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Professor George Benjamin

Professor George Benjamin

  • Academics
  • Supervisors

Henry Purcell Professor of Composition

Research subject areas

  • Music

Contact details


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 across Europe and around the world.

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 widely performed internationally. In recent years there have been retrospectives of his work in London at the Wigmore Hall, South Bank, and at the Barbican as well as in New York, Amsterdam, Turin, Frankfurt, Berlin and Hamburg.

His works are published by Faber Music and are recorded on Nimbus Records.

Research Interests and PhD Supervision

  • Composition

George would be interested in working with PhD students in the field of composition. For more details, please see his full research profile.

Expertise and Public Engagement

George Benjamin has written three operatic works, in collaboration with Martin Crimp: Into the Little Hill (Paris Autum Festival, 2006) Written on Skin (Aix-en-Provence Festival, 2012) and Lessons in Love and Violence (Royal Opera House, 2018). Since their premieres they have received multiple international productions and have been broadcast on radio and television as well as being released on CD and DVD.

Recent years have seen him conduct the London Sinfonietta, Ensemble Modern, Berlin Philharmoniker, and the Philharmonia, Royal Concertgebouw and Mahler Chamber Orchestras. He has conducted numerous world premieres, including important works by Grisey and Ligeti and his repertoire ranges from Mozart and Schumann to Boulez and Abrahamsen.

He is a Commandeur dans l'ordre des Arts et Lettres and was knighted in 2017. In the 2019-20 season he receives the Leone d’Oro lifetime achievement award from the Venice Biennale and festivals in Lucerne, Stockholm and Paris feature his work.