Mr. and Mrs. B fiddlin' away!
As a member of the Suzuki Association of the Americas with over a decade of teaching experience, Benjamin Burgdorf believes in a wholehearted approach to music learning that is strongly inspired by his training in the Suzuki Method, Karen Tuttle’s Coordination, and the latest research in the neuroscience of ability development. Check out the "Philosophy" and "Method" tabs to take a deep dive into his approach. In addition to being on faculty at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music, Mr. B teaches out of his home studio in Stillwater, Maple Strings.
Mr. B has been trained in the Suzuki Method by Nancy Lokken and Ann Montzka Smelzer, both of whom studied directly with Shinichi Suzuki himself! Every day he strives to bring their care, wisdom, and integrity into the lesson experience.
As a performer, he is at home performing in both rock venues and classical venues, having shared the stage at sold-out shows with Dessa, Jeremy Messersmith, and the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.
As a classical performer, he served as the violist of Lux String Quartet from 2013-2018 (named 2015-16, 2017-18 Classical MPR Class-Notes Artist), acting principal violist with the Des Moines Symphony, section violist with the Quad City Symphony, a member of Improvestra, a travel-blogging street artist in Wormwood, and a frequent collaborative soloist with composers both locally and nationally. He served as interim violist of the Belin Quartet’s 2017 season, regularly performs with the Laurels String Quartet, and has also enjoyed substitute engagements with Orchestra Iowa, Mankato Symphony, and the South Dakota Symphony.
As an administrator, Mr. B serves as the Founder and Artistic Director of the Oskaloosa Music Festival, which celebrated its 10th consecutive season in 2019.
Mr. B began his viola studies at the age of nine with Bruce McLellan in his hometown of Oskaloosa, Iowa. He has studied with Charles Miranda and Jonathan Sturm of the Des Moines Symphony, as well as Thomas Turner of the Minnesota Orchestra. In 2012, he earned a Bachelor’s in Viola Performance from the University of Minnesota under the instruction of Korey Konkol. After six years of teaching and performing full-time, he returned to Boston University to earn his Master’s in Viola Performance with Michelle LaCourse, one of the nation’s leading instructors of Coordination. He has also worked in various capacities with Sabina Thatcher, Carol Rodland, Tom Rosenberg, and Roland Vamos as well as members of the Muir, JACK, Arditti, and Parker string quartets.
Mr. B performs on an award winning 16 3/8" Brescian model viola after Da Salo made by New York-based luthier, Jason Viseltear. He commissioned Northfield-based archetier, Matthew Wehling, to make his bow.
When not playing the viola or fiddle, you might be able to find Mr. B hiking off in some remote mountain range, baking fresh sourdough bread, or playing an intense game of chess with his friends.
Mr. B and Mrs. B (Amanda) moved to Stillwater in June of 2020 to put down roots in this lovely community and enjoy all that the St. Croix Valley has to offer.