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May 2-20: Baritone Benjamin Appl Embarks on North American Concert Tour

Baritone Benjamin Appl Embarks on North American Concert Tour in May 2023 Culminating with Carnegie Hall Debut on May 20

Photo by David Ruano, available in high resolution.

"the way he navigated the song’s transformation, from disappointment to obsession, was so gripping and troublingly real, I heard people all around me exhale afterward, as if Mr. Appl had rendered them breathless." – The New York Times

“In dynastic terms the young German baritone Benjamin Appl is Lieder royalty.” – The Spectator

“the current front-runner in the new generation of Lieder singers” - Gramophone

Tour Details:

May 2: Linfield Lively Arts (McMinnville, OR)

May 4: Friends of Chamber Music Portland (Portland, OR)

May 7: Vancouver Recital Society (Vancouver, BC)

May 10: San Francisco Performances (San Francisco, CA)

May 14: Cranbrook Music Guild (Bloomfield Hills, MI)

May 20: Carnegie Hall Debut (New York, NY)

Benjamin Appl Online:

New York, NY – Baritone Benjamin Appl, hailed by The Financial Times as, “the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists,” embarks on a North American tour from May 2-20, 2023 and will perform with pianist James Baillieu in Portland, OR (May 2, Linfield Lively Arts; May 4, Friends of Chamber Music Portland); Vancouver, BC (May 7, Vancouver Recital Society); San Francisco, CA (May 10, San Francisco Performances); and Bloomfield Hills, MI (May 14, Cranbrook Music Guild); concluding his tour with his Carnegie Hall Weill Recital Hall debut in New York on May 20.

Mentored by one of the greatest singers of the twentieth century, Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, Appl is celebrated by audiences and critics alike for a voice that “belongs to the last of the old great masters of song” with “an almost infinite range of colours” (Suddeutsche Zeitung), “exacting attention to text” (The New York Times), and artistry that’s described as “unbearably moving” (The Times).

Named Gramophone Award Young Artist of the Year in 2016, Appl was a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme from 2014-16, as well as a Wigmore Hall Emerging Artist and ECHO Rising Star for the 2015-16 season, appearing at major venues throughout Europe, including the Barbican Centre London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Konzerthaus, Philharmonie Paris and Cologne and the Laeiszhalle Hamburg. He was signed exclusively to SONY Classical between 2016 and 2021, and has recently partnered with Alpha Classics for a long-term collaboration on multiple albums. His first album for Alpha Classics, released last year, features Schubert’s Winterreise. Other recent recordings include the orchestral songs of Hans Sommer with the Rundfunk-Sinfonieorchester Berlin and of Hugo Wolf with the Jenaer Philharmonie, also released in 2022.

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.”

In recent years, Appl has also worked beyond the concert stage, presenting a series of programs for BBC Radio 3 entitled “A Singer’s World,” and starring in the film Breaking Music, which celebrates both the Argentinian Tango and German Lied traditions by breaking down the traditional boundaries between musical genres. During the 2021-22 season, Appl took part in an exciting new realization of Schubert’s Winterreise, which was filmed in the Swiss Alps in November 2021. Commissioned by the BBC and Swiss television station SRF, and directed by John Bridcut, the film was first broadcast on BBC4 in early 2022, coinciding with the release of Appl’s recording of Winterreise on Alpha Classics. This season, Appl is Artist in Residence at London’s St. Martin in the Fields giving multiple recitals throughout the year, including a collaboration with Holocaust survivor Éva Fahidi in a recital and talk exploring the loss of family, identity, memory, and rediscovered hope.

For his North American tour, Appl will present Nocturne, a program exploring a nighttime journey with selections arranged according to facets of the night – romance, the moon, stars, nightmares, fancies, insomnia, dreams, the darkest hour, and finally morning. As part of the program’s darkest hour section, Appl will perform two pieces by Ilse Weber, a Czech composer and poet who was imprisoned with her family in Theresienstadt and later killed with her young son in Auschwitz. Nocturne also includes music by Schubert, Schumann, Tchaikovsky, Brahms, Grieg, Wolf, William Bolcom, James MacMillan, and many more.

Of the program, Benjamin Appl writes:

Assisted by music and poetry, we walk through the night, beginning with the evening hours, where we indulge in romance and longing, and where the stars and the moon become our companions. Shrouded in myths and legends, they then become our partner to reflect our innermost feelings and passions in songs by Schubert, Vaughan Willliams and Somervell. Unnerving events and vivid nightmares form the backbone of Schumann’s cruel ballad of King Belshazzar, Schubert’s frightening masterpiece Erlkönig as well as in the bizarre Ballad of Black Max by William Bolcom. Phantasies and dreams put to music by Quilter, Gurney Wolf and Grieg, enrich our imagination.

As someone who was born and raised in Germany, it is utterly important for me to come and perform songs written in the concentration camp of Theresienstadt, here in the United States of America. During the time of Nazi Germany, this camp was known for imprisoning, torturing, and killing so many people, in particular, many creative people. In this, our darkest hour of human history, people retreated into themselves to write music as an escape from the real, inhuman, evil world around them. One of the prisoners there was Ilse Weber, a children’s nurse, who shared her own compositions with the children in Theresienstadt, and where she accompanied the young on her guitar whilst singing together. After her deportation to the death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau she made the decision to go with the children into the gas chambers. Witnesses afterwards told that they could hear her and the children singing her lullaby Wiegala, when the doors were shut behind them.

Strauss’ Morgen gives us hope for a better, more peaceful future, where we all encounter each other with more respect and understanding. A night gives everyone of us a chance of a new morning: a new and better beginning.

More about Benjamin Appl:

Benjamin Appl started in music as a young chorister at the renowned Regensburger Domspatzen, later continuing his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and eventually at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. He had the good fortune of being mentored by the legendary singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Appl says, “my years of working with Fischer-Dieskau were invaluable and had a hugely formative influence on me. He is an inspiration – someone who is always searching and seeking a deeper understanding of music and of life. He was a role model for how to prosper as an artist, never just delivering, but each time creating.” Appl also enjoys a significant long-term collaboration with composer György Kurtág.

An established recitalist, Appl has performed at the Ravinia, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Edinburgh International, and Oxford Lieder festivals; Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He has performed at major concert venues including Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Berlin and Vienna, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Musée de Louvre Paris, in addition to which he is a regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and at Heidelberger Frühling. In equal demand as soloist on the world’s most prestigious stages, he collaborates with NHK Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Philharmonia, Seattle Symphony, Vienna Symphony and many others.

In addition to this North American tour, Appl’s 2022-23 season includes orchestral concerts with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Klaus Mäkelä and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in Mozart’s Requiem; NDR Hannover with Andrew Manze and Orchestre Pays de Loire in Brahms’ Requiem; Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård in Britten’s War Requiem; La Verdi Orchestra Milan in Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder; and Zurich Chamber Orchestra’s prestigious New Year’s Gala. A revered interpreter of period music, Appl looks forward to collaborations with Les Talens Lyriques on a solo Mozart tour and in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Christophe Rousset; a recital with Ensemble Masques at BOZAR Brussels, further Bach programmes with the Berliner Barocksolisten and his debut appearance with the Gabetta Ensemble in Budapest. In addition, he looks forward to revisiting successful collaborations with lutenist Thomas Dunford in Bonn, Schleswig Holstein and Oxford Lieder Festivals; with pianist Alice Sara Ott at London’s Southbank Centre; with accordionist Martynas in Heidelberg, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, and with pianist James Baillieu at Festival St. Denis.

Appl’s growing 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 for Sony Classical, Heimat, was Gramophone nominated and won the prestigious Prix Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau (Best Lieder Singer) at the 2017-18 Académie du Disque Lyrique Orphées d’Or. Other recent recordings include an album of Bach with Concerto Köln as well as Sibelius’s Kullervowith the BBC Scottish Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard for Hyperion Records.

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