Ben Bolter

Lecturer, Conducting and Ensembles

Ben Bolter

MM, Indiana University

Associate Director, Institute for New Music. Ben Bolter made his orchestral conducting debut with the National Symphony Orchestra at age 25, with the Washington Post praising his performance: “Bolter spotlighted the showiest aspects...and made it look easy.” As part of Chicago's acclaimed Ear Taxi Festival, his world premiere of Drew Baker's NOX was named Chicago's Best Classical Music Performance of 2016 by the Third Coast Review. John von Rhein of the Chicago Tribune remarked: "[Drew Baker's] NOX made an altogether striking close to an absorbing, eclectic program, quite the best of the Ear Taxi events..."  He has also served as an assistant conductor with the Indianapolis Symphony and has been a frequent guest at the Civic Orchestra of Chicago. 

Bolter is a regular conductor and collaborator with the International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE). He has also worked with contemporary groups and soloists including Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Third Coast Percussion, Spektral Quartet, IU New Music Ensemble, Claire Chase, and Tony Arnold. He has given world premieres by composers Marcos Balter, Clint Needham, Drew Baker, Matthew Peterson and many more. Additionally, Bolter has worked closely with major figures such as Steve Reich, John Luther Adams, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Lang, Donnacha Dennehy, and Andrew Norman.

Bolter has also been recognized for advancing youth orchestras. He has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra's annual Chicago Youth in Music Festival, the Oakland Youth Orchestras, Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras, served as Artistic Director of The People's Music School Youth Orchestras and is currently music director of the Conservatory Orchestras at the Merit School of Music.

Bolter holds a Bachelor of Music in Oboe Performance from the New England Conservatory. He received a Master of Music  in Orchestral Conducting from Indiana University where he also served as adjunct faculty for four years. In addition to his work as a conductor, he is also an active keyboardist and songwriter and has performed in original and cover bands throughout the Midwest.


Co-Director, Contemporary Music Ensemble