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George Benjamin

Composer

Biography

English composer and conductor George Benjamin made his Royal Opera debut in 2013 conducting his opera Written on Skin (text by Martin Crimp), which he returned to conduct in 2017. He returns in the 2017/18 Season with Lessons in Love and Violence, a new work co-commissioned by The Royal Opera, with which he conducts the premiere.

Benjamin was born in London. He started composing at the age of seven and studied with Messiaen at the Paris Conservatoire and with Goehr at King’s College, Cambridge. He made his BBC Proms debut aged 20 with Ringed by the Flat Horizon (BBC Symphony Orchestra and Mark Elder). Further compositions include At First Light (London Sinfonietta and Simon Rattle), Palimpsests (London Symphony Orchestra and Pierre Boulez) and the chamber opera Into the Little Hill, which marked the start of his collaboration with Crimp. His compositions have been celebrated through retrospectives at the Barbican, the Southbank Centre and in Paris, San Francisco, Frankfurt, Lucerne, Aix-en-Provence, Aldeburgh and New York, among others. He is an honorary fellow of King’s College, Cambridge, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, the Royal Academy of Music and the Royal College of Music, and an Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society. He was appointed a CBE in 2010 and a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2015.

Benjamin regularly conducts such leading orchestras as the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Royal Concertgebouw, London Sinfonietta and Ensemble Modern. He has conducted world premieres by composers including Chin, Grisey, Ligeti and Rihm. He regularly teaches at the Tanglewood Festival and is Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King’s College London.

George Benjamin is widely regarded as one of the leading composers of his generation. In 2017 he received a knighthood from the Queen honouring his achievements.