The American guitarist, Benjamin Beirs, started playing the classical guitar at the age of 6 years old. However, he did not limit himself only to the classical guitar . Before the age of 18, he had performed and recorded with numerous bands on both acoustic guitar and bass and had clearly demonstrated his love of performance. A musician of many interests, he has dabbled in flamenco and jazz as well as free improvisation and enjoys the performance of new and improvised music as well as the standard repertoire for the classical guitar. He seriously began his classical guitar studies in 2001, when he started traveling to Baltimore from Philadelphia every other week to study with esteemed pedagogue and performer Julian Gray. Under Gray's skilled tutelage he holds a Bachelor's of Music degree in guitar performance and a Master's of Music in Guitar Performance / Pedagogy from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University. Ben is currently continuing his studies with Gray at Peabody in a Graduate Performance Diploma program and as part of his degree will spend a semester at the Paris Conservatory under the instruction of Roland Dyens. Ben has additionally performed for some of the greatest guitarists of our time: Sergio Assad, Manuel Barrueco, Eliot Fisk, Pepe Romero, and David Russell, among many others.
Benjamin Beirs has received many honors and awards which encourage him to continue in his challenging and rewarding field. Top prizes in the National Guitar Workshop solo competition, Yale Gordon Concerto Competition, Baltimore music club competition, and semi-finalist in the 2005 Guitar Foundation of America competition. He has received numerous scholarships from Peabody Conservatory, where he currently studies, including the Charlie Byrd Memorial Guitar Scholarship and the Harold Randolph Prize for performance, to name a few.
Benjamin Beirs released his debut recording, "Distant times & Different places", in early 2008. A varied and colorful collection of some of his favorite guitar repertoire, it is available for purchase online or directly through the artist. In addition to a busy performance schedule, he is a dedicated guitar instructor at Music and Arts in Germantown, MD and at the Peabody Preparatory.
Benjamin Beirs also frequently travels to France where he performs as one half of Duo Transatlantique, formed in 2002 with renowned French guitarist Maud Laforest while the duo studied together at the Peabody Conservatory. In the summer of 2005 in Paris, the duo won first prize in the Union Française des Artistes Musiciens Guitar Duo Competition. The duo has performed at the Kennedy Center in the USA and in many venues throughout France. Their recent CD is "Le Gris et le vert" (The Gray and the Green).
Also interested in outreach, Benjamin Beirs has found a way to combine his love of service with his music. Currently he serves as a site-coordinator for the Creative Access, a musical outreach initiative at Peabody, where he and other volunteers perform on a regular basis for the Gilchrist Center for Hospice Care. When not playing the guitar, Ben enjoys cooking gourmet food with friends, complementing his guitar practice with the practice of hatha yoga, and strengthening his intention to make the world a more beautiful place through meditation.