Benjamin Wallfisch is a young musician receiving consistent international acclaim for his work as a composer and conductor. Born in London in 1979, his teachers include Anthony Gilbert, Michael Finnissy, James MacMillan, Sir Charles Mackerras and Vernon Handley. He graduated from the Royal Northern College of Music with First Class Honours and the Royal Academy of Music with the highest distinction and is the first composer to be awarded the Honorary Diploma of the Academy as well as every Academy composition prize. He was recently elected an Assoiciate of the Royal Academy of Music.
Benjamin is currently Associate Composer of the Orchestra of St. John’s and since 1996 has received over 50 commissions from organisations including the Bath International Festival of Music (over three consecutive seasons), BBC, Chelmsford Festival, Dartington Summer School, English Chamber Orchestra, Goldberg Ensemble, Hallé, Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, Lake District Summer Music, Leamington Festival, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Park Lane Group, Royal College of Art and the Warwick Arts Society. Performers for whom he has written include the BBC Singers, Belcea Quartet, Coull Quartet, 4-mality, O Duo and Orchestre de Bretagne and the Philharmonia.
In 2003 Benjamin was invited to write a ballet score, 21, for the Rambert Dance Company for a work choreographed by Rafael Bonachela. This was premiered with great success at Saddler’s Wells and featured in the Company’s 2003/04 UK tour. His BBC Proms debut came in 2006 with his orchestral piece Escape Velocity, a work released to critical acclaim as part of a CD portrait of Benjamin’s work on the Quartz label.
Upcoming works include a violin concerto commissioned by the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, three works for symphony orchestra commisisoned by the London Philharmonic, and a sinfonietta piece co-commisisoned by the Australian Festival of Chamber Music, Wimbledon International Music Festival, Sitka Summer Music Festival and El Paso Pro Musica.
Benjamin's work has earned him multiple international awards and nominations, including an Ivor Novello Award Nomination for Best Original Film Score 2009 (for Rupert Wyatt's The Escapist), a nomination in the 2009 Emmy® Awards and two nominations as 'Discovery of The Year' in the 2005 and 2008 World Soundtrack Awards. He made his debut as film composer at the age of 24, scoring Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von Trier’s Dear Wendy and to date he has worked on 37 feature film scores. Benjamin orchestrated and conducted Dario Marianelli's Academy Award® and Golden Globe® winning score for Atonement and his Academy Award® nominated score for Pride and Prejudice .
Benjamin has also established an international reputation as a conductor. At the age of 22 he was appointed Associate Conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra and in 2003 Assistant Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. He has developed a strong relationship with the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra who have re-invited him on several occasions, most recently to lead them in their annual performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. He has conducted the Sydney Symphony at the Sydney Opera House and Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. He made his debut with the Philharmonia in a performance of Dvorak’s 9th Symphony as well as the world premiere of Benjamin’s new orchestral work Anillo. Other recent conducting debuts include those with the BBC Symphony Orchestra in a recording of the Grieg Symphony - the first by a non-Norwegian orchestra - with the Danish Radio Symphony.