Benjamin Grosvenor - Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex - UK
Benjamin Grosvenor was a finalist in the BBC Young Musician of the Year aged just 11, which he followed this year (2011) by becoming the youngest-ever soloist in the history of the BBC Proms when he plays Liszt's Second Piano Concerto on the opening night. Furthermore, he just signed a deal with Decca as their youngest-ever artist.
"My mother tried to start me when I was five, but I couldn't be bothered. I only began practising seriously when my friends at school started to play, and I thought, 'they're not going to get better than me!'"
Benji's inspirations don't come from today's pianists. "I've become disillusioned with how people play these days. If you compare the way people perform Mozart now with, say, Lili Kraus's recordings, or Schnabel's Beethoven with today's players – today, things are so much blander and more boring.
Maybe neither the Alfred Brendel nor the flashy Lang Lang brand of pianism would interest him as much as the older generation. He admits to being fascinated by Chinese sensation Yuja Wang's repeated octave-runs, but really, "it's with the old dead guys" of the bygone age. Their fearlessness is what he aspires to, even if it means doing things the composer didn't write. "If you presented any composer with their music in a completely different way from what they wrote, but it was incredibly effective, they would be flattered. And with most of the composers I play, there's even less of an obligation, because they're dead. They're not ever going to hear it."
Below: Benji aged 11 competing for the BBC Young Musician of the Year Contest 2004.
Carl Vine - 5 Bagatelles
Scarlatti - 2 Sonatas
Below: BBC Proms 2011 - Liszt Concerto No 2 in A Major - Pt 1.
Liszt Concerto No 2 in A Major - Pt 2.
Gershwin/Grainger - Love Walked In
Brahms - Hungarian Dance No. 5
Imagine Being A Concert Pianist - BBC Doc
Interview with BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artist. The BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists scheme is now in its 11th year. As part of the BBC's commitment to developing and nuturing young talent this highly successful scheme has helped to launch some of today's most brilliant young classical and jazz musicians. The scheme offers them the chance to make recordings for radio and CD, work with the BBC's Performing Groups and perform live at events including the BBC Proms. For full details of current and former artists visit http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio3/newgenerationartists/
Ravel Piano Concerto in G
Morton Gould Boogie Woogie Etude - 9.X.11
Benji plays Liszt - open air in Hyde Park
Moszkowski's Caprice Espagnol