Benjamin Beck, an award-winning musician, is renowned for his versatility, delving into diverse art forms through transcription work and research. He assumed the role of Principal Violist with the Vienna State Opera/ Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra in 2023. He also serves as a professor at the Conservatoire Royal de Bruxelles. Beck’s innovative compositions include adaptations of symphonies and operas into chamber music for viola and theatre, featuring works such as Janáček’s “The Cunning Little Fox,” Wagner’s “Lohengrin,” and Schubert’s “Winterreise.”
Benjamin has toured and performed solo and chamber music in prestigious venues worldwide, including the Berlin Philharmonie, Paris Philharmonie, Munich National Theatre, and Tokyo Yamaha Hall. He has also played at renowned festivals such as the Bayreuth Festival and Verbier Festival and collaborated with acclaimed artists such as Christian Tetzlaff and Midori. He is regularly invited to perform as principal viola of major European orchestras such as the Leipzig Gewandhaus, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, NDR Elbphilharmonie, and Staatsoper Stuttgart, thanks to his prior experience as principal viola at Bavarian State Orchestra and Barcelona Symphony Orchestra and his two years of playing at Berlin Philharmonic as a scholarship holder of the Karajan Academy.
Born in the Basque Country of France, Benjamin began learning the viola at the age of seven. At 14, he moved to Paris to pursue his studies and was soon admitted to the Paris Conservatory (CNSM). He subsequently graduated from the CNSM and the New England Conservatory in Boston, studying with Jean Sulem and Kim Kashkashian. Benjamin also holds a Musicology degree from Sorbonne University in Paris, reflecting his passion for academic studies.
Since he participated in his first international competition at 16, where he won both the 1st and special prizes in the Llanes International String Competition, Benjamin has won numerous awards in international competitions such as Forbesfest International Competition and the Beethoven Hradec Competition. He is a grant holder of the Fondation Safran pour la musique, the fondation vocation, and the l’Or du Rhin foundation.
Benjamin released his first solo album, “Les voix de l’alto,” in 2015 and has since participated in the production of more than 10 CDs, including the complete Sibelius’ symphonies with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic. In April 2023, he released his second album, “Love beyond Death,” by German label GENUIN classics, featuring works such as Schumann’s Fantasiestücke, Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet, and Britten’s Lachrymae.
As an arranger, Benjamin Beck has completed and recorded his first work when he was 18: his transcription of Schubert’s song cycle Winterreise for viola, harp, and the narrator was released by E-label Les Belles Ecouteuses in 2009. In 2019, he received funding from the French Ministry of Culture to arrange Janacek’s The Cunning Little Vixen into an innovative form for viola, piano, and an actor. Benjamin’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 and was published by the German publisher Hofmeister Musikverlag in 2023.
In addition to his musical endeavors, Benjamin engages in various activities to share music with those who have difficulty accessing it. 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 follows:
“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