Biography


Ben Palmer conductor © Andy Staples Photography
Star Wars in Concert
Ben Palmer conductor © Maky Manole

Ben Palmer is Chief Conductor of the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck in Darmstadt, and Founder and Artistic Director of Covent Garden Sinfonia, one of London’s most dynamic and versatile chamber orchestras. As a guest conductor he works regularly with the Hallé, BBC Singers, the Orchestra of Opera North, and Grimethorpe Colliery Band. Other recent engagements include the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Royal Northern Sinfonia, the Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, London Mozart Players, NDR Radiophilharmonie, Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, and Sinfonietta de Lausanne. In the 2019/20 season he will conduct the Hong Kong Philharmonic, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Concert Orchestra and Heidelberger Sinfoniker for the first time, and return to the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, St Petersburg Symphony Orchestra, Deutsches Filmorchester Babelsberg, Pilsen Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, and Czech National Symphony Orchestra.

Ben Palmer is one of Europe’s foremost specialists in conducting live to film. His repertoire includes the Star Wars trilogy, Jurassic ParkE.T. the Extra-TerrestrialJawsHome AloneRaiders of the Lost ArkHarry Potter and the Prisoner of AzkabanBack to the FutureCasino RoyaleBeauty and the Beast (2017), The Pink PantherUnder the SkinPsycho and Casablanca. He is also an experienced conductor of silent films such as Metropolis, The Snowman and The Gold Rush, and gave the world premieres of Neil Brand’s scores for The Lodger and Oliver Twist. Highlights of 2019/20 include The Lodger at the closing concert of Le Giornate del Cinema Muto (the world-famous Pordenone Silent Film Festival), Skyfall with the Hallé, and a return to the Royal Albert Hall for E.T. and Brassed Off.

2019 sees the release of recordings with Covent Garden Sinfonia (Max Richter, Peteris Vasks and Arvo Pärt with violinist Fenella Humphreys), the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck (a live disc of film music) and, for Sony Germany, the NDR Radiophilharmonie. Other recordings include an acclaimed disc of Antonio Lotti with chamber choir The Syred Consort, selected as BBC Radio 3 Record Review’s “Disc of the Week”, and chosen as one of Presto Classical’s Top Ten Recordings of 2016.

A trumpeter and composer by training, he studied music at the University of Birmingham, graduating with first class honours in 2003. He stayed on at Birmingham to complete an MPhil in composition, before moving to London in 2005 to study composition at the Royal Academy of Music. From 2011-16 he worked as assistant conductor to Sir Roger Norrington, and has twice acted as rehearsal conductor for Bernard Haitink, as well as assisting Paul McCreesh with the Gabrieli Consort & Players. In addition to his work as a conductor, he is sought after as a composer, arranger and orchestrator. In 2017 he was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM), and is almost three quarters of the way through his lifetime ambition to conduct all 107 Haydn symphonies.


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