Public Health Grand Rounds at the Aspen Institute hosted a lunchtime performance and discussion with Benjamin Lerner, musical prodigy, piano-rap artist and opioid addiction survivor.
Benjamin Lerner is the great-grandson of Irving Berlin (composer of “God Bless America”). A music prodigy, by fourteen, Benjamin was playing full classical piano concerts, but the pressure of living up to the expectations of his family’s musical legacy proved too much for him. By his early twenties, he was an IV heroin and crack cocaine addict. Benjamin has now been sober for over 3 years. He credits his continued success in recovery to his ability to express his emotions relating to his struggle through word and song. He has developed a new hybrid genre of music; he creates all new piano compositions rooted in classical music theory – and simultaneously raps over them, journaling his experience with addiction. His first full album is planned for release in early 2020. Benjamin’s great-grandfather created a vision of hope in the 20th century through his music. Similarly, Benjamin hopes that by sharing his personal journey, he can bring hope to others who are struggling. Learn more here: benjaminlerner.com