Ben Nieuwkerk is a versatile musician and educator. He has performed across a wide range of genres highlighted by performances at the Melbourne International Jazz Festival with Aaron Goldberg (USA), X-Factor Star Dean Ray, and The Monash Academy Orchestra. Ben was musical director of The Low Down Big Band and has developed his own musical identity through performing free improvisation with The Tropea Project, and his own group “Ben Nieuwkerk’s Strange Awakening.” He has recently begun studying contemporary classical clarinet with Dr Brigid Burke with the aim of developing a more sophisticated understanding of contemporary improvisational languages. Ben undertook formal music educated at Monash University which included studying jazz in Italy with prominent Italian musicians and culminated in being mentored by Steve Sedergreen in composition and improvisation.