musician, viola, Benjamin Beck

Benjamin Beck

violist

An award-winning musician, Benjamin Beck performs as a soloist and principal viola in renowned orchestras, and teaches as a professor at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. He is an exceptionally versatile and explorative musician, which he expresses through his innovative arrangements and research projects to explore connections between classical music and various other art forms.

Benjamin has toured across the world and performed solo and chamber music in 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 plays at prestigious festivals including the Bayreuth Festival and Verbier Festival, and has collaborated with the most inspiring artists of the time, such as violinists Christian Tetzlaff and Midori.

Apart from his soloist career, Benjamin is regularly invited as principal viola 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 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 the Basque Country of France, Benjamin started to learn the viola at the age of seven. At the age of fourteen, he went to Paris and was soon admitted to the Paris Conservatory (CNSM). He graduated from the CNSM and the New England Conservatory in Boston, in the class of Kim Kashkashian and Jean Sulem. With a passion for academic studies, Benjamin also holds a Musicology degree from Sorbonne University in Paris.

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. Afterwards, he won numerous prizes in international competitions such as Forbesfest International Competition and the Beethoven Hradec Competition. He is also a grant holder of the Fondation Safran pour la musique, the fondation vocation and the l’Or du Rhin foundation.

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.

As an arranger, Benjamin completed and recorded his first work when he was 18: His transcription of Schubert’s song cycle “Winterreise” for viola, harp and narrator was released by E-label Les Belles Ecouteuses in 2009. Benjamin Beck ’s most recent project is his arrangement of Wagner’s opera “Lohengrin” for string sextet, which premiered in the Richard Wagner Museum Bayreuth on 28 August 2020 – the 170th birthday of the original opera. This work includes “Lohengrin”’s most beautiful and impressive moments in a chamber music format. The concert tour of this project has received tremendous love and praise from the audiences and presses in southern Germany. Another recent work is his arrangement of the Czech composer Janacek’s masterpiece – “The Cunning Little Vixen” into an innovative form for viola, piano, and actor, which was funded by the French Ministry of Culture in the year 2019.

To share music with those who have difficulty accessing 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.

International presses describe his performance as:

“Benjamin Beck, with his impetuous and magical playing … beautiful phrasing and elegant interpretation … provoked tears of his Basque audience and a standing ovation”— Sud-Ouest, France

“…wonderfully touching and expressive interpretation…a flexibility and soloistic virtuosity making a long-lasting impression…”— Volksfreund, Germany

 “…a young musician with a generous and profound sound, powerfully embedding plentiful warmth and roundness…”— 新潟日報モア, Japan