British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is internationally recognized for his electrifying performances and insightful interpretations. His virtuosic command over the most strenuous technical complexities underpins the remarkable depth and understanding of his musicianship. Benjamin is renowned for his distinctive sound, described as ‘poetic and gently ironic, brilliant yet clear-minded, intelligent but not without humour, all translated through a beautifully clear and singing touch’ (The Independent
), and making him one of the most sought-after young pianists in the world.
Benjamin first came to prominence as the outstanding winner of the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at the age of eleven, and he was invited to perform with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the First Night of the 2011 BBC Proms at just nineteen. Since then, he has become an internationally regarded pianist and was announced in 2016 as the inaugural recipient of The Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize with the New York Philharmonic. As part of this he returns to New York in April 2018, performing Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 under the baton of Esa-Pekka Salonen as well as chamber music with members of the orchestra at the Tisch Center for the Arts at 92nd
In 2011 Benjamin signed to Decca Classics, becoming the youngest British musician ever to sign to the label, and the first British pianist to sign to the label in almost 60 years. Benjamin’s fourth CD on the label, Homages
(2016), explores a number of works in which great composers pay tribute to their predecessors, including Busoni’s transcription of Bach’s great solo violin Chaconne, Franck’s Choral, Prelude and Fugue and Liszt’s tribute to Italian folk song, Venezia e Napoli. Awarded a Diapason d’Or, the disc was described by BBC Music Magazine as “showing off his fluid virtuosity, musical sensitivity and fearless approach” and named Instrumental Choice of the month.
During his sensational career to date, Benjamin has received Gramophone’s Young Artist of the Year and Instrumental Awards, a Classic Brits Critics’ Award, UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent and a Diapason d’Or Jeune Talent Award. He has been featured in two BBC television documentaries, BBC Breakfast and The Andrew Marr Show, as well as in CNN’s Human to Hero series. The youngest of five brothers, Benjamin began playing the piano aged 6. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton and Daniel-Ben Pienaar, where he graduated in 2012 with the ‘Queen’s Commendation for Excellence’ and in 2016 was awarded a Fellowship. Benjamin has been supported since 2013 by EFG International, the widely respected global private banking group.Britten Sinfonia
Just over 25 years ago, Britten Sinfonia was established as a bold reimagining of the conventional image of an orchestra. A flexible ensemble comprising the UK’s leading soloists and chamber musicians came together with a unique vision: to collapse the boundaries between old and new music, to collaborate with composers, conductors and guest artists across the arts, focussing on the musicians rather than following the vision of a principal conductor; and to create involving, intelligent music events that both audiences and performers experience with an unusual intensity.
The orchestra is named after Benjamin Britten, in part a homage to its chosen home of the East of England, where Britten’s roots were also strong. But Britten Sinfonia also embodies its namesake’s ethos. Its projects are illuminating and distinctive, characterised by their rich diversity of influences and artistic collaborators; and always underpinned by a commitment to uncompromising quality, whether the orchestra is performing in New York’s Lincoln Center or in Lincolnshire’s Crowland Abbey. Britten Sinfonia musicians are deeply rooted in the communities they work with, with an underlying philosophy of finding ways to reach even the most excluded individuals and groups.
Today Britten Sinfonia is heralded as one of the world’s leading ensembles and its philosophy of adventure and reinvention has inspired a new movement of emerging chamber groups. It is an Associate Ensemble at London’s Barbican, Resident Orchestra at Saffron Hall in Essex and has residencies in Norwich and Cambridge. It performs an annual chamber music series at London’s Wigmore Hall and appears regularly at major UK festivals including the Aldeburgh, Brighton, the Norfolk and Norwich Festivals and the BBC Proms. Over the last year the orchestra has performed a live broadcast to more than a million people worldwide from the Sistine Chapel, toured to Amsterdam, Paris and Bilbao and in the 2019-20 season will be touring to the US, Mexico, China and much of Europe. It is a BBC Radio 3 Broadcast Partner and has award-winning recordings on the Hyperion and Harmonia Mundi labels.
Recent and current collaborators include Keaton Henson, dancer/choreographer Pam Tanowitz and theatre director Ivo van Hove, with commissions from Thomas Adès, Gerald Barry, Shiva Freshareki, Emily Howard, Brad Mehldau and Mark-Anthony Turnage. The orchestra was recently announced as a commissioning partner in a ground-breaking partnership between minimalist composer Steve Reich and visual artist Gerhard Richter in a new work which will be premiered this Autumn.
Outside the concert hall, Britten Sinfonia musicians work on creative and therapeutic projects with pre-school children, teenagers, young carers, people suffering from dementia, life-time prisoners and older people at risk of isolation. The orchestra’s annual OPUS competition offers unpublished composers the chance to receive a professional commission and unearths new, original and exciting UK compositional talent. Members of Britten Sinfonia Academy, the orchestra’s youth chamber ensemble for talented young performers, have performed in museums, improvised with laptop artists, led family workshops and appeared at Latitude Festival.Thomas Gould
One of the most versatile and original violinists of his generation, Thomas Gould has forged an unusually varied career that encompasses directing, leading, playing concertos, chamber and new music, and also working in jazz and other non-classical genres.
Thomas has always had a particular passion for directing from the violin, and has worked in this capacity with Sinfonietta Rīga (recording Beethoven’s Violin Concerto and Vaughan Williams’s ‘The Lark Ascending’), Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Cologne Chamber Orchestra, ACO Collective and Britten Sinfonia, with whom he has recorded Dimitri Sitkovetsky’s transcription of Bach’s ‘Goldberg Variations’. Currently leader of Britten Sinfonia (an orchestra he has been with since 2006), Thomas also led Aurora Orchestra from 2005 to 2016.
As concerto soloist Thomas has performed with orchestras internationally including the LA Phil New Music Group, Orchestra Of St. Luke’s, West Australian Symphony Orchestra, and in the UK, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Hallé, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Royal Scottish National Orchestra. As well as the mainstream concerto repertoire, Gould has become known as an interpreter of new music, including solo works by Hans Abrahamsen, Thomas Adès, James Macmillan, Nico Muhly and Max Richter. Thomas was formerly on the Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) scheme.
As a chamber musician and recitalist, Thomas has enjoyed partnerships with pianist Alasdair Beatson, cellist Adrian Brendel, accordionist Ksenija Sidorova, the Artea String Quartet (with whom Thomas has recorded quartets by Mendelssohn and Schubert on Champs Hill Records), and has performed as a guest with the Nash Ensemble. Thomas is a regular participant at IMS Prussia Cove and Dartington International Summer School.
Jazz is a more recent strand to Gould’s career, and during 2017/18 he is presenting a series at Kings Place called the ‘Gould Standard’. Recent collaborators include pianist Gwilym Simcock and saxophonist Tim Garland, and for five years Thomas played in the successful swing band ‘Man Overboard Quintet’, recording two albums for Champs Hill Records. Another recent collaboration outside classical music is with techno music pioneer Jeff Mills. 2018 sees the release of a new quintet jazz album called ‘Hourglass’ featuring the music of Johannes Berauer.
Thomas is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied between 2001 and 2006 with Joji Hattori and György Pauk. He plays a 1782 G. B. Guadagnini violin.