Sir George Benjamin is one of our most important living composers, and his association with the MCO dates back to a concert in Lucerne in 2009. Three years later, the MCO and Benjamin premiered Written on Skin at Aix-en-Provence festival - one of the most successful operas composed this century.
In late August we were pleased to premiere Concerto for Orchestra at the London BBC Proms. Alike Written on Skin, this new work was crafted to suit the MCO’s unique sound and was Benjamin’s first purely orchestral work in almost two decades.
“Late in the day, with the Last Night in view, the Proms managed to squeeze one international ensemble, instead of its usual large handful, into the season. The illustrious Mahler Chamber Orchestra is a flexible group of players from 20 countries, which may have made the task of getting here easier – or not. Either way, the cheers on bank holiday Monday made clear their efforts were appreciated. This was a brilliant Prom, beautifully constructed and one of the best of 2021, with musical friendships at its heart. George Benjamin was the conductor in a programme of his own music as well that of his lifelong friend, the late Oliver Knussen. ” – The Guardian, UK.
Our tour continued to Musikfest Berlin and Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg. Discover more about this collaboration in our Tour Diary’s from Matthew Sadler and Stefan Faludi. And on Between the Bars, MCO’s home-grown podcast in which Yannick Dondelinger sits down in-conversation with Benjamin for an intimate discussion.
Concerto for Orchestra will be re-broadcast on BBC Radio 3 on 21st December 2021. Tune in here.
G. BENJAMIN, Concerto for Orchestra was commissioned by the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, supported by the Ernst von Siemens Music Foundation, and BBC Radio 3. The Mahler Chamber Orchestra's appearance at the 2021 BBC Proms was generously supported by the Karolina Blaberg Stiftung. Appearances at Musikfest Berlin and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie were with the kind support of Klangwert – Aventis Foundation Musical Ensemble Promotion, the Rudolf Augstein Foundation and the Ilse and Dr. Horst Rusch Foundation.
Photo: BBC/Chris Christodoulou