Composition, Orchestration and Arranging


Ben Palmer • composer (Andy Staples Photography)
It was a display of music’s sheer vitality and variety of colour. Palmer is a voice to listen out for.
— Matthew Connolly, The Times (2004)

In addition to his work as a conductor, Ben Palmer is in demand as a composer, orchestrator and arranger. His music has been performed by such ensembles as the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the City of London Sinfonia, the Fibonacci Sequence and Covent Garden Sinfonia. Commissions include three arrangements for the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin (performed at the Berlin Philharmonie), the Haydn Society of Great Britain, London Russian Ballet School, Stamford Chamber Orchestra, Woking Choral Society, the English Music Festival, the Wolsey Orchestra, Birmingham University Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham University Singers, the Kenneth Page Foundation and the Bury St Edmunds Festival.

Ben is an experienced orchestrator and arranger, and a prolific composer of production music. His arrangements have been heard in such venues as the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and St John's Smith Square, and as far afield as South Korea. In April 2014 he conducted his own orchestration of Korngold's Shakespeare Songs at Southbank Centre's Purcell Room.

Ben studied composition with Vic Hoyland at the University of Birmingham, and with Simon Bainbridge at the Royal Academy of Music. After a six-year break from composing to concentrate on his conducting career, he began writing again in 2012. Current projects include a collaboration with food writer William Sitwell, based on his book Eggs or Anarchy.


Please do not reproduce without permission. If you wish to include this biography in a concert programme etc, please e-mail to ensure you receive the most up-to-date version.


BEN PALMER Sinfonietta (2013)
Orchestra of St Paul's, cond. Ben Palmer
May 2013 • Live recording 


DOWLAND arr. BEN PALMER In this trembling shadow (2014)
Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, dir. Hannah Perowne
November 2014 • Live recording (rehearsal)


 

Works (selected list)

BEN PALMER Eggs or Anarchy
Duration: 21'
Scoring: speaker, 1*.0.1*.0.asx-0.1.0.0-1perc-str(0.0.0.1.0)
Commission Sacla UK Limited
First performance: 8 October 2017, Cedars Hall, Wells Cathedral School
Performers: Zeb Soanes, Covent Garden Sinfonia, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER Bach Dreams
Duration: 14'
Scoring: piano and string orchestra
Commission: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin/Neue Meister
First performance: 6 November 2016, Berlin
Performers: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, cond. Ben Palmer
Recording: Neue Meister Live in Berlin

HOLST (arr. Ben Palmer) The Planets (excerpts)
Duration: c.4'
Scoring: 4*.4*.4*.4*-6.4.3.2-2timp+4-2hp-str
Commission: Royal College of Music
First performance: 27 April 2016, London
Performers: RCM Philharmonic, cond. Ben Palmer

HAYDN (arr. Ben Palmer) The Seven Last Words of Christ
Duration: 60'
Scoring: string orchestra
Commission: Haydn Society of Great Britain
First performance: 25 March 2016, St Paul's Church, Covent Garden
Performers: Orchestra of St Paul's, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER Flying in the Fire
Duration: 8'30"
Scoring: chorus and orchestra, 2.3*.2.3*-4.3.3.0-timp/1perc-hp.-str
Commission: Woking Choral Society
First performance: 19 March 2016, Cadogan Hall, London
Performers: Orchestra of St Paul's, Woking Choral Society, Vox Cordis, cond. Ben Palmer

SCHUBERT (arr. Ben Palmer) Symphony for Strings 
after the Quintet Op. 163

Duration: 50'
Scoring: string orchestra
Commission: Stamford Chamber Orchestra
First performance: 30 January 2016, Stamford Arts Centre
Performers: Stamford Chamber Orchestra, cond. Ben Palmer

BEETHOVEN (arr. Ben Palmer) Adagio cantabile (2015)
from Piano Sonata No. 8 'Pathétique'
Duration: 5'
Scoring: string orchestra
Commission: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin
First performance: 18 November 2015, Philharmonie, Berlin
Performers: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, dir. Hannah Perowne

ELGAR (arr. Ben Palmer) Nimrod (2015)
from Enigma Variations
Duration: 4'
Scoring: string orchestra
Commission: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin
First performance: 18 November 2015, Philharmonie, Berlin
Performers: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, dir. Hannah Perowne

ALEKSANDRA PAKHMUTOVA (arr. Ben Palmer) Russian Suite (2015)
Duration: 25'
Scoring: 1*.1.2.1-2.1.1.0-timp+1-hp-str(min.3.3.2.2.1)
Commission: London Russian Ballet School
First performance: 9 November 2015, Cadogan Hall, London
Performers: London Russian Ballet School, Orchestra of St Paul's, cond. Ben Palmer

LUDWIG MINKUS (arr. Ben Palmer) Paquita: Grand Pas Classique (2015)
Duration: 35'
Scoring: 1*.1.2.1-2.1.1.0-timp+1-hp-str(min.3.3.2.2.1)
Commission: London Russian Ballet School
First performance: 9 November 2015, Cadogan Hall, London
Performers: London Russian Ballet School, Orchestra of St Paul's, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER To the Greenwood Gone (2015)
Duration: 12'
Scoring: chorus and ensemble, 1.1.1.1-hp-str(min.1.1.1.1.1)
Commission: Woking Choral Society
First performance: 27 June 2015, H. G. Wells Centre, Woking
Performers: Orchestra of St Paul's, Woking Choral Society, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER Fanfare with Good Companye (2015)
Duration: 3'
Scoring: large youth orchestra + opt. extra wind, brass and strings
Commission: Barnet Education Arts Trust
First performance: 23 April 2015, Royal Albert Hall, London
Performers: Barnet Youth Orchestra et al, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER Dance of the Hardanger Fiddle (2015)
Duration: 4'
Scoring: solo violin and string orchestra
Commission: Stamford Chamber Orchestra
First performance: 24 January 2015, Stamford Arts Centre
Performers: Anja Smith (violin), Stamford Chamber Orchestra, cond. Ben Palmer

DOWLAND (arr. Ben Palmer) In this trembling shadow (2014)
Duration: 6'30"
Scoring: string orchestra
Commission: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin
First performance: 13 November 2014, Philharmonie, Berlin
Performers: Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, dir. Hannah Perowne

KORNGOLD (arr. Ben Palmer) Shakespeare Songs Op. 29 & 31 (2014)
Duration: 15'
Scoring: soprano and ensemble, 1*.1.1.1-2.1.1.0-2perc-pno-harm-hp-str(min.1.1.1.1.0)
First performance: 29 April 2014, Purcell Room, Southbank Centre, London
Performers: Sarah Gabriel (soprano), Orchestra of St Paul's, cond. Ben Palmer

HUMPERDINCK (arr. Ben Palmer) Hansel and Gretel: Prelude (2014)
Duration: 8'
Scoring: ensemble, 1.1.1.1-1.1.1.0-timp/perc-str(min.1.1.1.1.1)
First performance: 2 February 2014, St Paul's Church, Covent Garden, London
Performers: Orchestra of St Paul's, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER Pocket Symphony (2013)
Duration: 14'
Scoring: chamber orchestra, 2.2.2.2-2.2.0.0-timp-str
Commission: Stamford Chamber Orchestra
First performance: 16 November 2013, Stamford Arts Centre
Performers: Stamford Chamber Orchestra, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER Sinfonietta (2013)
Duration: 6'
Scoring: chamber orchestra, 3*.2.2.3*-2.2.3.0-timp+1-str
Commission: English Music Festival
First performance: 27 June 2013, Dorchester Abbey, Oxfordshire
Performers: Orchestra of St Paul's, cond. Ben Palmer

BEN PALMER Blaze: Fanfare for Orchestra (2012)
Duration: 2'30"
Scoring: orchestra, 3*.3*.2.2-4.3.3.1-timp+3-hp-str
Commission: Wolsey Orchestra
First performance: 13 October 2012, Ipswich Corn Exchange
Performers: Wolsey Orchestra, cond. Ben Palmer