Benjamin Grosvenor | Biography


Benjamin Grosvenor, c Decca/Suessie Ahlburg
British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor first achieved prominence in 2004 as the 11-year-old, youngest-ever winner of the Keyboard section of the BBC’s Young Musician of the Year Com­petition. He has since taken his place as one of today’s most exceptional musicians, receiving such accolades as “a master pianist” (Gramophone), “one in a million . . . several million” (The Independent), and “a keyboard visionary” (Süddeutsche Zeitung).
The youngest of five brothers, Benjamin was born in 1992 and began lessons with his mother, a piano teacher, at the age of 6. He has studied at the Royal Academy of Music with Christopher Elton and Daniel-Ben Pienaar, where he graduated in 2012 with the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence.
Benjamin Grosvenor’s 2009 sold-out Royal Festival Hall debut with the Philharmonia Orchestra was hailed as “a performance that took its expressive and dramatic cues from the very heart of the music” (The Daily Telegraph). It followed concerto debuts at the age of 13 at New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Albert Hall and underscored a career that has subsequently seen concerto appearances around the world. In 2011, he opened the BBC Proms with a performance of Liszt’s Piano Concerto no. 2 – the youngest-ever soloist to perform on the “First Night”.
A regular guest at London’s Wigmore Hall, Grosvenor is also in demand as a recitalist in Europe, North America and the Far East. He is also committed to chamber music, including performances with the Elias String Quartet, Escher String Quartet and Endellion String Quartet. He was a member of the prestigious BBC New Generation Artists scheme during 2010–2012 and has been featured in two BBC television documentaries. His performances have been broadcast widely in the UK, Europe and North America.
Grosvenor’s 2012 schedule featured a highly successful North American recital tour, appearances with the New York Philharmonic under Andrey Boreyko, the Minnesota Orchestra under Andrew Litton and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra under Charles Dutoit at the BBC Proms, as well as recital debuts in Sydney and Berlin and at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw and London’s South Bank Centre. 2013 included the Britten Piano Concerto in Great Britain, Germany, Poland and with the Detroit Symphony, the Schumann Piano Concerto in Canada, Denmark and on tour in the UK as well as numerous recitals in North America and throughout Europe.
Coinciding with the “Dances” release, Grosvenor has two BBC Proms appearances this summer, performing Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1 and Cesar Franck’s Symphonic Variations with the BBC Philharmonic at the Royal Albert Hall on 8 August and his debut Proms recital on the 1 September at Cadogan Hall, which will include the premiere of Judith Weir’s composition Day Break Shadows Flee.
The 2014–2015 season will be taking Grosvenor on multiple extensive recital tours of North America, Europe, the UK, Australia and the Far East, including appearances at New York’s Carnegie Hall, London’s Barbican Centre and the Vienna Konzerthaus. Scheduled among his numerous concerto engagements during this period are performances with The Cleveland and Hallé orchestras, San Francisco, Houston, Melbourne, and Singapore Symphony orchestras, NDR Radiophilharmonie Hannover, Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, London Philharmonic and the Orchestre Symphonique de Montréal.
In 2011, Benjamin Grosvenor became the youngest British musician ever signed by Decca and the first British pianist to join the label in almost 60 years. His first Decca recording, including the four Chopin Scherzi and Ravel’s Gaspard de la nuit, has had critics marvelling: “Grosvenor, you can tell, is a Romantic pianist, almost from another age. He doesn’t deconstruct, or stand at a distance. He jumps inside the music’s soul” (The Times) and “Grosvenor’s balance of oratory and ornament, gesture and poetry . . . are moving as well as impressive” (The Observer). In September 2012, in a unique double honour, not only did his Decca debut CD win the coveted Gramophone Award for “Best Instrumental Recording” of 2012 but the pianist himself was also named “Young Artist of the Year”, thus becoming Gramophone’s youngest-ever double award-winner. And just a few days later, Grosvenor went on to win the prestigious “Critics’ Choice” Award at the annual Classic Brits ceremony and the Diapason d’or Award as “Best Revelation of the Year”. His recording of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue and concertos by Saint-Saëns and Ravel was released internationally in January 2013. August 2014 will bring the appearance of his latest Decca album, “Dances” by composers including Bach, Chopin, Scriabin and Granados.