Todmorden composer’s new symphony to be premiered at international music festival

An award-winning Todmorden musician has been invited to premiere his new lockdown-inspired symphony at one of the world’s biggest classical music festivals next month.

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 12:00 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 3:51 pm
Tim Benjamin

Tim Benjamin, a composer, will travel to Romania in September to present his new symphony as part of The George Enescu Festival – a major biennial fixture for the world’s top orchestras.

The symphony, conducted by Rumon Gamba, will be performed in concerts in both Timișoara and Bucharest, as well as being broadcast around the world to thousands from the famous Radio Hall in Romania’s capital city.

The symphony was written during the dark months of the Covid-19 pandemic in early 2020 and draws inspiration from sources including English folk music and stories, European political turmoil, and the lives of the Russian composers Shostakovich and Rachmaninov.

As a composer known for opera and film, there is a strong, visual, narrative element to Tim’s music, which describes the birth and spread of new ideas, and those who would, in futility, seek to destroy them.

The music finds dramatic extremes of both light and darkness and promises to thrill audiences.

Tim Benjamin, who is also a storyteller, writer, and director, said: “Having written the music at the height of the crisis faced by us all, often alone in our homes and despair at the future, and above all deprived of live music, I’m thrilled that it’ll be performed by so many brilliant musicians to a worldwide audience.

"Out of our collective memory of dark, silent days I hope my symphony will bring light, hope, and new ideas to audiences that once again flock to the concert hall.”

A past winner of the BBC’s Young Composer of the Year prize, Tim is best known for his work in opera, having composed twelve operas that have toured in the UK and France.

His award-winning work for film and television is frequently broadcast on channels ranging from the BBC to ESPN, in countries from Australia to Japan. He is a passionate performing musician and plays several instruments including the organ, violin, viola, and trombone.

The George Enescu Festival this year celebrates its 25th edition and features leading international orchestras such as the London Symphony Orchestra, the National Orchestra of France, and the Orchestra del Teatro alla Scala di Milano, alongside celebrated artists including Maxim Vengerov, Joshua Bell, Renaud and Gautier Capuçon, and Joyce DiDonato.

Mihai Constantinescu, Executive Director of the George Enescu Festival and Competition, said: “It’s a true honour to premiere the first symphony of Tim Benjamin, a respected jury member of the Enescu International Competition and now featured in the 25th edition of the George Enescu Festival. Having established itself as one of the greatest platforms for expressing the novelty and beauty of contemporary music, I hope that the Enescu Festival continues to bring the future of classical music to our audience through Tim Benjamin and other leading composers of the modern era.”

Tim’s symphony will be performed on 9 September in Timișoara and 11 September in Bucharest. A livestream and broadcast will be available to UK listeners via https://www.festivalenescu.ro/en/.