16: Brandon Ridenour and Ben Russell are the Founders of Founders


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“Founders” is a string quartet plus trumpet and piano. Ben Russell is the violinist for the group, and Brandon Ridenour is the trumpet and pianist.

You can check them out at

They’re friends who just love making music together and don’t follow the expectations of the music community.

Here’s a brief outline of our chat.

  • The founding of Founders
    • Brandon was member of the Canadian Brass
    • He and Ben met as a gathering of friends with a general interest in creativity
    • Had a songwriting collective who shared music via soundcloud.
  • The nature of Founders was very organic, outside the box, not following a “template”.
  • How many other groups in New York do the same thing?
  • Their goal is to make Founders their main gig – or at least a significant source of their income.
  • Want to make classical music more accessible to non-classical audiences.
  • There’s repression in the classical world to conform to certain performance, audience etiquette standards.
  • They consider themselves a “classical band.”
  •  The value of “niching down.”


About the author, James Newcomb

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