Ernst von Siemens Music Prize Winner
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.
When Benjamin was only 20 years old, Ringed by the Flat Horizon was played at the BBC Proms by the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Mark Elder. The London Sinfonietta, under Simon Rattle, premiered At First Light two years later. The London Symphony Orchestra under Pierre Boulez premiered Palimpsests in 2002 to mark the opening of ‘By George’, a season-long portrait which also included the premiere of Shadowlines given by Pierre-Laurent Aimard. Recent seasons have seen major surveys of Benjamin’s work given by the Berliner Philharmoniker, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, the Composer Festival at Konzerthaus Stockholm and Radio France’s Festival Présences.
Benjamin will conduct the world premiere of Picture a day like this at the Aix-en-Provence opera festival on 5th July 2023. As with his previous operatic scores, the text was written by playwright Martin Crimp. Into the Little Hill, was commissioned by the 2006 Festival d'Automne in Paris. Since its premiere in Aix in 2012, Written on Skin has won many international prizes and has been seen in numerous different productions across Europe and beyond. Lessons in Love and Violence, was premiered at the Royal Opera House in May 2018 and a large number of performances have been scheduled around the world. In Summer 2022 Benjamin conducted its US concert premiere at Tanglewood and he will tour the work with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra in Spring 2023.
As a conductor Benjamin has a broad repertoire - ranging from Mozart and Schumann to Knussen and Abrahamsen - and has been responsible for numerous premieres, including important works by Rihm, Chin, Murail, Grisey and Ligeti. Over many years he has developed a particularly close association with the Ensemble Modern, London Sinfonietta, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra and the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, the latter giving the world premiere of his Concerto for Orchestra at the 2021 BBC Proms under his baton.
Since 2001 Benjamin 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. He has received numerous honorary fellowships and international awards, was made a Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 2015 and was knighted in the 2017 Birthday Honours. In 2019 he was given the Golden Lion Award for lifetime achievement from the Venice Biennale, and he received the Grand Prix artistique from the Simone et Cino Del Duca Foundation at the Institut de France in June 2022.
George Benjamin is to receive the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize 2023 and is the 50th laureate of the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation after artists such as Benjamin Britten, who received the first music prize in 1973, Olivier Messiaen, Pierre Boulez, Herbert von Karajan, Helmut Lachenmann, Wolfgang Rihm, Mariss Jansons and Tabea Zimmermann, to name but a few.
His works are published by Faber Music and are recorded on Nimbus Records.