With work stylistically described as “ardent and soaring” (The National Post), “visionary” (The Vancouver Sun), and “an experience of deep and darkling beauty” (The Austin Chronicle), composer-bandleader Benton Roark has emerged as a unique and genre-defying voice in North American music.
His compositions have been presented by ensembles and organizations such as Tapestry Opera, Théatre Re, Victoria Guitar Trio, Triplepoint Trio, and Aventa. Roark has also enjoyed critical acclaim as a performer of his own work with bands like Rollaway (“dirty-southern-gothic-rock-country-folk” Discorder) and The Benton Roark Band (“a great way to start your day” CBC NXNW). The past few years have seen him at the centre of a number of opera and music theatre projects such as Vancouver Pro Musica’s Shadow Catch (“an evocative score” The Bulletin), Tapestry Opera’s Tap:Ex Revolutions (“a fluid, riveting experience” Schmopera) and Fugue Theatre’s Off Leash (“one of the most unique theatrical experiences currently on Vancouver stages” Vancity Buzz). Roark’s work can be heard on a number of chamber music recordings, including the Bozzini Quartet’s À chacun sa miniature, flutist Mark Takeshi McGregor’s Sins and Fantasies, and Arkora’s Songs from the Rainshadow’s Edge. Described as “a mysterious landscape of instrumental timbre” (Wholenote Magazine) and nominated as Composition of the Year by the 2016 Western Canadian Music Awards, this work has been performed in New York, St. John’s, and Austin by Arkora, a collective founded by Roark and conductor-composer-soprano Kathleen Allan. Roark has studied at the Konservatorium Winterthur in Switzerland, has been a resident artist at the Banff Centre, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Avaloch Farm, and holds degrees from Oberlin College and Conservatory and the University of British Columbia. He currently serves as Co-Artistic Director of Arkora Music and Associate Artistic Director of Redshift Music Society.