Benjamin Appl and James Baillieu

Baritone and Piano

January 20, 2019, 4 pm

Music Room

Benjamin Appl began his career as a chorister in the famous Regensburger Domspatzen before studying in Munich and London and as the last private pupil of the great Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Appl was one of the BBC Young Generation Artists in 2014/2015 and won the Gramophone Young Artist of the Year Award in 2016. His concert reflects a profound immersion in the worlds of Schubert and Schumann, but also includes songs by Grieg and Nico Muhly’s The Last Letter (setting the text from letters soldiers sent to their loved ones during World War I) which was written for Appl in 2015. Pianist James Baillieu has collaborated with a wide range of instrumentalists and singers at venues including Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and Musee du Louvre in Paris. In the 2015/2016 season Baillieu presented an acclaimed 11-concert series at Wigmore Hall in which he performed with singers such as Ailish Tynan, Mark Padmore, and Iestyn Davies.

Program:

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Erlkönig (Goethe), D. 328
Am Bach im Frühling (Schober), D. 361
Der Wanderer an den Mond (Seidl), D. 870
Nachtstück (Mayrhofer), D. 672
Prometheus (Goethe), D. 674
Der Musensohn (Goethe), D. 764

EDVARD GRIEG (1842-1907)
Six Songs, Op. 48

INTERMISSION

FRANZ SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Strophe aus Die Götter Griechenlands (Schiller) D. 677

NICO MUHLY (b. 1981)
The Last Letter

ROBERT SCHUMANN (1810-56)
Dichterliebe (Heine), Op. 48

Described as “the current front-runner in the new generation of Lieder singers” (Gramophone Magazine), Benjamin Appl, Gramophone Award Young Artist of the Year 2016, is celebrated by audiences and critics in recital, concerts, and opera. He was a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme from 2014-16, and was also a Wigmore Hall Emerging Artist and ECHO Rising Star for the 2015/2016 season, appearing in recital at major European venues including the Barbican Centre London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Konzerthaus, Philharmonie Paris, and Cologne and the Laeiszhalle Hamburg. He became an exclusive SONY Classical recording artist in May 2016.

He trained as a chorister at the renowned Regensburger Domspatzen and continued his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and graduated from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London, where he now teaches. He had the good fortune to be mentored by one of the greatest singers of the 20th century, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.

Operatic appearances include Conte Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro in London, Owen Wingrave (title role) at the Banff Festival, Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas at the Aldeburgh and Brighton Festivals, Schaunard in La Bohème with the Munich Radio Orchestra, Baron Tusenbach in Eötvös’s Tri Sestri for the Deutsche Staatsoper, Seele in Mozart’s Grabmusik with the Classical Opera Company, and a new commission for Bregenz Festival (Das Leben am Rande der Milchstraße by Bernhard Gander). Conductors he has worked with include Marin Alsop, Christian Curnyn, Johannes Debus, Edward Gardner, Reinhard Goebel, Michael Hofstetter, Bernard Labadie, Alessandro de Marchi, Paul McCreesh, Roger Norrington, Christoph Poppen, Jordi Savall, and Ulf Schirmer.

In concert he has appeared with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Gabrieli Players & Consort, Les Violons du Roy, the Bach Collegium Stuttgart, the Dunedin Consort, and on multiple occasions with the major BBC orchestras. He made his BBC Proms debut in September 2015 singing Brahms’s Triumphlied with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Orff’s Carmina Burana with the BBC Concert. His oratorio repertoire includes Bach’s Magnificat, St. John and St. Matthew Passions, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Händel’s The Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation, and Britten’s War Requiem.

An established recitalist, he has performed at Carnegie Hall, Ravinia, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Edinburgh International, and Oxford Lieder festivals, deSingel Antwerp, Heidelberger Frühling, and with Graham Johnson at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He is a regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. He works closely with pianists including Graham Johnson, James Baillieu, Malcolm Martineau, Helmut Deutsch, and Martin Stadtfeld.

The coming season will see Benjamin return to work with the Gabrieli Consort in Leipzig, followed by appearances at the Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, the Oxford Lieder Festival, Leeds Lieder Festival, and Wigmore Hall. Other engagements will include the Christmas Oratorio in Stuttgart, Munich, and Hamburg; the ZDF Advent concert at the Frauenkirche, Dresden with Staatskapelle Dresden under the baton of Christian Thielemann, to be broadcast on national television; recitals at the Concertgebouw, Amsterdam and the Musée de Louvre, Paris; concerts with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie, Festival Strings Lucerne, and the Seattle Symphony and tours of India and Hong Kong.

His discography includes Schumann duets with Ann Murray (DBE), accompanied by Malcolm Martineau; his debut solo disc Stunden, Tage, Ewigkeiten accompanied by James Baillieu, which was released in April 2016 on Champs Hill records; and a live recording of Schubert Lieder with Graham Johnson for the Wigmore Hall Live label. His first solo album of German and English song for Sony Classical, Heimat, was released to great acclaim in March 2017, and won the prestigious Prix Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Best Lieder Singer) at the 2017/2018 Académie du Disque Lyrique Orphées d’Or.

Born in South Africa, James Baillieu studied at the University of Cape Town and the Royal Academy of Music in London with Michael Dussek, Malcolm Martineau, and Kathryn Stott. He was appointed a Hodgson Junior Fellow in 2007, a Professor of Piano Accompaniment in 2011, and awarded an ARAM in 2012.

An accomplished chamber musician, soloist, and accompanist, James collaborates with singers and instrumentalists including Lawrence Power, the Heath Quartet, Mark Padmore, Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Pumeza Matshikiza, Allan Clayton, Jacques Imbrailo, Ailish Tynan, and John Mark Ainsley.  Venues include Wigmore Hall, Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Musikverein, Bridgewater Hall, National Concert Hall Dublin and the Bergen, Spitalfields, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Bath, City of London, St Magnus, Norfolk & Norwich, Brighton, Verbier and Aix-en-Provence Festivals.  As a soloist he has appeared with the Ulster Orchestra, the English Chamber Orchestra, and at the Petworth Festival with the Wiener Kammersymphonie.