Ben van den Dungen graduated cum laude from the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague in 1988. After his studies he received a scholarship for a post-conservatorial study in New York (jazz), Cuba (Afro-Cuban music) and Colombia (arranging in Latin music). From 2000 Ben studied classical Indian music in Mumbai (India) with Dhanashree Pandit Rai for a number of years.
1985: NOS Meervaart Jazz Award
1987: Nicolai Award
As early as 1982, Ben van den Dungen has been performing as a professional musician and has given more than 5500 concerts in some 70 countries. In 1983 he joined the Latin Jazz group Nueva Manteca. Since then the group has recorded 11 albums and toured North America, Canada, the Caribbean and South America several times. In 1984, together with his colleague and friend Jarmo Hoogendijk, he started the Van den Dungen/Hoogendijk Quintet and founded the group Brand New Orleans (modern jazz with African percussion). With these groups Ben has been touring all over Europe since 1985. From 1996 he played in the Louis van Dijk Superband.
In the late nineties Ben became increasingly interested in the possibilities of various world music movements in combination with jazz music. After studying in India, he recorded the album “How to be Enlightened” together with a number of other Dutch and Indian musicians.
Together with violinist Tanya Schaap, Ben founded the group ‘Tango Extremo’ in 2003. Tango Extremo represents an original combination of many different styles, mixing classical, jazz, Brazilian-music etc., while still keeping the Argentinean tango as the starting point. Since its inception in 2003, the ensemble has made remarkable development, making a big impression on both the Dutch as well as the foreign stages. The group has performed in many countries across the world, such as Argentina, Uruguay, China, Russia, Kurdistan, South Africa, Botswana, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Bolivia, Aruba, Curaçao, South Korea and Mexico. In Europe they performed in many countries as well, like Spain, Italy, Ireland, Denmark, Iceland, Greenland, Turkey, Croatia and France.
Ben played together with, among others: Cindy Blackman, Mal Waldron, Art Taylor, Woody Shaw, Jimmy Knepper, Kirk Lightsey, Lester Bowie, Brian Lynch, Ralph Peterson and Jim McNeely. During his concerts with Nueva Manteca and The Cu-Bop City Big Band he shared the stage with Latin greats such as: Giovanni Hidalgo, Nicky Marrero, Luis Conte, Orestes Vilato, Armando Peraza, Juancito Torres, Edy Martinez, Armando “Chocolate Armenteros”, Bobby Sanabria, Claudio Roditi, Ralph Irizarry, Paquito Rivera, John Bennites, Michel Camilo, Bobby Carcasses, Nelson Faria, Gustavo Bergali, Brian Lynch, Nelson Goncalves, Dave Valentin, Papo Vazquez and Oscarito Valdes.
Ben has been teaching both saxophone as well as ensemble playing since 1990 at the Jazz Academy of the Academy of Music (Codarts) in Rotterdam. He has been guest lecturer at the conservatoria of Hilversum, Zwolle, Groningen and The Hague.
THE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ SUMMERSCHOOL
In 2009 Ben organized together with the ‘Holland Korea Music Association’ the first Jazz Summer school in Seoul, South Korea. During a week in July of 2009 seven Dutch Jazz musicians, all teaching at several conservatoriums in The Netherlands, were working intensively with students from all over Korea during the Jazz Summer school. In July 2015 the seventh edition will be held. In 2015 the second edition will be held of the International Jazz Summerschool in Bali.
CLINICS EN MASTERCLASSES
Ben has been invited as a guest teacher at the following Academies abroad:
Jyväskylä Institute of Music – Jyväskylä (Finland)
Royal College of Music – Leeds (UK)
University of Music – Salvador Bahia (Brasil)
The Jazz School – La Plata (Argentina)
Suwan College of the Arts – Seoul (South Korea)
Seoul Art College – Seoul (South Korea)
University of Nanjing – Nanjing (China)
International jazzworkshop’Giovani Leoni’- Casa del jazz Rome ( Italy)
Siena Jazz – Siena (Italy)
Esmuc – Barcelona (Spain)
El Collectivo- Cali(Colombia)
University of Medellin “ EAFIT” – Medellin (Colombia)
Cultural centre BANF – Banf (Canada)
Stanisław Moniuszko Muziekacademie – Gdańsk (Poland)
Ben mainly composes for his own groups and the bands he plays in and has about 80 compositions to his name. He composed the repertoire for the Ben van den Dungen/Jarmo Hoogendijk Quintet, Brand New Orleans and How2Be. Ben arranged pieces for the repertoire of Nueva Manteca within the program Porgy and Bess, The Westside Story and Congo Square and for the Louis van Dijk Superband he arranged the music for the programs The Music of Jerry Roll Morton and Three Times Louis, (Louis Armstrong). Today he arranges for the group Tango Extremo and writes the music for his new quartet. With Wim Warman he arranged Bach’s complete Matthew Passion for the ensemble Tango Extremo.
He received several composition commissions from the Fonds van de Scheppende Toonkunst including for the FraFra BigBand. His music was used for the television program Keek op de Week van Van Kooten and De Bie. From 2009 until 2011 he writes the music for the cross-media orchestra Motion Unlimited in collaboration with Wiboud Burkens.
In 2004 Ben wrote the series ‘Music Business for the musician’, which is published by ‘Molenaar Publishing’
Ben organized the ‘Delta Jazz Concerts’ in collaboration with the ”Paard van Troje” in The Hague and the Royal Conservatory of The Hague from 1988 to 1991. He organized the festival around the 25th anniversary of the Jazz Department of the Rotterdam Conservatory. In collaboration with Jazz International in Rotterdam he organized the New Orleans Jazz Festival by students of the Rotterdam Conservatory in Night Town. Ben did the programming of the first edition of Pure Jazz Fest in The Hague (2006).
BUSINESS & ARTISTIC DIRECTOR
Since 1993 he is business and artistic director of JWA (Jazz and Worldmusic Agency). This organization initiates, produces and organizes productions. Ben has been artistic coordinator of the Jazz Academy at the Rotterdam Conservatory from 2003 to 2008.
PRODUCER Ben produced the musical performances for theater for the ensemble Tango Extremo: “Viva la vida”, “The Matthew Passion”, “Havana”. Later the name of the ensemble changed to Musica Extrema for which he produced the performances “Club Vaudeville” , “Missa” and “Café du Monde”.
In collaboration with the International Dance Theatre he produced the performances “TangoMania” and “Tin Pan Alley”.
In 2014 he founded the production agency “Legends of Music” together with Wiboud Burkens and Michael Varenkamp. This production agency makes music productions for the Dutch theaters including Miles! and Louis!
For Nueva Manteca he produced “Chicano Rock” and “Crime”.
For New York Round Midnight he produced “A night at the club” and “Swinging Harlem” and for season 2018/2019 he produced “The Crooners Club”.
Besides the CD’s of his own group, Ben produced the CD’s of Nueva Manteca, Tango Extremo, How2Be, Lazyville and Canta Brazil.
He produced two CD’s for Codarts with student ensembles of the Rotterdam Conservatory. Ben plays on about 80 CD’s.