American composer and New York native Ben Zebelman started formal piano lessons at the age of five with his Lithuanian piano teacher, Nijole Boguta Dedinas. Continuing onward to study at the Eastman School of Music with Pat Hanson in High School and then on to earn a Bachelors in Music at the Ithaca College School of Music studying with Mary Ann Covert and Karl Paulnack.
"I love what I do. Seriously, how lucky am I?" Since the age of 15, when Ben first set foot in a recording studio and got to see music being scored to picture, he knew he would do whatever it took to be successful. The confluence of live players, music, technology and teamwork all resonating as one was a defining moment in his life.
Upon completion of his formal music education, Ben cut his music industry teeth at the famous NYC commercial music house David Horowitz Music Associates. The early 2000's had 60 piece orchestral sessions booked three times a week for :30 TV commercials. It was a magical moment in time which proved to be invaluable for Ben as he made connections with some of the best players in NYC, if not the world. The time pressures, demands and complex revisions were intense, but they helped to build a skill set that Ben relies on every day. For over three decades in the music business, Ben creates, collaborates and most importantly, delivers inspired music for every project.
In 2008, Ben started his own music production company, Octave Music, and one of the earliest projects was MOONSHINERS (Discovery Channel). In it's pilot stage, Ben was approached by creator and showrunner Matt Ostrom to give the show a unique sound. To his credit, Matt mentioned, "Cigar Box Guitar" and moments later, Ben left his NYC studio in search of one on the island of Manhattan. Fortunately, 30th Street Guitars had one hanging from the ceiling and after a bit of negotiating with cash in hand, Ben left the shop with an early production Daddy Mojo 5 string cigar box guitar. "This thing is an almost untameable beast. Intonation all over the place, warped neck, piezo mic pickup which would feedback if you looked at it wrong. Once figured out though, that axe could sing!"
MOOSHINERS is an amazing case-study in what original music can do. Projects that followed that model of work include: I AM REBEL (Nat Geo), LIVE FREE OR DIE (Nat Geo), ALASKA P.D. (A&E), LONE STAR LAW (Animal Planet), to name a few. Many collaborations would follow from Discovery Channel, TLC, PBS, Netflix, CBS Sports, Disney, HBO, USTA, Pepsi, G.E., Toyota, Lexus, Jaguar, Range Rover, X2 Performance, Mission and more.
During this stage of Ben's career, he also teamed up with Producer and Composer extraordinaire Andrés Levin of YERBA BUENA and THE HEIGHTS fame. The two composed music for LionsGate / Pantellion/3Pas films including AZTEC WARRIOR [Luis Guzman, Eugenio Derbez], SPARE PARTS [George Lopez, Marisa Tomei, Carlos Pena-Vega] and ¿Y cómo es él? [Zuria Vega, Mauricio Ochmann, Omar Chaparro].
Most recently, Ben has scored documentaries including IN THE VALLEY OF SIN (Fox Nation/Texas Crew), the Nat Geo/Disney series EXPLORER including LOST ON EVEREST, VIRUS HUNTERS, THE LAST TEPUI and DEEPEST CAVE. The production value on these projects has been inspirational for composition. In the case of THE LAST TEPUI, Alex Honnold of FREE SOLO fame blazed a never before climbed ascent, in the middle of a rainforest, on Tepui's sandstone vertical face which was beyond inspirational.
2021 presented Ben a seventh consecutive SESAC TV/Film Composers Award to go with his Emmy, AICP and London International Advertising Awards.
2022 will mark Ben's 23rd year as a composer in the music business, and he still has the same excitement when beginning a new project with a Film or TV production team as he did when it was his first gig. "There's always that perfect blend of nerves/uncertainty/confidence/chip-on-my-shoulder that I have to deliver. I must come up with something truly original and deliver that not-yet-known sound, a soundtrack that confirms for the producer, director or showrunner that they 100% chose the right music-guy."