BBC Music Magazine

A life in brief


Quick guide to George Benjamin 1960 Born in London, Benjamin goes to Westminste­r School.

1976 Benjamin goes to study in Paris with Olivier Messiaen and Yvonne Loriod, before returning to study at King’s College, Cambridge with Alexander Goehr.

1980 His orchestral piece Ringed by the Flat Horizon, written for the Cambridge University Musical Society, is performed at the BBC Proms, conducted by Mark Elder. 1987 After working with Pierre Boulez at IRCAM in Paris, Benjamin writes Antara for chamber orchestra and electronic­s, but composes little else until 1992. His conducting career begins to blossom.

2001 He becomes professor of compositio­n at King’s College, University of London, taking over from Harrison Birtwistle.

2006 His chamber opera Into the Little Hill, with a libretto by Martin Crimp, is premiered in Paris. At the UK premiere three years later, a power cut in the Royal Opera House’s Linbury Studio leads to the piece being staged in the theatre bar.

2012 Written on Skin, his second large-scale opera, is staged in Aixen-provence. It has since been given nearly 100 performanc­es.

2017 Awarded a CBE in 2010, seven years later George Benjamin is given a knighthood.

2018 Lessons in Love and Violence premieres at Covent Garden, with a cast including singers Barbara Hannigan and Stéphan Degout.

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