Benjamin Stalder

Harmony in Numbers

February 5, 2024

Benjamin Stalder finds commonality in the world of music and business.

Benjamin Stalder has perfect pitch and can play instruments by ear. “I can hear a piece of music and replicate it without seeing the notes,” he said. This rare ability was discovered when he was younger and started to play guitar. By the time he was eight years old, he had transitioned to the piano. “My piano teacher would often remark that what I played sounded great, but it wasn’t what was on the page,” Stalder recounted.

He plays four instruments proficiently, picking up a few others here and there, sings tenor, and regularly composes. It’s no surprise that he wanted to pursue music when he came to Richmond, but he also had an interest in business. Before enrolling, Stalder talked to several advisors to be sure he could complete dual degrees in music and business in four years, a unique opportunity he found at UR. 

Stalder found his place on campus in both the business school and music department and soon became involved in campus ministries through the Chaplaincy, lending his musical knowledge and talent to Catholic Mass and seasonal programming. Through it all, he finds a common theme of service and leadership. “I just started a course on choral conducting and am finding many similarities in business,” he said. “We focus on the importance of leadership, directing, and guiding an ensemble, how people react to input, and organizational behavior. It all pairs very nicely.”

Before the holidays, Stalder helped organize Lend Thy Light, a Christian holiday service meant to provide a time of reflection and remembrance for students and campus community members. He arranged a medley of 35 songs, which he played continuously for the 60-minute program.

He loves sharing his passions and putting what he’s learned into practice. Last summer, he interned with a music academy near his hometown of Pittsburgh that provides a musical preparatory program to help high school students identify college paths. He soon plans to submit some of his compositions to a publisher in hopes of sharing his music with a wider audience.  

Stalder has composed around 20 pieces to date. “A lot of my pieces take time to develop,” Stalder said. “When I have an idea, I’ll write it down, then it will stay dormant for a while before I bring it back out for another look.” 

Stalder follows a long line of accountants in his family with plans to intern at PwC’s Pittsburgh office this summer. He credits Ivan Feldman, a visiting professor of accounting, for solidifying an interest in the field. “I loved the first accounting class I took with him. He set me on this path,” Stalder said. “Even four semesters later, we often converse in the hallways and catch up. I think that’s a hallmark of the business school.”

Stalder tries to pair his love of music and interest in business whenever he can—traversing from class to Schola Cantorum choir, from the jazz studio to band practice. Stay on campus long enough and one can be sure to catch a performance.