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About the author and site

Hi! I'm Benjamin Kassel, and you've stumbled upon my small corner of the internet. I'm currently a senior-year undergraduate at UC Berkeley, majoring in Music and minoring in English. I've played the trombone since the fourth grade and was singing in my synagogue before that; I currently am in the Wind Ensemble at Cal in conjunction with my musical studies.

I created this blog to be a place where I can get out some of the many musical thoughts I have in my head in a more structured manner. In a way, what I'm doing combines parts of my major and minor, though this website will be decidedly more casual than my Cal classes. Over time, you'll see reviews, playlists, and think pieces on whatever musical topics inspire me.

The name of this website, the Unfortified Castle, comes partially from a play on my last name, which is pronounced the same way. The "Unfortified" part comes from the fact that my musical opinions are nowhere near set in stone; I'm not impervious from being influenced by others to the point of them changing my mind. I think this is something too few writers acknowledge, as they want to establish their authority through their steadfastness to certain points of view. As for me, I don't have that authority, and even if I did, I wouldn't want to lie and say that I'm unimpressionable.

Feel free to reach out through email ( or Twitter (@benjaminhk01) to ask questions, give me listening or writing recommendations, air out your grievances, etc.! I want to be able to interact with my readers as I grow this blog.

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