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 News Classical 19/12/2018

Baritone Benjamin Appl Embarks On First US Recital Tour

Baritone Benjamin Appl Embarks On First US Recital Tour

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New York, NY (Top40 Charts) German baritone Benjamin Appl, hailed as "the current front-runner in the new generation of Lieder singers," by Gramophone magazine, will embark on his first U.S. recital tour with pianist James Baillieu from January 6-20, 2019, performing in New York, NY (January 6, 8, 10; Park Avenue Armory); Portland, OR (January 13, Portland Friends of Chamber Music); New Orleans, LA (January 15, 16; New Orleans Friends of Music); Cleveland, OH (January 18, Art Song Festival at CIM; and Washington, DC (January 20, The Phillips Collection). Benjamin Appl was mentored by one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and records exclusively for Sony Classical. His U.S. tour follows his second Sony album featuring the music of J.S. Bach, which was released in September 2018.

Appl is dedicated to drawing connections for contemporary audiences to the lieder tradition, often sharing with audiences personal sources of inspiration during his performances. "In a manner that is unusual for classical music," reports The Financial Times, "Appl has woven the backstory into his concerts - introducing Richard Strauss' 'Allerseelen,' for instance, as an homage to the two grandparents he lost a few years ago, or prefacing the English songs with a recollection of the disorientation and exhilaration he felt after first moving to London."

For his U.S. debut recital tour, Appl will be performing a wide range of repertoire including Schubert's Die schöne Mülllerin, Schwanengesang and Winterreise in New York; selections from his first Sony album Heimat: Songs of Homeland and Belonging by Dvorak, Schubert, Wolf, Brahms, Schubert, Schreker, Strauss, Poulenc, Britten, Vaughan-Williams, Warlock and more in Portland and New Orleans; and selections from Schubert's Schwanengesang, Grieg's Six German Songs, Schumann's Dichterliebe and more in Cleveland and Washington, DC, on concerts that also include Nico Muhly's The Last Letter, written for Appl in 2015.

Appl's 2017 album Heimat, was released to excellent reviews and received the Orphée d'Or Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau for Best Lieder Interpretations. His new Bach album from 2018, with early music ensemble Concerto Köln, features selections from Bach's highly varied cantata output. The recording retraces the liturgical church year with well-known and lesser known music from the early and late Bach cantatas, and arias from the St. Matthew Passion and Bach's secular cantatas. The album thus explores the development of the genre from the traditional choral cantata all the way to the "modern" cantata form developed by Erdmann Neumeister with its recitatives and arias modeled on Italian opera. (Review copies available upon request.)

"Appl is not only a singer of boundless promise, he is already a great artist. This disc shows how versatile he is, with not only great Lieder but interesting rarities too. Appl was Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau's last pupil, but his singing is firmly based in legato, and the expression comes through the music, whereas Fischer-Dieskau often seemed to apply it from outside. Appl sounds as if singing is his most natural mode of expression; and since he has an extraordinarily beautiful voice, there should be decades of happiness as he continues to expand his repertoire." - BBC Music Magazine on Heimat
"Benjamin Appl's voice sounds like he belongs to the last of the old great masters of song: comfortable in the lower register, yet capable of the most delicate heights; virile, but never macho, sensitive, but never affectedly whispering. Appl seems to have an almost infinite range of colours, with which he can imbue every single word according to the context." - Süddeutsche Zeitung

More about Benjamin Appl:
Benjamin Appl 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 German Lieder. He had the good fortune to be mentored by one of the greatest singers of the twentieth 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, Thomas Dausgaard, Johannes Debus, Edward Gardner, Reinhard Goebel, Michael Hofstetter, Bernard Labadie, Alessandro de Marchi, Paul McCreesh, Sir Roger Norrington, Jordi Savall, Ulf Schirmer, and Christian Thielemann.

In concert he has appeared with the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Staatskapelle Dresden, Gabrieli Players & Consort, Les Violons du Roy, the Bach Collegium Stuttgart, the Dunedin Consort, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Concerto Köln, the Symphony Orchestra of India, the Seattle Symphony, Vienna Symphony, and on multiple occasions with the major BBC orchestras. He made his BBC Proms debut in September 2015 singing Brahms' Triumphlied with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, and Orff's Carmina Burana with the BBC Concert Orchestra. 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 the Ravinia, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Edinburgh International, Life Victoria Barcelona, Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder festivals, deSingel Antwerp, Heidelberger Frühling, and with Graham Johnson at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He has performed at major concert venues including Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie, Hamburg and the Musée de Louvre, Paris, in addition to which he is a regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. He works closely with pianists Graham Johnson and James Baillieu. he 2017-18 season also saw him tour to India and Hong Kong, and perform in the ZDF Advent concert at the Frauenkirche, Dresden with Staatskapelle Dresden under the baton of Christian Thielemann, broadcast on national television.

During the 2018-19 season, in addition to making his professional recital debut in the U.S. with this tour, he also continues his exciting partnership with Hamburg Ballet, singing for new productions by John Neumeier throughout the season. This season, Appl appears in concert with the NHK Symphony Orchestra under Paavo Järvi (Japan debut), the Philharmonia Orchestra, Concerto Köln, the Nordwestdeutsche Philharmonie, and the Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich, alongside recital appearances at Wigmore Hall, the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival, Oxford Lieder Festival, Schubertiade Hohenems, the Rheingau Music Festival, and the Girona Summer Festival. In commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, he gives multiple performances of Britten's War Requiem, with orchestras including the Liverpool Philharmonic, NDR Philharmonie, and the Philharmonisches Orchester Vorpommern. He sings the role of Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas with the London Philharmonic Orchestra, under the baton of Sir Roger Norrington, and gives a performance of Mahler and Bernstein at the Osaka Castle Hall in Japan, broadcast by MBS TV.

Benjamin Appl's 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 2017, and won the prestigious Prix Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Best Lieder Singer) at the 2017-18 Académie du Disque Lyrique Orphées d'Or. His latest album of the music of Bach with Concerto Köln was released in 2018, on Sony Classical.

U.S. Tour Schedule:
Park Avenue Armory | New York, NY
Sunday, January 6 at 3pm - Schubert: Die schöne Mülllerin | Tuesday, January 8 at 7:30pm - Schubert: Schwanengesang
Thursday, January 10 at 7:30pm - Schubert: Winterreise

Portland Friends of Chamber Music | Portland, OR
Sunday, January 13 at 3pm - Heimat: Songs of Homeland and Belonging

New Orleans Friends of Music | New Orleans, LA
Tuesday, January 15 at 6:30pm - Schubert, Muhly, Schumann
Wednesday January 16 at 7:30pm - Heimat: Songs of Homeland and Belonging

Art Song Festival at The Cleveland Institute of Music | Cleveland, OH
Friday, January 18 at 8pm - Schubert, Schumann, Duparc, Muhly, Grieg

The Phillips Collection | Washington, DC
Sunday, January 20 at 4pm - Schubert, Grieg, Muhly, Schumann

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