La Biennale di Venezia has awarded George Benjamin the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement in Music 2019. The honour, one of the most prestigious of its kind, was awarded before a concert performance of Written on Skin by the Orchestra Sinfonica Nazionale della Rai which opened the 63rd International Contemporary Music Festival on 27 September. Clemens Schuldt conducted a cast including Georgia Jarman, Christopher Purves, and James Hall.

Benjamin is the first British musician to receive the award, joining a list of composers including Berio, Lachenmann, Kurtág, Rihm, and Boulez. ‘Benjamin is universally acknowledged as one of the most important composers of our time’ – states the citation. ‘His deep yet refined compositions reveal a precious and incisive style that shapes the material of sound with the visionary imagination of a sculptor who feels and sees form even before it is materialized in the score. A great educator, George Benjamin is a unique model for the new generations of composers for his creative imagination, intelligence in composing and understanding of form.’

More details about the award can be found here