20-Year-Old British Pianist Benjamin Grosvenor Makes Vermont Debut at Middlebury
October 14, 2013
October 29 Recital Features Romantic Era Program
Middlebury, VT— Twenty-year-old pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is already internationally recognized for his electrifying performances and profound interpretations. On Tuesday, October 29, Grosvenor will make his Vermont debut on the Middlebury College Performing Arts Series, performing a program of romantic-era works by Mendelssohn, Schubert, Schumann, Medtner, Ravel, and Gounod/Liszt at the Mahaney Center for the Arts.
Despite his young age, Grosvenor is already renowned as a mature and distinctive force among international piano circles. He has been described as a “Golden Age” pianist (American Record Guide) and “almost from another age” (The Times). The Independent called his performance “poetic and gently ironic, brilliant yet clear-minded, intelligent but not without humour, all translated through a beautifully clear and singing touch.”
The youngest of five brothers, Grosvenor began playing the piano at age six. His training included studying with piano legends Christopher Elton, Leif Ove Andsnes, Stephen Hough, and Arnaldo Cohen, among others. Grosvenor burst onto the international chamber music scene when he won the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition when he was just eleven. Since then, he has become an internationally regarded pianist performing with orchestras including the London Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, and Tokyo Symphony, and in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican Centre, and Singapore’s Victoria Hall. He made his Carnegie Hall debut at the age of thirteen.
At nineteen, Grosvenor performed with the BBC Symphony Orchestra on the first night of the 2011 BBC Proms to a sold-out Royal Albert Hall. He returned to the Proms in 2012, performing with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and conductor Charles Dutoit. Grosvenor’s performance dazzled critics; The Financial Times commented, “His Saint-Saëns [Concerto No.2] alternated between a distant dream world and outbreaks of sparkling effervescence and his encore—Saint-Saëns ‘The Swan’—glided poetically across the keys.”
In his sensational career to date, Grosvenor has earned many prestigious awards. Upon his 2012 graduation from the Royal Academy of Music in 2012, he was awarded the Queen’s Commendation for Excellence. He was named Gramophone Magazine’s 2012 Young Artist of the Year and won the Instrumental Award, the Classic Brits Critics Award, and the UK Critics’ Circle Award for Exceptional Young Talent. He has been featured in two BBC television documentaries, BBC Breakfast, The Andrew Marr Show, and CNN’s Human to Hero series.
Grosvenor’s career now takes him all over the world. Recent and future highlights include engagements with the New York Philharmonic, the Minnesota Orchestra, and recital debuts at the Sydney Opera House, Concertgebouw, National Concert Hall Dublin and the South Bank Centre, London. Benjamin recently gave a highly successful North American tour, including appearances in Vancouver, Washington, and New York, where he was labeled a “formidable technician and a thoughtful, coolly assured interpreter” by the New York Times. He continues to incorporate chamber music collaborations into his schedule, including performances with the Elias String Quartet, Escher String Quartet, and Endellion String Quartet. Grosvenor has enjoyed working with other members of the BBC New Generation Artists scheme, of which he was a member during 2010–2012. In 2011, Grosvenor signed to Decca Classics, and in doing so, became the youngest British musician ever to sign to the label, and the first British pianist to sign to the label in almost 60 years.
The Middlebury College Performing Arts Series concert by Benjamin Grosvenor will take place on Tuesday, October 29, 2013, at 7:30 P.M., in the Concert Hall of the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts. The Mahaney Center is located on the Middlebury College campus, at 72 Porter Field Road in Middlebury, just off Route 30 south. Free parking is available. Tickets are $20 for the general public; $15 for Middlebury College faculty, staff, alumni, emeriti, and other ID card holders; and $6 for Middlebury College students. Professor Greg Vitercik, chair of the Music Department, will give a free pre-concert lecture at 6:45 P.M. in Room 125 of the Mahaney Center. For more information, call (802) 443-MIDD (6433) or go to http://go.middlebury.edu/arts.
photo credits, from top: Opera Omnia, York Tillyer, Sussie Ahlburg