“Embodying a classical aesthetic, music and culture, Benjamin Skepper is a musician with an extraordinary sense of the contemporary.” (Rolling Stone Italy)
A child prodigy, who commenced his classical training at two years of age, Japanese-Australian Benjamin began touring at seven years old as a solo pianist, boy soprano, ballet dancer and the youngest self-taught harpsichordist in Australia. He embarked on his first international solo piano tour at 10 years old, performing a Mozart concerto with full orchestra in New Zealand. His passion for music continued with studies in the violoncello, and he toured and performed with symphonic and chamber orchestras nationwide.
Alongside his two decade long professional classical career, Benjamin also completed an Arts/Law degree with Honours at the University of Melbourne. He has been actively involved in human rights and children’s policy, and has worked and travelled extensively throughout Asia, volunteering with NGOs in Cambodia. Benjamin moved to Tokyo in 2007 as a solicitor with an international law firm. All the while, Benjamin continued to explore music, contemporary composition, performance and multi media art.
Creating a second base in Tokyo under the umbrella of his creative production think-tank “contrapuntal”, his arts practice encompasses commissions, multi media installations and live performances, recording and production across multiple genres, juggling independent creative practice with commercial outcomes for corporate clients, record labels, films and documentaries. Benjamin has worked extensively with the fashion industry in Milan, Paris and Tokyo as a performer, creative director and muse. Major clients and commissions include Yohji Yamamoto, Gucci, Krizia, Amica, Electrolux, Fiat, Dom Pérignon, Blancpain, The 4 Seasons Hotel, and The Venice Carnivale. TV appearances include iTunes Japan, MTV Italy and Australia’s “Carols By Candlelight”. He has also been engaged for private performances for Austrian royalty, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Dr. Nakamatsu, Sir Richard Dawkins and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.
In expanding his practice into the field of contemporary art, he has presented performance art works and sound installations at the Museo del Novecento (Milan), “Culture Warriors”, Australia’s first Indigenous Art Triennial at the National Gallery of Australia (Canberra), as artist-in-residence at “No Mans Land” (French Embassy, Tokyo), “Sight & Sound: Music & Abstraction in Australian Art” at the Arts Centre (Melbourne), “Rooms” International Fashion and Design Fair (Tokyo), “Art After Dark” for the National Gallery of Victoria’s exhibition Napoleon: Revolution to Empire (Melbourne), and as a headline artist at MONA FOMA 2013, dubbed a festival highlight by curator Brian Ritchie. By invitation from The Hermitage Foundation in Russia, Benjamin performed at the opening of the parallel program for Manifesta 10, The European Biennial of Contemporary Art in Saint Petersburg.
In 2008, Benjamin launched his independent record label under “contrapuntal”, releasing four self-produced solo albums, and collaborating with world famous record labels, such as Colombia Music and Ninja Tunes. Notably, he participated in a sound-art exhibition in Tokyo with Yoko Ono on the back of artist features for Rolling Stone Italy and Russia, AMICA, GQ Japan and VICE.
As part his role as a Cultural Ambassador to Russia, his first posting was with the City of Melbourne, with a mandate to report on the Saint Petersburg arts and cultural scene, and identify possible collaborations and international exchange opportunities. Since published by the Saint Petersburg City Counil, Benjamin is working with the Australian Ambassador to Russia, to co-develop an artist in residency program, as the first artist in residence in Australian history at the Ambassadors residence in Moscow. The State Conservatory of Music in Saint Petersburg has also offered Benjamin a Creative Fellowship for his ambitious contemporary composition projects.
At the core of his practice, Benjamin is committed to exploring interdisciplinary collaborations in sound, architecture, science, fashion and art, and using these projects for global diplomacy. 2015 kicks of with a Space Art commission Forever Now, where his artwork was transmitted into outerspace at MONA FOMA, a sequel to the 1977 NASA Voyager Golden Records mission.