Benjamin Wallfisch studied conducting in London with Sir Charles Mackerras and Vernon Handley and in Germany with Bruno Weil. He was awarded First Prize in the 2001 British Reserve Insurance Conducting Competition with a unanimous vote from both jury and orchestra. At the age of 22, he was appointed Associate Conductor of the English Chamber Orchestra and between 2003 and 2005 was Assistant Conductor of the Netherlands Radio Philharmonic. During this time he assisted Vladimir Ashkenazy, Valery Gergiev, Edo de Waart and Leonard Slatkin and frequently conducted the NRPO in venues including the Concertgebouw, De Doelen Rotterdam and the Muziekcentrum Vredenburg, Utrecht and in numerous studio recordings.
Guest conducting engagements have included the London Symphony Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, Ulster Orchestra and City of London Sinfonia, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in a series of critically acclaimed live broadcast gala performances at the Sydney Opera House, and the Los Angeles Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. Other guest conducting highlights have included the Bavarian Radio Philharmonic, Weimar Staatskapelle, Hamburg Symphony, (three times including their annual New Year performances of Beethoven 9,) Zagreb Philharmonic, Netherlands Symphony, SWR Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra, and the orchestra of the Beethoven Academy Krakow as part of Poland's prestigious Beethoven Easter Festival, and the BBC National Orchestra of Wales. In 2012, he made his debut with the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra where he premiered his violin concerto.
Mr. Wallfisch began composing at the age of 10 and since 1996 has received over 50 commissions for the concert hall, cinema, ballet and theatre. He made his BBC Proms debut in 2006 conducting the world première of Escape Velocity; the fourth work composed under his ongoing tenure as Associate Composer of the Orchestra of St. John's. His debut CD was released by Quartz in November 2006 to great critical acclaim and he signed an exclusive publishing agreement with Edition Peters in August 2006.
Benjamin's work in film music to date spans 10 years, 45 movies and has earned him multiple international awards and nominations, including an Ivor Novello Award Nomination for Best Original Film Score, 2009 (for Rupert Wyatt's The Escapist), a nomination in the 2009 Emmy Awards and nominations as "Discovery of the Year" in the 2005, 2008, and 2013 World Soundtrack Awards. His recent score for Summer in February was released on Deutsche Grammophone to international critical acclaim and was recently awarded "Best Score – Special Feature") in the 2013 Hollywood Music In Media Awards. It features pianist Yuja Wang as soloist. He composed additional music for Ridley Scott's Robin Hood and went on to arrange the music for the acclaimed feature documentary Life in a Day, produced by Ridley Scott. He is known for orchestrating and conducting Dario Marianelli's Oscar® and Golden Globe® winning score for Atonement and the Oscar® and Golden Globe® nominated score for Anna Karenina. He has also worked as sole orchestrator on numerous other studio pictures such as Pride and Prejudice (Oscar® nominated, Best Original Score 2006), V for Vendetta, The Soloist, Eat Pray Love and Jane Eyre. Benjamin was invited by Academy Award winning composer Hans Zimmer to contribute additional music to his score for Steve McQueen's Oscar® winning feature 12 Years a Slave. Most recently, Stephen Spielberg commissioned Benjamin to compose the music for short documentary, Auschwitz.
Acclaimed by The Strad as "one of the finest accompanists anywhere on the podium," Mr. Wallfisch has performed concerti with some of the world's finest soloists including Evelyn Glennie, Branford Marsalis, Igor Oistrakh, Jean-Yves Thibaudet and John Williams. In addition to a number of his own orchestral works, he has recorded Shostakovich’s First Violin Concerto with Ruth Palmer and the Philharmonia, a disc of bassoon concerti with Karen Geoghegan and the Orchestra of Opera North for Chandos, and concerto recordings with the London Symphony Orchestra and the English Chamber Orchestra.
The London Philharmonic Orchestra commissioned Benjamin to compose and conduct three new orchestral works, which were premiered at the Royal Festival Hall in June, 2013. The new pieces for symphony orchestra and narrator are based on Roald Dahl’s incomparable series of poems, Dirty Beasts.
Born in London in 1979, Mr. Wallfisch was awarded the Master of Music degree with Distinction in composition from the Royal Academy of Music, and is the first composer in the Academy’s history to be awarded its highest graduate accolade, the Honorary Diploma of the Academy. He graduated from the Joint Course of the Royal Northern College of Music and the University of Manchester with First Class Honours.