Stories of the Class of 2017: Benjamin Gardner: ‘Seeing’ the Music

Although Benjamin Gardner earned his Bachelor of Music degree in violin performance and has played the instrument for 14 years, originally his career interest was focused elsewhere; in a kitchen to be exact, where Gardner dreamed of being a chef.

While in pursuit of his dream career, Gardner worked in a restaurant kitchen, where it didn't take long for him to realize that being a chef was not what he was meant to do.

Gardner said with the help of a teacher in high school and his professors at UNC, he eventually started "seeing" things in the music he played: the harmonies, structures and the vague emotion behind the music that made it personal for everyone.

"I'm good at it," Gardner said, emphasizing that he isn't bragging, but rather, saying that he found something that he was both good at and enjoyed.

And while Gardner enjoys playing the violin, his real passion within the music world is in baroque performance. He said he finds it fascinating that through the baroque performance, people are able to make a connection with people from 400-500 years ago who had a completely different life.

Gardner said that Associate Professor of Music Jubal Fulks played a large role in the opportunities he's had to play with different ensembles and to improve his skills as a musician.

One ensemble Gardner is already involved with is the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado.

He said he really wanted the opportunity to play with the Denver-based group and ended up sending the director at least 10 emails asking about the status of his audition tape. His persistence paid off.

Gardner said he has always enjoyed performing, noting that the connection made with the audience is a deeply personal interaction, and that it's different for everyone.

"It happens in the moment," Gardner said. "It's fleeting."

- Monique Becker, Bachelor's in Journalism, 2017

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