Described by BBC Radio 3 as 'a major new name on the new music horizon' (Humphrey Burton) Benjamin Wallfisch is in constant receipt of commissions for the concert hall, ballet and theatre. Associate Composer of the Orchestra of St. John's Smith Square and Associate Conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra, he combines his work as a composer with a busy schedule of conducting engagements around the globe. In 2006, Wallfisch had a new work for orchestra premièred in the BBC Proms and Quartz released a CD dedicated to Benjamin's compositions including his new Clarinet Concerto, dedicated to and performed by Michael Collins, and a selection of chamber works.
Over the last seven years, Benjamin has received over thirty commissions from organisations including the BBC, Bath International Festival of Music (for three consecutive seasons), Orchestre de Bretagne, Chelmsford Festival, Coull Quartet, English Chamber Orchestra, Hallé Orchestra, Lake District Summer Music, Leamington Festival, Manchester Camerata, Park Lane Group, Royal College of Art and the Warwick Arts Society. In 2003 he was commissioned by the Rambert Dance Company to compose a 21-minute ballet score for a new piece by award-winning choreographer Rafael Bonachela. Rambert gave the London Première at Saddler's Wells to great critical acclaim and later featured the work in their UK tour 2003/04. He was Composer-In-Residence for the 2001 Goldberg Ensemble Contemporary Music Festival, has worked closely with the BBC Singers and five of his pieces have been broadcast on BBC Radio. Benjamin's ongoing post with the Orchestra of St. John’s Smith Square includes at least two new orchestral commissions a year and he is also developing his strong interest in multi-media composition through a wide range of initiatives with the orchestra. Benjamin Wallfisch’s first feature film score Dear Wendy (by the legendary Danish director/writer team Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von Trier) was nominated as ‘Discovery of the Year’ in the 2005 World Soundtrack Awards and ‘Best Original Score’ in the Danish Film Academy Awards.
To date he has orchestrated nine major feature film scores, including Dario Marianelli’s Oscar® Nominated score for Pride and Prejudice (awarded Best Soundtrack in the 2006 Classical Brits and nominated as Best Original Score in the Ivor Novello Awards 2006), V for Vendetta (Warner Bros) and The Brothers Grimm (Miramax). He has also composed numerous television drama and documentary scores for Channel 4, The Discovery Channel and BBC 2, as well as music for radio drama for BBC Radio 4 and several major advertising campaigns including a short promotional film for the official time-keeper of the 2006 Winter Olympics, Omega. Benjamin was a member of the Jury for the 2004 BAFTA Anthony Asquith Award for Achievement in Film Music. In the UK, Benjamin has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia, London Symphony Chorus and English Chamber Orchestra and has performed in venues such as the Barbican, Royal Festival Hall and St. George’s Bristol.
He recently made a highly successful Australian debut conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a series of sold-out live broadcast Gala performances at the Sydney Opera House. He was assistant to Valery Gergiev in the Netherlands Première of Rimsky Korsakov’s opera/ballet Mlada and was immediately invited to work with him again in performances of major works by Tchaikovsky and Debussy. Between 2003 and 2005, Benjamin was Assistant Conductor of the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland. During this period he frequently conducted the RFOH at venues including the Concertgebouw, De Doelen Rotterdam and the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht and in numerous studio recordings. The position culminated in a critically acclaimed world première of Benjamin's largest symphonic work, Speed, commissioned by the RFOH, conducted by the composer and broadcast live on Radio TROS.
He recently recorded Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Ruth Palmer for release on Quartz in summer 2006. Other guest conducting engagements include those with the Orchestre de Bretagne, Bayerische Kammerphilharmonie, Hamburg Symphony, Tivoli Symphony and Ulster Orchestra. Benjamin has collaborated with some of the world's finest soloists including Evelyn Glennie, Freddy Kempf, Dame Felicity Lott, Branford Marsalis, Igor Oistrach and Jean-Yves Thibaudet and has been acclaimed by The Strad as “one of the finest accompanists anywhere on the podium”. Benjamin was awarded First Prize in the 2001 British Reserve Insurance Conducting Competition with a unanimous vote from both Jury and Orchestra and was also a major prize winner in the 2002 Leeds Conductors’ Competition. Born in London, Benjamin was awarded the Master of Music degree with Distinction in composition from the Royal Academy of Music and is the first composer in the Academy's history to be awarded the coveted honorary DipRAM.
Whilst at the Academy, Benjamin was the recipient of every composition prize including the Theodore Holland Intercollegiate Prize and the Performing Right Society Foundation Scholarship. He graduated from the Joint Course of the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester with First Class Honours and his teachers have included Anthony Gilbert, Michael Finnissy, James MacMillan and Robert Saxton.