Ben Allaway, a Goleta Presbyterian Church “native,” has gone on to become a widely acclaimed composer of choral and instrumental music. His music has been featured on programs with such diverse luminaries as Garrison Keillor and His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Maya Angelou and Hal Holbrook, Simon Estes and Odetta, Jamie Bernstein and Buffy Sainte-Marie, as well as Richie Havens, Susan Werner, Jean-Michel Cousteau, Thomas Friedman, Hillary Clinton and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Norman Borlaug.
Ben’s HEAVEN AND EARTH: A Celtic Mass, a major work featuring 200-voice choir, instrumentalists and dancers, had its world debut in April, 2011. (Watch/hear an excerpt, “Pacem – Find Love”, here). The debut performance was filmed by Iowa Public Television and released as a DVD.
Ben collaborates frequently with his spouse, Julianne Allaway, focusing on themes of community, spirituality, inclusivity, and service. They have created numerous texts for hymns, songs and anthems for choirs and communities, and recently published a book of congregational songs called Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs.
In over 70 commissions, Ben’s dramatic and often interactive music challenges artists and audiences alike to examine afresh both their inner gifts and outer resources, and how they can share of themselves with the world in a positive way, whether on the relational level (social, cultural, spiritual) or even more actively in the work for peace and justice for all in the global community. His large work BANDARI: Inside These Walls has been acknowledged as a major contribution to the cross-cultural choral repertoire.
His eclectic body of work reflects a passion for cross-cultural experiences as well as for the great Western musical traditions. Ben collaborates frequently with his spouse, Julianne Allaway, focusing on themes of community, spirituality, inclusivity, and service. They have created numerous texts for hymns, songs and anthems for choirs and communities, and recently published a book of congregational songs called Hymns, Psalms and Spiritual Songs.
Influences: his early years amid the colorful cultural palette of California, degrees from St. Olaf College and Westminster Choir College, three years on the Mississippi (Hannibal, MO) teaching high school and later teaching at Waldorf College on the Iowa prairie; performing and sometimes recording with Bernstein, Muti, Masur, Abbado, Marriner, Shaw and Menotti, five years as an Episcopal cathedral choirmaster, tours with the Muungano National Choir of Kenya, and extensive travels including East Africa, the UK and Ireland, Europe, Central America, and throughout the U.S.