On the Couch with Ben Opie

AAR Ben Opie photo by Rhea CaldwellWho is Ben Opie?
I’m an inherently artistic person who loves to share creativity far and wide. Although a lot of my work has been in the classical music field. I’ve loved broadening that in every endeavour I explore. My work has taken me to Turkey where I ran workshops with Syrian refugee children, as well as running workshops for children who are blind or visually impaired here at Melbourne Recital Centre. As part of directing the Peninsula Summer Music Festival, we look for ways to make our festival an exciting and diverse mix of music that can be accessible in many different ways. All of this adds up to a curious person who loves to make the most out of life!

What would you do differently from what you do now?
Although creative, I do have a passion for details too, I think if I wasn’t in the creative arts, I’d be working on something that requires an eye for detail… I also have a penchant for robots! So it would likely head in that direction.

Who inspires you and why?
People who think laterally and take risks in all walks of life. I get inspired by people that want to make and see positive change in the world around them, and then take action to make that change. It inspires me and gives me courage to do the same in my sphere.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
I feel like the opportunities I’ve been given offer me a chance to make a difference in my own way. Whether though planting seeds of creativity through my workshops, or finding ways to make art more accessible, or interpreting music and performing it in a new way, I hope this makes a positive difference in people’s lives.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
Holidays for me are about new experiences, so if I’m taking a holiday, I like to go somewhere I haven’t been before, or at least make sure I create a new experience there. At the moment, I have a hankering to get to Mexico and South America, this would be a new destination for me.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
The food offerings in Melbourne are always a treat, so exploring those options is high on the list. An adventure to the MPavillion, State Library and NGV would be wonderful too – they always have interesting activities on offer.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid and am now reading Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides (very late to the game but excited to be reading it!). Both fascinating reads.

What are you currently listening to?
I have been listening to a mix of things which is always the way: Jan Dismas Zelenka: he was a Bohemian baroque composer | RAYE: she is a British contemporary singer/ songwriter | Grazyna Bacewicz Biernacka: she was an incredible Polish early 20th century composer.

Happiness is?
A sense of peace with a healthy mix of stimulation!

What does the future hold for you?
Constantly challenging myself creatively as well as my perceptions.

Ben is the Co-Artistic Director (with Melissa Doecke) of the Peninsula Summer Music Festival – which runs 1 – 8 January 2024 at various venues across the Mornington Peninsula. For more information, visit: www.peninsulafestival.com.au for details.

Image: Ben Opie – photo by Rhea Caldwell