Ben van den Dungen finished his jazz study tenor- and soprano saxophone cum laude at the Royal Academy of Music in The Hague, The Netherlands in 1988.
Ben has been performing as a jazz musician since 1983, but his professional career took off one year later, when he won the prestigious NOS Jazz award 1985.
Ben has performed with numerous ensembles and did over the years around 5000 concerts in about 60 country’s. To name some of the bands:
BEN VAN DEN DUNGEN / JARMO HOOGENDIJK QUINTET
In 1984 he started his own group with his colleague and friend, trumpeter Jarmo Hoogendijk as co-leader: Van den Dungen/Hoogendijk Quintet. (contemporary hard-bop) Later on Ben and Jarmo established the ensemble ‘Brand New Orleans’ (modern jazz with African percussion). With these groups they were frequently touring during the 1980’s and 1990’s throughout Europe.
In 1983 he joined the Latin-Jazz formation ‘Nueva Manteca’. Nueva Manteca has a reputation in the mundial Latin-Jazz world that is second to none. This group does “exactly what it says on the tin” as it is a perfect combination of Cuban- and jazzmusic.
In 1994 and 1995 Ben did a post academic study ‘Latin Arranging’ under Edy Martinez in Colombia, followed by some months in Cuba, studying the musical backgrounds of Afro-Cuban music with Oscarito Valdez in Cuba. Getting more and more interested in worldmusic, Ben has been travelling back and forth to India intensively during the years of 2000 and 2004, studying Indian classical music in Mumbai with Dhana Shree Pandit Rai and followed master classes of Hariprasad Chaurasia.
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.
CROSS-MEDIA ORCHESTRA ‘MOTION UNLIMITED’
In 2009 Ben initiated a new project named ‘Motion Unlimited’. Motion Unlimited is an ambitious project bringing together classical musicians with jazz musicians. This multi-media orchestra combines modern music drawn from all corners, (Pop, Rock, Jazz, Classical etc.) with symphonic elements and unique images, projected on a huge see-through screen in front of the musicians.
Ben has had the privilege to share the stage with a great amount of incredible musicians, including: Mal Waldron, Art Taylor, Woody Shaw, Jimmy Knepper, Kirk Lightsey, Ralph Peterson, Cindy Blackman, Lester Bowie and Jim McNeely.
In concerts with Nueva Manteca and other Latin-Jazz activities he played together with: Giovanni Hidalgo, Nicky Marrero, Luis Conte, Orestes Vilato, Armando Peraza, Juancito Torres, Edy Martinez, Amelita Baltar, Armando ‘Chocolate’ Armenteros, Bobby Sanabria, Claudio Roditi, Ralph Irizarry, Paquito D’Rivera, John Benitez, Michel Camilo, Bobby Carcasses, Nelson Faria, Gustavo Bergali, Brian Lynch, Nelson Goncalves, Dave Valentin, Papo Vazquez and Oscarito Valdes.
With Tango Extremo he performed together with Gustavo Mozzi, Alejandro Herrera, Facundo Guevara and Daniel Falasca.
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.
MASTERCLASSES AND CLINICS ABROAD
He has been invited as a guest teacher at the following Academies of Music 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 has been the Artistic director of the Jazz Academy of the Conservatorium of Rotterdam from 2004 until 2008. Since 2012 he became the artistic director of The International Alternative Musicschool in Seoul (Korea)
Introduced a new curriculum at the Academies of Music in Rotterdam and Groningen: “Business Management for Musicians”.
THE INTERNATIONAL JAZZ SUMMERSCHOOL IN SOUTH KOREA AND BALI:
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.
In 2004 Ben wrote the series ‘Music Business for the musician’, which is published by ‘Molenaar Publishing’.
Ben produced musicprograms for theatres for Tango Extremo : “Viva la vida”, “The Mattheus Passion” and “Havana”. For Legendsofmusic he produced “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”.
Ben is founder of the JWA Jazz and World Music Agency (1993). Since that year, JWA has been able to grow out to one of The Netherlands’ main jazz bookingagents. (www.jwajazz.nl) Ben has been the producer of 20 recordings over the years and as sidemen he recorded around 80 albums.
In 2006 Ben took care of the artistic programming of the first Pure Jazz Festival in The Hague (which replaced the North Sea Jazz Festival). From 1989 untill 1993 he organized a festival for young European jazz artist Named “ Delta Jazz Concerten”. Formed in 2009 together with the Worldmusic and Dance Centre in Rotterdam The Dutch Latin Collective.