An award-winning artist, French musician Benjamin Beck is regarded as one of the finest violists of his generation. He performs as principal viola in renowned orchestras and is a regular guest at prestigious festivals. The international press describes his playing:
“Benjamin Beck, with his impetuous and magical playing … beautiful phrasing and elegant interpretation … provoked tears of his Basque audience and a standing ovation”
“…wonderfully touching and expressive interpretation…with flexibility and soloistic conciseness making a long-lasting impression…”
“…a young musician with a generous and profound sound, powerfully embedding plentiful warmth and roundness…”
Benjamin has toured across the world and performed solo, chamber music, and concerto repertoire in the most renowned venues, including the Berlin Philharmonie, Paris Philharmonie, Paris Salle Pleyel, Munich National Theatre, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Geneva Victoria Hall, New York Carnegie Hall, and Tokyo Yamaha Hall. He performs regularly at various prestigious festivals, including the Bayreuth Festival, Verbier Festival, and Yellow Barn. He has collaborated with the most inspiring artists of the time, such as violinists Christian Tetzlaff and Midori.
Apart from his extensive soloist and chamber musician performing, Benjamin is regularly invited to lead the viola sections of major European orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, hr-Sinfonieorchester, NDR Elbphilharmonie, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hanover, and Staatsoper Stuttgart, thanks to his earlier experience serving as principal viola at Bavarian State Orchestra in Munich (awarded the world’s best opera orchestra) and his two years of playing at Berlin Philharmonic as a scholarship holder of the Karajan Academy. He played under the baton of the most celebrated conductors; Zubin Mehta, Ivor Bolton, Cornelius Mayer, and Bertrand de Billy have praised his performance.
Born in a non-musician family in the French Basque country, Benjamin was introduced to the viola at the age of 7 after his family noticed his undeniable talent and musical sensitivity. He moved to Paris at the age of 14 and soon entered Paris Conservatory (CNSM). Benjamin has completed his studies with Jean Sulem at CNSM and with Kim Kashkashian at New England Conservatory in the US. He also holds a Musicology degree from Sorbonne University.
At the age of 16, Benjamin participated in his first international competition and won both 1st and special prizes in the Llanes International String Competition. Two years later, he already transcribed Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise” for viola, harp and narrator, which was released as an E-label. In 2015, Benjamin released his first solo CD “Les voix de l’alto”, which features works by Schubert, Hindemith, Brahms, Zimmermann, and Kurtag. He has participated in the production of more than 10 CDs, playing chamber music, or collaborating with his orchestras, among which the complete Sibelius’ symphonies with Sir Simon Rattle and Berlin Philharmonic. In 2019, the French Ministry of Culture funded Benjamin’s work to arrange the Czech composer Janacek’s masterpiece “The Cunning Little Vixen” for viola, piano and narrator into an innovative form, which he defines as a “musical tale.”
To share music with those who have difficulty to access it, Benjamin is engaging in various activities. With the Créations en Cours program, he explored music education with children in a rural area of France. With the ICEP/ Music Sharing association, he joined violinist Midori’s string quartet for two extensive tours to perform for the underprivileged in India and hospitalized children in Japan.