George Benjamin succeeded Sir Harrison Birtwistle as Henry Purcell Professor of Composition at King's College in January 2001 since when he has accepted post-graduate students from the UK, Japan, France, Spain, Italy, Jordan, USA, Israel, Portugal, Germany and Australia.
Born in 1960, 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 work with Olivier Messiaen (composition) and Yvonne Loriod (piano), after which he completed his studies at King's College Cambridge under Alexander Goehr.
Since his first orchestral piece, Ringed by the Flat Horizon, was performed at the BBC Proms in 1980 his works have continued to be performed across the world. In recent years there have been retrospectives of his work in Tokyo, Berlin, Madrid, Paris and Lucerne
George Benjamin's first operatic work, Into the Little Hill, a collaboration with playwright Martin Crimp, has toured widely on both sides of the Atlantic since its premiere in 2006, and in 2008 won Benjamin’s third Royal Philharmonic Society Award.
As a conductor he regularly appears with leading ensembles and orchestras, amongst them the the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, the Cleveland and Concertgebouw orchestras and the Berlin Philharmonic. He has conducted numerous world premieres, including important works by Rihm, Chin, Grisey and Ligeti.
He was made a Chevalier dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres in 1996, was elected to 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
His works are recorded on Nimbus Records www.wyastone.co.uk, and are published by Faber Music in London www.fabermusic.co.uk.
Written on Skin (2012) opera, text by Martin Crimp. Commissioned by the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, De Nederlandse Opera (Amsterdam), Théâtre du Capitole (Toulouse), Royal Opera House Covent Garden London and the Teatro del Maggio Musicale Fiorentino. The first performance was given at the Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, directed by Katie Mitchell, with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra conducted by the composer, at the Grand Théâtre de Provence, on 7 July 2012. The cast: Christopher Purves, Barbara Hannigan, Bejun Mehta, Rebecca Jo Loeb and Allan Clayton.
Duet (2008) for piano and orchestra, commissioned by Roche for the Lucerne Summer Festival; first performance: Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano, with the Cleveland Orchestra conducted by Franz Welser-Moest .
Into the Little Hill (2006), a lyric tale, text by Martin Crimp; first performance: Opera Bastille, Paris; Anu Komsi, Hilary Summers, Ensemble Modern conducted by Franck Ollu
Dance Figures (2004) for orchestra; first performance: Chicago Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Daniel Barenboim (ballet premiere choreographed by Anne-Teresa de Keersmaeker, La Monnaie, Brussels).
Palimpsests (2002), for orchestra; first performance: London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Pierre Boulez, London.
Shadowlines (2001), for piano solo; first performance: Pierre-Laurent Aimard, Barbican, London.
CD of “Piano Figures” issued on Nimbus Records, 2010.
“Composing for the Piano in Black and White”, article for the Guardian, 2010.
”A Tribute to Olivier Messiaen” – centenary CD, with George Benjamin conducting the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, released 2009.
“Legato – World of the Piano”, DVD including “Shadowlines” performed by Pierre-Laurent Aimard, 2009.
“Make a Joyful Noise”, centenary tribute to Olivier Messiaen in the Guardian, 2008.
“George Benjamin” – book of profiles and interviews published by Roche and the Lucerne Festival, 2008.
CD of “Into the Little Hill”, “Sometime Voices” and “Dance Figures” released on Nimbus Records, 2008.
“In the Realm of the Senses”, article in memory of Gyorgy Ligeti for the Guardian, 2007.
For a complete list of compositions, see Faber Music's website