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Benji does not put all his eggs in one basket by any means. He effortlessly crafts his own brand of Neo-Classical Brazilian infused music meets late Romantic inspired compositions and arrangements by day and doubles by night as a quirky crooner who adorns his voice with lush voicings and harmonies from his nylon string guitar in his one man show. The former, he often portrays with large and medium scale ensemble formations ranging from string quartets to wind Ensembles of varying shapes and sizes. Benji has performed in a wide array of venues such as Cornelia Street Cafe, Dizzy’s Club, Rubin Museum of Art, Zinc Bar, Nu Blu, and the legendary Rio de Janeiro club “Beco das Garrafas” (Bottles Bar) among many others.   Before Benji ever picked up an instrument, he picked up a brush! “I dreamed of being a famous painter who’s work would go in museums one day” he recounted with his mother (Vera Kaplan, a surreal/abstract artist), who first introduced him to that world when he was about 6 years old. He would set up shop in front of Central park on the weekends and sell his paintings to passersby.  All his talent, creativity and integrity transferred to the guitar when he stopped painting at age 11 and took up music and the guitar as his mainstay. He takes a similar approach to creating his compositions today and his philosophy is:  “It’s all textures, patterns, moods, mediums and colors! The end result is a vision, a story I can share with others. This is what I want to create, it's what keeps me going”. 
One of Benji's greatest passions and missions is to bridge the gap between Brazilian music and the american songbook. Having spent much of his late teens in various regions of Brazil up until the present, through concerts and workshops, he Invites audiences around the globe to gain greater insight and appreciation in to the interconnectedness of musical culture in both places. He transmits this insight through performances and lectures, comparing styles, techniques and harmonic approaches from various composers both from the past and present times in Brazil, U.S. and Europe.
" I think Benji is the greatest composer of Brazilian music to come from the United States"  - Guinga (most recognized composer post-Jobim from Brazil)





Photo by Rita Figueiredo 

Photo by Rita Figueiredo 

With 6 critically acclaimed albums to date, Benji first released; 
(“Meditações no Violão”) (Guitar Meditations)
Original pieces for solo guitar in 2011 - ,
“…a collection of poetic and refined compositions played with a perfect balance of intellect and emotion” JazzTimes 
His 2nd release (“Reveries em Som”) in 2015 - Featured Anne Drummond, 

…”a deep conversation between the flute and guitar weaving melodies and harmonies together that are both lyrical and unpredictable. Lush Brazilian Jazz mixed with classical and World music elements, equally suitable for the old soul or the contemporary listeners ears!"

And following his 2nd album, released (“Uai Sô”) in 2016
“Kaplan’s idiosyncratic and exploratory style, thematically challenging and boldly expressive.This is actually a bigger deal than could ever be imagined or expressed in a five-hundred-or-so (word) review” 
-Raul da Gama/World Music Report
“Uai Sô" is so unexpected that it cannot be pigeonholed. Not at all.The music flows beautifully and oscillates between Brazilian song and new classical so rapidly as to truly meld together as one unprecedented newness”           - Gapplegate Music Review



“Sophisticated yet sensuous”

- Jazz Weekly

On his 4th venture, "Chorando Sete Cores" (2017) Kaplan paired up his melodiously lyrical guitar compositions with a wind quintet.  "This is as close as you’ll get to musical champagne and I have a feeling that Nazareth, Villa-Lobos, Baden Powell and Guinga would (have) whole heartedly approved" - Raul da Gama

While building up a fast growing catalogue of records as a solo artist, it soon became apparent there was a void that needed to be filled, and sure enough that was the 5th album, entitled "Benji & Rita" (2019) with his longtime partner in life and in music Rita Figueiredo!  A freewheeling, gorgeously orchestrated whirlwind through the many facets of Brazilian music (samba, baiao, waltzes, pop)…whimsical, deeply romantic sonic images of New York and Brazil by the dynamic husband and wife team of Benji Kaplan (composer, arranger, producer, guitar, vocals) and Brazilian born singer-songwriter Rita Figueiredo.”Jonathan Widran (L.A. Times)



 In 2020, as the whole world starts collapsing in to a global pandemic, lot's of introspective, composing, and musings take place at Benji's home. This is where his 6th album comes in to play.  In 2022, "Something Here Inside" is born!

"A warm love letter to the Great American Songbook” - The Big Takeover 


“…Kaplan knows this repertoire of standards inside-out, allowing him to give even the overly familiar melodies fresh depths via unusual arrangements, imaginative counterpoint and complex internal voicings. “


“…skillfully, thoughtfully and freshly realized.”

Howard Mandel - (DownBeat Magazine)

“Imaginative nylon string explorations, nothing short of miraculous.”

- Acoustic Guitar Magazine

Kaplan is currently gearing up to release his 7th album entitled "Untold Stories" in Mid-March / early April 2024. Featuring 9 pieces in the format of solo guitar, recorded at home alone and mixed and mastered in São Paulo, Brazil by the great Homero Lotito at Reference Mastering Studio. Intimate pieces that capture the stories of Brazilian folklore, the madness of the upper east side and the emboldening yet controversial image of a vigilante as a composer or a composer as a vigilante of sorts? You decide! 

 - Benji & Guinga circa 2010

Benji's music video "A Gente se Manifesta" has been featured in Billboard Brasil and was screened and nominated in short film festivals around the world including TMC London film Festival, Girona Film Festival (Spain), Near Nazareth Film Festival (Israel) and Los Angeles CineFest among others. 
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