicians, based on the inter-discipline correspondences of Organic Music Theory for the Creative and Critical Thinking Department in the Graduate College of Education at UMass Boston. Ben lives in Boston with his wife and three children. 

 “With consciousness and understanding we can all compose, improvise –  creating  with elements of nature and human history”

“With consciousness and understanding we can all compose, improvise – create with elements of nature and human history”