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François-Xavier Roth (born Paris, 1971) is one of today’s most charismatic and enterprising conductors. He has been General Music Director of the City of Cologne since 2015, leading both the Gürzenich Orchestra and the Opera. He is Principal Guest Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra and the first-ever Associate Artist of the Philharmonie de Paris.
With a reputation for inventive programming, his incisive approach and inspiring leadership are valued around the world. He is working with leading orchestras including the Staatskapelle Berlin, Royal Concertgebouw, Boston Symphony, Munich Philharmonic and Zurich Tonhalle. In 2018-19, he makes a return to the Berlin Philharmonic and appears with the San Francisco Symphony, Cleveland, Montreal Symphony and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestras.
In 2003, he founded Les Siècles, an innovative orchestra performing contrasting and colourful programmes on modern and period instruments, often within the same concert. With Les Siècles, he has given concerts throughout Europe and toured to China and Japan. They recreated the original sound of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring in its centenary year and, subsequently, with the Pina Bausch and Dominique Brun dance companies in London, Paris, Frankfurt, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai and Tokyo. Les Siècles was nominated for Gramophone Magazine’s first Orchestra of the Year Award.
After the success of their explorations of Post-Romanticism and Debussy in his centenary year, concerts with the London Symphony Orchestra in November and March feature a typically wide-range of works, from Haydn through Strauss, Bartók and Scriabin and, in the latest of his LSO Futures series, to the current sound world of Philippe Manoury, with the UK premiere of Ring.
In his fourth Cologne opera season, he leads new productions of Strauss’ Salome and Offenbach’s La Grande-Duchesse de Gérolstein, which marks the bicentenary of the composer’s birth in Cologne. With the Gürzenich Orchestra, he will feature Rhenish composer, Schumann, and explore works which disrupt traditional orchestral forms and think them anew. He continues a focus on the composer Philippe Manoury, with the premiere of Lab.Oratorium, the third of the trilogy of works commissioned by the orchestra, which will also be played in Hamburg and Paris. He will take the orchestra on tour to Turin, Zürich and Vienna, performing Mahler’s fifth symphony.
He recorded the complete tone poems of Richard Strauss while Principal Conductor of the SWR Sinfonieorchester Baden-Baden & Freiburg (2011-2016). His recordings of the Stravinsky ballets, The Firebird, Petrushka and The Rite of Spring with Les Siècles have also been widely acclaimed; the latter being awarded a German Record Critics’ Prize. They are currently recording a complete Ravel cycle for Harmonia Mundi. The first release, Daphnis and Chloé, won the Gramophone Awards Orchestral Album of the Year and was a Gramophone magazine Editor’s Choice and CD of the month in Rondo Magazine. The second album, including Ma mère l’Oye, won a Diapason d’Or on its release in March 2018. Mirages, a vocal recital with Sabine Devieilhe for Erato, won a Diapason d’Or and was Victoires de la Musique Classique Recording of the Year, a Gramophone Editor’s Choice and Sunday Times Album of the Week. His first recording with the Gürzenich Orchestra, Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, premiered in Cologne by the orchestra under Mahler in 1904, was released in December 2017 to enthusiastic reviews. Engagement with new audiences is an essential part of François-Xavier Roth’s work. With the Festival Berlioz and Les Siècles, he founded the Jeune Orchestre Européen Hector Berlioz, a unique orchestra-academy with its own collection of period instruments. Roth and Les Siècles devised Presto!, a television series for France 2, attracting weekly audiences of over three million. The Gürzenich Orchestra’s Ohrenauf! youth programme was recipient of a Junge Ohren Produktion Award. A tireless champion of contemporary music, he has been conductor of the ground-breaking LSO Panufnik Composers Scheme since its outset in 2005. Roth has premiered works by Yann Robin, Georg-Friedrich Haas, Hèctor Parra and Simon Steen-Anderson and collaborated with composers like Pierre Boulez, Wolfgang Rihm, Jörg Widmann and Helmut Lachenmann.
For his achievements as musician, conductor, music director and teacher, François-Xavier Roth was last year created a Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur.
François-Xavier Roth, conductor
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British pianist Benjamin Grosvenor is internationally recognized
for his electrifying performances and insightful interpretations.
His virtuosic command over the most strenuous technical
complexities underpins the remarkable depth and understanding of
his musicianship. Benjamin is renowned for his distinctive sound,
described as 'poetic and gently ironic, brilliant yet clear-minded,
intelligent but not without humour, all translated through a
beautifully clear and singing touch' (The Independent) making him
one of the most sought-after young pianists in the world.
Benjamin first came to prominence as the outstanding winner of
the Keyboard Final of the 2004 BBC Young Musician Competition at
the age of eleven. Since then, he has become an internationally
regarded pianist and in 2016 was announced as the inaugural
recipient of The Ronnie and Lawrence Ackman Classical Piano Prize
with the New York Philharmonic. He has performed with orchestras
including the London Philharmonic, RAI Torino, Philharmonia
Orchestra, Leipzig Gewandhausorchester, Tokyo Symphony, and in
venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, Barbican
Centre, Singapore's Victoria Hall, The Frick Collection and
Carnegie Hall. Benjamin has worked with numerous esteemed
conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Jiří Bělohlávek, Semyon
Bychkov, Andrey Boreyko, Sir Mark Elder, Alan Gilbert, Vladimir
Jurowski, Andrew Litton, Andrew Manze, Ludovic Morlot, Kent Nagano,
Alexander Shelley, Thomas Søndergård, Jac van Steen, John
Storgards, Gabor Takacs-Nagy, Michael Tilson Thomas and
At just nineteen, Benjamin performed with the BBC Symphony
Orchestra at the First Night of the 2011 BBC Proms. Following
re-invitations in 2012 for a performance with the Royal
Philharmonic Orchestra and Charles Dutoit and in 2014 for a recital
and Chopin's Piano Concerto No. 1 with the BBC Philharmonic and
Gianandrea Noseda Benjamin appeared in 2015 at the Last Night of
the Proms performing Shostakovich's Piano Concerto No. 2 with the
BBC Symphony Orchestra and Marin Alsop.
Recent and future highlights include engagements with the
Cleveland and Hallé Orchestras, Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra,
Atlanta, San Francisco, Singapore, Melbourne, Washington National
and KBS Symphony Orchestras. Major recital dates include Vienna
Konzerthaus, Zankel Hall at Carnegie Hall, Cologne Philharmonie,
Konzerthaus Berlin, the Lucerne Festival, La Roque d'Antheron,
International Piano Series at the Southbank Centre as well as his
first tour of South America. The forthcoming season sees Benjamin
embark on new collaborations with the Filarmonica della Scala and
Riccardo Chailly, with whom he will perform Liszt's Piano Concerto
No. 1, the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich and François-Xavier Roth, the
Orchestra of St Luke's and Sir Roger Norrington, and with the
London Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Brahms' Piano
Concerto No. 1 under the baton of Alpesh Chauhan.
Benjamin enjoys incorporating chamber music collaborations into
his schedule, including performances with the Escher, Elias and
Endellion String Quartets, chamber ensembles of the Orchestre
Symphonique de Montreal and the Naples Philharmonic, and at venues
such as Paris' Musée du Louvre and London's Queen Elizabeth Hall.
Since the 2015-16 season Benjamin has been invited to participate
in the prestigious "Junge Wilde" series by Konzerthaus Dortmund,
where over the course of three years he will perform on a number of
In 2011 Benjamin signed to Decca Classics, and in doing so has
become the youngest British musician ever to sign to the label, and
the first British pianist to sign to the label in almost 60 years.
Benjamin's 2014 release Dances, a recital album that presents a
historically and stylistically varied offering of works influenced
by dance, has been described as 'breathtaking' (The
Guardian), offering "performance after performance of
surpassing brilliance and character" (Gramophone Magazine) and won
the BBC Music Magazine Instrumental Award 2015. Autumn 2016 sees
the release of Benjamin's third recital disc for Decca,
During his sensational career to date, Benjamin has received
Gramophone's 'Young Artist of the Year and 'Instrumental Award', a
Classic Brits 'Critics' Award', UK 'Critics' Circle Award' for
Exceptional Young Talent and a Diapason d'Or 'Jeune Talent' Award.
He has been featured in two BBC television documentaries, BBC
Breakfast and The Andrew Marr Show, as well as in CNN's Human to
Hero series. The youngest of five brothers, Benjamin began playing
the piano aged 6. He studied at the Royal Academy of Music with
Christopher Elton and Daniel-Ben Pienaar, where he graduated in
2012 with the 'Queen's Commendation for Excellence' and in 2016 was
made a Fellow. Benjamin has been supported since 2013 by EFG
International, the widely respected global private banking
Benjamin Grosvenor, piano