Ben Cosgrove - 2015 White Mountain National Forest Artist in Residence

Ben CosgroveBen Cosgrove Is Our 2015 Artist in Residence

Ben is a Massachusetts-based composer, multi-instrumentalist, essayist and touring performer with a deep interest in the human relationship to landscape and place.

Ben has produced four full-length albums of original compositions inspired by geography, and composed scores for short films, documentaries, radio segments and theatrical productions. He graduated in 2010 from Harvard College, where he majored in music and also took several courses in environmental studies and environmental literature. His thesis composition, "Commonweatlh," had a structure derived from the landscape of Massachusetts, considered from west to east.

As a Middlebury College Fellow in Environmental Journalism, Ben visited national parks around the country, researching the conservation of natural silence – and the relationship between sound and sense of place – by talking to scientists, composers and park rangers. He has traveled around the country performing concerts in an array of venues and composing new music inspired by the landscapes he encounters in his travels. He has delivered lectures at high schools and universities on the relationships between music, sound and place and has published multiple nonfiction pieces about   place and landscape.

Ben has been a fellow at the Vermont Studio Center and Artist in Residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Oregon, and at Isle Royale National Park in Michigan and Acadia National Park in Maine. He was awarded the John Knowles Paine Traveling Fellowship in 2010 and the 2014 Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation in 2014.

In both his music and his nonfiction writing, Ben explores the nature of the human connection to different environments: At Acadia National Park he composed a suite of three pieces inspired by oceanographical and geological patterns. At Isle Royale National Park he wrote about the wide variety of meanings the island has held for residents and visitors over the last 100 years, created a piece of sound art that used ecological data about wolf and moose populations as its subject matter and source material, and composed music that illustrated his experience of exploring a corner of the island in the mist and fog.

Ben’s interests in landscape, place, and ecology have become the strongest forces guiding his composition and performances. “I don’t think of my pieces as rendering places in music,” he notes in an article in Harvard Magazine, “but more just as responding to places musically. Writing music just turns out to be a great way for me to process the world.”

Ben will begin his WMNF exploration this summer and will be in residence throughout September, providing a variety of public programs on the Forest and at partner sites throughout the region. He also hopes to blog about his residency experiences.

Our thanks to Friends of Mead Base Conservation Center for their generosity in hosting our artists since the inception of the program.

Learn more about Ben:  |

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Upcoming Events


Ben spent the month of September on the Forest and offered public programs at the WMNF Forest HQ, the Karl Drerup Art Gallery and the Omni Mt. Washington Resort as part of the White Mountain Arts Experience. He has also presented to Forest Service staff and will be offering programs at schools, nursing homes, correctional facilities and community sites around the region May 13-18 and June 1-2.

On May 13 and 14, Ben will also serve as the first Artist in Residence at the Omni Mt. Washington Resort, through a new partnership between the Omni and the Arts Alliance.

Public programs include:

Friday, May 13, 7 a.m. Breakfast Group, Gorham Congregational Church, 143 Main St., Gorham.

Wednesday, May 18, 11 a.m. Plymouth Regional Senior Center, 8 Depot St., Plymouth

Wednesday, May 18, 7 p.m. Whitney Community Center, Black Mtn. Rd., Jackson
Admission by donation. Proceeds to support the WMNF AIR program.

Thursday, June 2, 7 p.m. Tillotson Center, 14 Carriage Lane., Colebrook
Tickets $15, to support the WMNF AIR program & the Tillotson Center
Tickets may be purchased in advance at the Tillotson Center.

For additional details about any of these programs -- or to inquire about a visit to your community, contact the Arts Alliance at 603-323-7302 or email us at