Over the last year Benjamin has won 1st Prize at the 2016 Young Concert Artists auditions in New York and 3rd Prize at the Michael Hill Competition in New Zealand, establishing a strong international presence.
Engagements this season include debut recitals at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., Merkin Concert Hall in New York, Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany and 3 Palaces Festival in Malta. He returns to Wigmore Hall and undertakes tours of the US, China, Argentina and Chile.
Highlights during 2016/17 included appearances as soloist with the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, Auckland Philharmonia, English Chamber, Royal Northern Sinfonia, Sinfonia Cymru, Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese L’Aquila in Italy and Maui Pops Orchestras. He premiered a new Concerto Stranded by Matthew Kaner for Europe Day at St. John’s Smith Square and returned as Fellow to the Steans Music Institute in Ravinia.
Benjamin has given recitals at festivals across Europe including the Pärnu, Steirisches Kammermusik, Gstaad, Klosters, Salisbury, Bath, Cheltenham, Buxton, Northern Chords and East Neuk Festivals. He has appeared as soloist with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company and toured throughout New Zealand. In 2015 he released his first CD for Champs Hill Records which immediately went to No.12 in the Classical Charts.
Born in 1990 in New Zealand, Benjamin studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School and the Royal College of Music where he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Rose Bowl. He was selected by Young Classical Artists Trust in 2013 and in the same year won 1st Prize at the Windsor International Competition.
Hugely popular in New Zealand Benjamin returns whenever he is able, to give concerts and appear on radio and television. He moved to the UK in 1998 with his family to study at the Yehudi Menuhin School, on the recommendation of Nigel Kennedy. He is very grateful to be awarded Honorary Membership of the Rotary Club of Port Nicholson for his commitment to children’s charities.
Benjamin plays on a Tononi violin (1709) on generous loan from a private individual. He is grateful for support from the Wallace Foundation.
“Baker's was a finely observed interpretation, with a perfectly proportioned cadenza and a soulful Canzonetta showcasing the burnished tone of his 1709 Tononi instrument. There was also much to admire in his sonorous Kreisler encore.”
“I first came across Ben Baker leading a superlative Mendelssohn Octet at the East Neuk Festival. Our next meeting was at Paavo Järvi’s Pärnu Festival … where Baker gave an incandescent performance.”
“Baker brings to every track here an attractive, sonorous quality of tone and expression, demonstrating an impressive talent.”
“Kobborg's work Les Lutins is a sparkling and humorous dialogue between dancers and musicians, displaying the extraordinary talent of 24 year-old violinist, Benjamin Baker.”
“A fast, mischievous, virtuosic, teasingly competitive interaction takes place between violinist and dancer, each vying with the other ... However, in this case, I think the violinist, the most mischievous imp of all, wins the competition...and the girl!”
“…it was Ben Baker ... who stole the show for me on his violin. He was playing a slightly mournful Mozart Violin Sonata, the only one written in minor key. Ben's introduction to what he was to play was a treat and made the listening to him play all the more intent. ”
“Particularly attractive was Benjamin Barker's tone quality, gliding into phrases with expressive colour, and investing each motif and gesture with sonorous presence, always alert to unexpected shifts of accents.”
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“A fine account of Vaughan Williams’ Concerto Accademico with Ben Baker, a sleek-sounding young soloist; hugely impressive. ”