The Kennedy Center

Benjamin Barson


Benjamin Barson is a composer, baritone saxophonist, historian and political activist born in Brooklyn, NY, and now living in Pittsburgh, PA. He was mentored by Fred Ho in baritone saxophone technique and composition, and partnered with him to produce several mixed media projects just shortly before Ho’s passing in April 2014.

In 2017 Ben was the recipient of The ASCAP Foundation Fred Ho Award. Ben and his wife Gizelxanth Rodriguez run the Afro Yaqui Music Collective, an ensemble combining Ho’s Afro-Asian political and music influences with the music of the Yaqui of northern Mexico. Ben is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Pittsburgh's Jazz Studies program. In 2018 Ben was the recipient of an ASCAP Foundation Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award and also received the top prize in that competition, The ASCAP Foundation Johnny Mandel Prize.

Watch Past Performances

Video 4/4/2018: Songwriters: The Next Generation

Songwriters: The Next Generation is a collaboration between The ASCAP Foundation and the Kennedy Center, showcasing the work of four young songwriters and composers.

Presented in collaboration with The ASCAP Foundation.

Benjamin Barson