About Ben

Benjamin Ring was born in Oakland, California, the son of a french horn player and an orchestra administrator. Growing up in Piedmont, California, his love for music was fueled early on by exposure to orchestral performances both in concerts and around the house. Upon hearing Richard Strauss’ An Alpine Symphony one summer day while on vacation in Wyoming, Benjamin realized there was no greater force in the world than music and, after his teachers complained about his constant finger drumming in class, his parents bought him a drum set at age 7.

Benjamin’s first public performance was with the Berkeley Youth Orchestra at age 8. His orchestral percussion experience would continue to grow as he joined the Oakland Youth Orchestra, Young People’s Symphony Orchestra, and eventually the San Francisco Symphony Youth Orchestra of which he was a member at age 12, the youngest in the orchestra’s history at the time. Playing timpani and percussion, Benjamin toured Alaska and Europe, performing symphonies by Mahler, Prokofiev, and Berlioz in the Berlin Philharmonie, the Concertgebouw, and other great concert halls, all before he graduated from high school.

Benjamin’s passion for jazz drumming also developed at a young age; for all three years of middle school, he was a member of the Berkeley JazzSchool’s Advanced Middle School combo. As a high school freshman, Benjamin was accepted into the SFJAZZ High School All-Stars and the Berkeley JazzSchool Studio band, two high-level all-Bay-Area big bands with which he garnered multiple first place awards at the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Festival and the Charles Mingus Competition in New York City. He also participated in the Brubeck Summer Jazz Colony and the Monterey Next Generation Jazz Orchestra (with which he toured Japan), two internationally renowned jazz education institutions. Also while in high school, Benjamin received scholarships from SFJAZZ, the Monterey Jazz Festival, and the National YoungArts Foundation.

Benjamin earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Southern California in 2019 where he studied drums with Peter Erskine, Will Kennedy and Ndugu Chancler. He also studied theory and composition with Vince Mendoza and Patrice Rushen. Benjamin is currently attending the Herbie Hancock Institute of Jazz Performance at UCLA, a prestigious, 2-year master’s program composed of one small ensemble of musicians chosen by audition from across the globe. His professional experience includes performances in ensembles led by David Binney, Billy Childs, Patrice Rushen, Ed Simon, Gerald Clayton, Genevieve Artadi, and members of the San Francisco Symphony, in such venues as Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Blues Alley, the Blue Whale, the Kuumbwa Jazz Center, and Davies Symphony Hall.

Q&A with Ben

Level(s) Comfortable Teaching

Beginner to Advanced

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