Hired as Director of Community Engagement with Street Symphony


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A night of conversation and live music with Street Symphony

4/01/2019 at KCRW radio

Press PLAY - with Madeleine Brand

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Let all voices be heard - Celebrating diversity in classical music

10/23/2018 at USC - Newman Hall

10/25/2018 at “Music with a Mission”

Midnight Mission with Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Street Symphony, and USC Thornton School of Music Premiere of “Brother Burn” (clarinet/tenor voice) with NY Phil Principal Clarinetist Anthony McGill and LA Master Chorale and LA Opera tenor Todd Strange.

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Voyage LA

07/17/201 - Meet Benjamin Shirley of Benjamin J. Shirley Music in Hollywood

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Relatable with Stephanie Michele

07/03/2018 - From Hell to Home - Interview with Ben Shirley

Watch full video here

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VultureHound Magazine, 

06/08/2018 - From Walk Through The Fear - Musician/Skid Row Marathon Star Benjamin Shirley -  The VH Interview - Interview with Colin Lomas

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Messiah Project 2017: Community Rising

06/08/2018- From Street Symphony EPK

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Benjamin Shirley segment and music:

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Street Symphony

12/05/17- Collaboration

“The text for "We Need Darkness to See the Stars", written by Composer Fellow Ben Shirley, was developed in collaboration with the Skid Row community and professional vocalists in Los Angeles from the LA Master Chorale, as well as Street Symphony's Composer-In-Residence, Dr. Reena Esmail.”

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Street Symphony

11/20/17- Ben Shirley, Composer Fellow

“Street Symphony presents the story of Ben Shirley, our first Composer Fellow, and a former resident of the Skid Row neighborhood. Ben spent 26 months living at The Midnight Mission.”

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BBC World Service

05/09/2018- From Outlook           

Interview with Judge Craig Mitchell and Benjamin Shirley

(Interview starts at 11:12-  My entrance at 16:06)

Listen here                                                                                              

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NPR Weekend Edition Saturday

 12/23/17 - From Skid Row To The San Francisco Conservatory Of Music                                                             

Interview with Scott Simon.

Read and listen here.

The New Yorker,

12/18/17 - Handel’s Messiah on Skid Row

“Shirley has a keen ear for harmony and instrumental color. “We Need Darkness” ends with
sunny uplift, but along the way it dips into pungent dissonances and rougher textures.”

-Alex Ross

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Los Angeles Times

12/10/17- Review: An L.A. Phil Reminder that but a Mile, and Fate, Separate Disney Hall from Skid Row.       

“This year there was also an impressive work by a bass player, Benjamin Shirley, whose life fell apart through substance abuse and who spent two years homeless. He is now the Street Symphony’s first composer fellow, and the program included the premiere of his “We Need Darkness to See the Stars,” written for the occasion."

-Mark Swed


The Wrap

06/21/17 -From Homeless to Film Composer (with video)

“The film chronicles his attempts to overcome self-doubt and write and record a composition that will win his acceptance into the program – and composer Kim Planert, who wrote the score to “Skid Row Marathon,” not only used some of Shirley’s music in the film but also brought him into the studio to conduct a section of the score, as the exclusive video documents.”

-Steve Pond

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San Francisco Conservatory of Music

10/01/15-Student Composer Receives Prominent Premiere

“Shirley receives a special honor on October 1 when The Midnight Mission, a prominent Los Angeles organization serving the homeless, premieres his work Midnight to 12:01 at its Annual Golden Heart Awards Gala at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel.

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The Midnight Mission

07/06/15-  Stories:  Ben S.

“Once a bass player in a hard rock band with a record deal playing to sold out stadiums with some of the biggest names, he felt his life was now officially over.”

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