Born in 1960, George Benjamin began composing at the age of seven. In 1976 he entered the Paris Conservatoire to study with Messiaen, after which he worked with Alexander Goehr at King's College Cambridge.
Ringed by the Flat Horizon was played at the BBC Proms by the BBCSO under Mark Elder when he was just 20. The London Sinfonietta, under Simon Rattle, premiered At First Light two years later. Antara was commissioned for the 10th anniversary of the Pompidou centre in 1987 and Three Inventions was written for the 75th Salzburg Festival in 1995. The LSO under Boulez premiered Palimpsests in 2002 to mark the opening of ‘By George’, a season-long portrait at the Barbican. Over the last decade there have seen further multi-concert retrospectives of his work in Strasbourg, Madrid, Berlin, Paris, Lucerne, London, San Francisco, Frankfurt, Aix, Turin and Milan. In March 2015 George Benjamin is the focus of Toronto Symphony’s New Creations Festival, in June he will be Artist in Residence at the Aldeburgh Festival, and in August his work will feature at the Lincoln Center Mostly Mozart festival in New York.
operatic work Into the Little Hill,
written with playwright Martin Crimp, was commissioned by the 2006 Festival
d'Automne in Paris. Their second collaboration, Written on Skin, premiered at the Aix-en-Provence festival in July
2012 and has been scheduled by almost twenty international opera houses since
then and has won as many international awards. He conducted the UK premiere at
the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, in March 2013; the production was filmed
and broadcast by BBC television.
conductor he regularly appears with some of the world's leading orchestras,
amongst them the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Mahler Chamber Orchestra,
Philharmonia and the Berlin Philharmonic; he has a particularly close
relationship with the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, and they will give the world
première of his “Dream of the Song” under his baton in September.
Benjamin has conducted numerous world premieres, including important works by
Rihm, Chin, Grisey and Ligeti, and his repertoire stretches from Schumann and
Wagner to Abrahamsen, Knussen, and Murail. He has frequently performed and
taught at the Tanglewood festival in the USA since his first appearance in
1999, and returns there regularly.
In 2012 the
Southbank Centre presented a retrospective of his work as part of the UK’s Cultural
Olympiad. An honorary fellow of King’s College Cambridge, the Guildhall, the
Royal College and the Royal Academy of Music, he was awarded a C.B.E. in 2010
and was made an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2011.
Since 2001 he
has been the Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King‘s College, London.
His works are published by Faber Music and are recorded on Nimbus Records.