Ben Irwin holds a Ph.D. in composition and theory from the University of California at Davis, master’s degrees in composition and clarinet performance from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, and a bachelor’s degree in music from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota. His principal composition teachers are Kurt Rohde, Pablo Ortiz, Ross Bauer, Laurie San Martin, Stephen Dembski, Laura Schwendinger, and Phillip Rhodes. He was a composition fellow at the Wellesley Composers Conference, Le Domaine Forget, Ostrava Days, SICPP, MusicX, and soundSCAPE. He was a performance fellow at SICPP, MusicX, soundSCAPE, the Bowdoin Music Festival, and the Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium. He was artist-in-residence at the Millay Colony, Willapa Bay AiR, the Ucross Foundation, the Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts, the Kimmel Harding Nelson Center for the Arts, the I-Park Foundation, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts.

Ben’s compositional interests include polyrhythm, experimental (and often registrally-specific) harmonies and scales, polyphonic textures, and microtonality. As a clarinetist, he specializes in contemporary music, chamber music, and improvisation.