Clifford Benson


Born: November 17, 1946 Died: August 10, 2007
At the Royal College of Music in London, British pianist Clifford Benson studied with Lamar Crowson and Cyril Smith. He was awarded the Chopin Sonata Prize, the Geoffrey Tankard Lieder Prize for Accompaniment, and the Tagore Gold Medal while at school. He went on to win first prize winner in the BBC Beethoven and Munich International Duo Competitions, both with the violinist Levon Chilingirian. He has collaborated with many prominent artists, including violinist Shlomo Mintz, flutists Trevor Wye and William Bennett, baritone Stephen Varcoe, and clarinetist Thea King, but also with singers Cleo Laine and Eartha Kitt. He was also the pianist for Jacqueline du Pré's master classes on BBC television. A former member of the Nash Ensemble, he appeared as a soloist and chamber musician at the BBC Promenade Concerts. He performed with conductors Sir Charles Mackerras, George Hurst, Daniel Barenboim, and Neville Marriner. World premieres he performed include Sir Richard Rodney Bennett's Three Romantic Pieces and Malcolm Lipkin's Sonata No. 4. He recorded a great deal of English music for Hyperion and released other recordings on Bravura, Chandos, CRD, CamerataTokyo, Beep, Deutsche Gramophone, and Unicorn. Benson was also a composer and has published several works for the piano. His Au revoir Sylvie, originally written for solo piano, was orchestrated and performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra. He taught piano and chamber music at the Royal Academy of Music, London, but was also an oft-sought adjudicator for competitions and festivals.