violinist - fiddler

artistic director - composer

Violinist and 3Arts awardee Brandi Berry Benson, whose "four-string acrobatics" and "indispensable skill" (TimeOut Chicago) have been praised as "alert [and] outstanding" (Chicago Classical Review), as her "riffs.. powered by a flashing blur of bow arm, [as they] rolled out with irresistible glee" (Washington Post).  As Artistic Director of the Bach & Beethoven Experience (BBE), Brandi has co-directed and co-produced such season highlights as the (re)premiere of Scotland’s first opera, The Gentle Shepherd, an annual new music for period instruments project called Chicago Stories, a Baroque dance program and collaboration with world renowned dancer Paige Whitley-Baugess, as well as the release of three albums: A Gaelic Summer, An Appalachian Summer, and Chicago Stories. The BBE Carols album will release December 2023. This November, she will premiere a new work for period instruments called The Story of Pa I Sha, based on the stories of her Chickasaw ancestors. She is also the recipient of EMA's Thomas Zajac Memorial Scholarship.

She has appeared with numerous ensembles including, but not limited to, Newberry Consort, Kings Noyse, Ars Lyrica Houston, Ensemble Phoenix Munich, Apollo's Fire, Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra; as soloist/concertmaster of Chicago Arts Orchestra, Soli Deo Gloria Orchestra (viola d’amore), Mountainside Baroque, Bloomington Early Music Festival Opera Orchestra, and St. Louis's Kingsbury Ensemble.  Mrs. Berry Benson has also performed throughout North America including at the Library of Congress, Festival de Musica Virreinal de Durango, Mexico City’s UNAM, the Boston, Berkeley, Indianapolis, and Madison Early Music Festivals, Early Music Now, and others. On air, she has appeared on WFMT, WGN-AM, WNUR, and Wisconsin Public Radio.

As a fiddler, Brandi grew up playing bluegrass in her hometown of College Station, TX alongside her classical studies. She's performed with numerous bluegrass, country, and rock bands, continues to teach and perform folk music, and research historical fiddling traditions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

 Brandi serves on the faculty of Northwestern and DePaul Universities where she works with the Baroque Music Ensemble, and teaches Baroque Performance Practice and Ornamentation, respectively.  For more information about the Bach & Beethoven Experience: