BIOGRAPHY

George Benjamin started to play the piano at the age of seven, and began composing almost immediately. In 1976 he entered the Paris Conservatoire to study composition with Olivier Messiaen and piano with Yvonne Loriod, after which he worked with Alexander Goehr at King's College Cambridge.

His first orchestral work, Ringed by the Flat Horizon, was performed at the BBC Proms when he was
just 20; since then his works have continued to be played across the world. In recent years there
have been major retrospectives of his work in London, Berlin, Strasbourg, Madrid and Frankfurt. The
centre-point of a portrait at the 2006 Festival d'Automne in Paris was his first operatic work, Into
the Little Hill, a collaboration with playwright Martin Crimp which has toured widely on both sides
of the Atlantic since its premiere and won the Royal Philharmonic Society’s 2008 award for large-
scale composition. The two have collaborated on a second and larger operatic project, Written on
Skin, which was premiered at Festival Aix-en-Provence in July 2012. A co-commission with the Royal
Opera House, Covent Garden, Netherlands Opera, Maggio Musicale (Florence) and the Theatre du
Capitole Toulouse, it is also scheduled for further performances in Munich, Vienna and Paris in 2013.
 
He appears regularly as a conductor with the world's leading ensembles and orchestras, and
recent seasons have included engagements with the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern,
Philharmonia and the Bavarian Radio and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras. In 1999 he made his
operatic debut conducting Pelléas et Mélisande in Brussels and he has conducted numerous world
premieres, including major works by Rihm, Chin, Grisey and Ligeti. 2010 saw extensive celebrations
of Benjamin’s music in San Francisco and London marking his 50th birthday, and in June that year
there was a major focus on his work at the Aldeburgh Festival. A weekend of Benjamin’s music was
featured at the London’s South Bank in May 2012 as part of the Olympics Festival.
 
George Benjamin was the founding curator of the South Bank's Meltdown Festival, and was artistic
consultant to the BBC's retrospective of 20th century music, Sounding the Century. He is a Chevalier
dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres, a member of the Bavarian Academy of Fine Arts, and has been
awarded honorary fellowships by the Guildhall School, the Royal Academy and the Royal College of
Music. . In June 2010 he was awarded a C.B.E. in the Queen’s birthday honours, and he was made an
Honorary Member of the Royal Philharmonic Society in 2011. Since 2001 has been the Henry Purcell
Professor of Composition at King‘s College, London.
Image credit: 
Maurice Foxall