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David Ben - Biography

Jamy Ian Swiss | Roberto Giobbi | David Ben | Michael Close

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David Ben has been described by the Financial Post as one of the finest magicians of his generation. Educated at the University of Toronto (BA Hons), the University of Western Ontario (LLB), and the London School of Economics (LLM), David retired from the conventional lawyer’s life in 1990 to pursue his passion – the art of magic. He was recognized by University of Toronto Magazine as one of 40 young alumni “taking the world by storm”.

David was the sole protégé of Ross Bertram – an original member of the Stars of Magic and widely regarded as one of Canada's greatest sleight-of-hand artists. David’s 22,000 word profile about Ross Bertram and his magic for the March 2003 issue of Genii magazine generated rave reviews. Previously, David was himself the subject of a 20,000-word profile for Genii in 2000.

Although David has performed throughout the United States, Canada, in Mexico, England, France and Japan, he rarely performs for magicians. He has lectured less than a dozen times over the past twenty years. He was, however, the most featured lecture/performer at the conference celebrating the centenary of the Society of American Magicians held in New York City in 2002 and recently conducted a private workshop for Michael Canick in New York City. David’s book, Tricks, will be published this fall by Gabe Fajuri. The book will contain dozens of close-up routines that David has developed over his performing career, using a broad range of objects

As a public performer, David was the co-creator (along with Canadian broadcast icon Patrick Watson) and principal performer of The Conjuror, a commercial and critically acclaimed theatrical presentation that enjoyed extended runs at the prestigious Shaw Festival at Niagara-On-The-Lake, Theatre ROM at the Royal Ontario Museum, and at the Isabel Bader Theatre, Toronto. He was also the co-creator (along with Patrick Watson) and principle performer of The Conjuror’s Suite, another commercial and critically acclaimed theatrical production that was staged in Salon ROM at the Royal Ontario Museum and at the Charlottetown Festival in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The Conjuror’s Suite featured classical sleight-of-hand magic including Cups and Balls, Ring on Stick, Egg on Fan, and the Torn and Restored Cigarette Paper.

David has made numerous television appearances including Open Mike: The Mike Bullard Show (3 times), Pamela Wallin Live (3 times), Canada AM (3 times), Breakfast Television (5 times) The Dini Petty Show (2 times) and Michael Coren Live (2 times). David was also the subject of an award-winning documentary film, “A Conjuror In The Making,” which aired on Adrienne Clarkson Presents on the C.B.C. and on Breakfast With The Arts on the A & E Network in the United States.

David has also been the consultant to such television documentaries such as “The Wizards of Awe” - a two part documentary for C.B.C.’s The Journal , the Daniel Zuckerbrot film “Martin Gardner Mathemagician” for The Nature of Things, and for History Television’s The Canadians, “The Strange Genius of Stewart James” and “Dai Vernon - The Spirit of Magic”. This latter film, in which he also acted as Associate Producer, was awarded the Chris Award from the Columbus Film Festival as the best biographical documentary in the year, a bronze award at Worldfest, Texas and was a finalist at the New York Film Festival.

David is considered the international expert on the life of Dai Vernon, the most influential magician of the 20th century. David represents the Estate of Dai Vernon and is preparing, in association with the Theatre Museum and the Department of Canadian Heritage, an exhibition and theatrical presentation based on the life and work of Dai Vernon. He is also writing a biography about this great artist. This will be David’s second book for the general public, the first being Advantage Play – A Manager’s Guide To Creative Problem Solving published by Key Porter Books, a book that examines magicians, card cheats and psychics as models of creativity and pragmatic problem solving. David also acts as a keynote speaker on creativity, innovation and problem solving to a broad range of associations and corporate clients in the United States and Canada.

David is the founder of Magicana – a not-for-profit organization dedicated to studying and promoting magic as a performance art. Through Magicana, David has acted as a consultant to such organizations as The Stratford Festival, the Canadian Opera Company, Soulpepper Theatre, the Lorraine Kisma Theatre For Young People and Historica!. David is a Member of the Inner Magic Circle with Gold Star and was the guest of honor at the Magic Collectors’ Association Conference in Chicago. His resume and experience make him the perfect choice to pair with Jamy Ian Swiss in the first Close-up Clinic.