BENJAMIN WALLFISCH’s conducting career was launched by his First Prize in the 2001 British Reserve Insurance Conducting Competition and by his prize-winning performance the following year in the Leeds Conductors’ Competition. At the age of 22, following studies with Vernon Handley, he was appointed Associate Conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra and between 2003 and 2005 was Assistant Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic.
In the UK, Wallfisch has conducted the London Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonia Orchestra, and the City of London Sinfonia. In 2005 he made his Australian debut conducting the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a series of critically acclaimed live broadcast gala performances at the Sydney Opera House. Other guest conducting highlights have included the Bavarian Radio Philharmonic, the Orchestre de Bretagne, the Tivoli Symphony Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra, and an appearance in the 2007 Mecklenburg Festival with the Weimar Staatskapelle.
In the 2007/08 season Wallfisch conducted the Hamburg Symphony in their 75th anniversary subscription series in a program including Prokofiev’s Sinfonia Concertante and Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, recorded a disc of bassoon concertos with the Orchestra of Opera North for Chandos, and made his debuts with the Netherlands Symphony and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra. He also returned to the Hamburg Symphony (to conduct their annual performance of Beethoven’s Ninth on New Year’s Eve) and to the Philharmonia Orchestra, and made his BBC Symphony debut in a recording of the Grieg Symphony for the first time by any orchestra outside Norway. He will be the resident conductor at the 2010 Crested Butte Music Festival of Colorado, and other highlights include his debut with the Los Angeles Philharmonic at these concerts.
Acclaimed by The Strad as “one of the finest accompanists anywhere on the podium,” Wallfisch has performed concertos with some of the world’s finest soloists, including Dame Evelyn Glennie, Pekka Kuusisto, Freddy Kempf, Dame Felicity Lott, Branford Marsalis, Igor Oistrakh, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, and John Williams. Of his recent Quartz release of Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with Ruth Palmer and the Philharmonia, Robert Matthew-Walker of International Record Review said, “If I hear a greater record of Shostakovich’s music this year, I shall be astonished.”
To date, Wallfisch has orchestrated and conducted 17 feature-film scores, including Dario Marianelli’s Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning score for Atonement (also nominated for a BAFTA for Best Original Score 2008), his 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), The Brave One, The Brothers Grimm, V for Vendetta, and Nigel Westlake’s score for Miss Potter. His first feature-film score, composed for Thomas Vinterberg and Lars von Trier’s Dear Wendy, was nominated “Discovery of the Year” in the 2005 World Soundtrack Awards and “Best Original Score” in the 2006 Danish Film Academy Awards. His recent score for Rupert Wyatt’s The Escapist (which was featured in the 2008 Sundance Film Festival and starred Brian Cox, Joseph Fiennes, and Dominic Cooper) was also nominated for an Ivor Novello Award and as “Discovery of the Year” in the 2008 World Soundtrack Awards.
Wallfisch began composing at the age of 10, and since 1996 has received over 40 commissions for the concert hall, cinema, ballet, and theater. He made his BBC Proms debut in 2006 conducting the world premiere of Escape Velocity – the fourth work composed under his ongoing tenure as Associate Composer of the Orchestra of St. John’s. He has also written for the BBC Singers, the Bath International Festival of Music, the Belcea Quartet, the Goldberg Ensemble, the Hallé Orchestra, the Hamburg Symphony Orchestra, the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic, and the Manchester Camerata. In 2003 he was commissioned by the Rambert Dance Company to compose an electro-acoustic ballet score for award-winning choreographer Rafael Bonachela. Rambert gave the London premiere of the new work at Sadler’s Wells to critical acclaim, and the work was featured in its 2003/04 UK tour. His debut CD was released by Quartz in 2006 to great critical acclaim, and he signed an exclusive publishing agreement with Edition Peters in August 2006.
Born in London in 1979, Benjamin Wallfisch was awarded a 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. While at the Academy, he 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 Honors.