George Benjamin at 60: in focus at Présences

George Benjamin smiling portrait credit Matthew Lloyd (WEB).jpg

George Benjamin’s 60th birthday will be marked in Paris February 2020 where he will be the featured composer at Radio France’s Présences Festival. Over 10 works will be featured across 15 events, including concert performances of the operas Written on Skin and Into the Little Hill.

 

In the opening concert of the festival Benjamin will conduct the Orchestre National de France in his Palimpsests and Duet for piano and orchestra. Later in the festival, Pascal Rophé conducts the same orchestra in Sudden Time, while Kent Nagano will lead the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France and Chœur de Radio France in Sometime Voices, with baritone Gyula Orendt as soloist. Ensemble Intercontemporain will present Into the Little Hill, and Benjamin conducts Written on Skin with the Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France (a performance which will tour to Vienna).

 

In the UK, Benjamin will conduct the Philharmonia Orchestra in a programme featuring his Duet for piano and orchestra and Dream of the Song for countertenor, female voices and orchestra (full details here). The BBC will re-air their Imagine documentary about Benjamin’s life and work on Sunday 26 Jan.  

 

Other highlights in 2020 include: new productions of Written on Skin at L'Opéra de Montréal, and Lessons in Love and Violence at Theater St Gallen; and – in the Autumn – the US premiere of Lessons at the Lyric Opera of Chicago in the original Katie Mitchell production.