English composer and conductor George Benjamin was born in 1960. He demonstrated a gift for composition from the age of 7. from the age of 15, he studied first privately and then at the Paris Conservatoire with Messiaen, also taking piano lessons with Messiaen’s wife, Yvonne Loriod, moving later to study at Cambridge University. He was appointed professor of composition at the Royal College of Music in 1985.
Concurrently he pursued a career in conducting and in 1993 he was appointed principal guest artist of the Hallé Orchestra. He was artistic director for the BBC’s three-year festival Sounding the Century (1996–9). Since 1999 he has taught and conducted at the Tanglewood Summer School.
Oxford Music describes his work as “one of the most original and surprising outputs of any composer currently working.”
His opera Into the Little Hill, based on the menacing tale of the Pied Piper of Hamelin has its Australian premiere under the auspices of the Sydney festival next week, performed by Sydney Chamber Opera.
Read our interview with Jack Symonds, conductor and music director of Sydney Chamber Opera.