Biography

Praised by Philip Mead, founder of the British Contemporary Piano Competition as “a consummate musician with a transcendent pianistic technique in the service of a refined musicality”, Benjamin Powell has gained a reputation for intelligent and expressive performances with a strong commitment to contemporary music. Since winning the British Contemporary Piano Competition in 2010 Benjamin has performed across the UK and Europe, in venues including the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Bridgewater Hall, Wigmore Hall, Snape Maltings, IRCAM, and Harpa (Reykjavik). He has recently been appointed pianist for the Manchester-based Psappha ensemble.

Recent highlights have included solo recitals for Cheltenham Contemporary Concerts, Kettle’s Yard Cambridge, and a performance of Rzewski’s 36 Variations on ‘¡El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!’ in the presence of the composer. He has also taken part in a performance of the complete solo piano music of Helmut Lachenmann at the Aldeburgh Festival and a performance of Marco Stroppa’s Traiettoria in IRCAM, Paris. Benjamin’s recording of selections from Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier was used in the recent National Theatre production of ‘the Hard Problem’, Sir Tom Stoppard’s latest play.

Benjamin is much in demand as a chamber musician and has collaborated with many distinguished musicians including Stefano Canuti, Leland Chen, Levon Chilingirian, Miklós Perényi , Thomas Riebl, Sophie Rosa and Eva Thorarinsdottir.

Benjamin studied at the Royal Northern College of Music with Carole Presland and later (thanks to scholarships from the MBF, DAAD, and Lynn Foundation) with Pierre-Laurent Aimard and Alexander Melnikov at the Hochschule für Musik Cologne and RNCM respectively. Benjamin has also attended the International Musicians Seminar in Prussia Cove studying in the class of Thomas Adès.

Benjamin teaches piano for Yorkshire Young Musicians and subsidiary piano for the RNCM. His students have gone on to win prizes in major competitions, including BBC Young Musician of the Year, James Mottram International Competiton, Manchester International Piano Concerto Competition and the British Contemporary Piano Competition. Since 2007 Benjamin has been a staff pianist at the RNCM.

Benjamin was born and raised in West Sussex and currently lives in Glossop with his wife and three children.