In 2016 Benjamin won 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in New York. At the opening of the 2016/17 season he made his debut with the Royal Philharmonic and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto.
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. In 2016 he won 1st Prize at the Young Concert Artists auditions in New York.
At the opening of the 2016/17 season Benjamin made his debut with the Royal Philharmonic and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestras performing the Tchaikovsky Concerto.
Over the last year he has appeared as soloist with Philharmonia Orchestra at Salisbury Festival, Royal Northern Sinfonia at Sage Gateshead, the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese L’Aquila in Italy, Sinfonia Cymru, English Chamber Orchestra and Maui Pops Orchestra in Hawaii. In summer 2016 he joined Ravinia’s Steans Music Institute in Chicago as a Fellow. Future engagements include concerts at Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern in Germany, debut recitals in New York and Washington D.C. and recitals in Argentina and Chile.
Benjamin has given recitals and taken part in festivals across Europe including Wigmore Hall, Saffron Hall, Pedrera Hall, the Pärnu, Steirisches Kammermusikfestival, Cheltenham, Buxton, North Norfolk, Northern Chords and East Neuk Festivals. He has toured throughout New Zealand and appeared as soloist with the Royal New Zealand Ballet Company. His first CD for Champs Hill Records was released in 2015 and immediately went to No. 12 in the Classical Charts and was featured on Classic FM. He was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2013.
Previous solo appearances include the Haydn Chamber Orchestra, Cardiff Philharmonic, London Mozart Players, Orchestra Wellington, Joven Orquesta Sinfónica de Salamanca, Orpheus Sinfonia and Bath Philharmonia at major venues including the Royal Albert Hall, the Bath and Gstaad Festivals. A committed chamber musician, Benjamin has toured Sweden, Denmark, France, Singapore and New Zealand as a member of the Trio Boyarsky.
At the YCA Final Auditions in 2016 Benjamin was awarded the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival Prize, the Embassy Series Prize, the Hayden’s Ferry Chamber Music Series Prize and the Alexander Kasza-Kasser Concert Prize.
During his studies Benjamin won numerous prizes and awards including 1st Prize at the 2013 Windsor International Competition, the Development Prize from the Michael Hill Violin Competition, 1st Prize in the string section of the 2012 Royal Over-Seas League Competition and 2nd Prize at the 2011 Postacchini International Violin Competition in Italy. In 2005 his CD Arcadian Strings won the Classic FM Next Big Thing 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.
“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. ”