Hailed as “the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists” (Financial Times), baritone Benjamin 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 is 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. Appl will be taking part in an exciting new realisation of Schubert’s great song cycle Winterreise filmed in the Swiss Alps this November. Commissioned by the BBC and SRF, and directed by John Bridcut, this film promises a beautiful and insightful interpretation. It will be broadcasted around Christmas 2021. Appl has also recently been offered the prestigious position of “Musician in Residence” at I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, during the fall semester of the academic year 2021/22.
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 is increasingly in demand on the world’s most prestigious stages, collaborating with ensembles such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Staatskapelle Dresden, Philharmonia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Hamburg Ballet, Academy of Ancient Music, Gabrieli Players & Consort, Les Violons du Roy, Concerto Köln, and with multiple BBC orchestras. He made his BBC Proms debut in September 2015 singing Brahms’ Triumphlied with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.
An established recitalist, he has performed at the Ravinia, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Edinburgh International, Life Victoria Barcelona, Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder festivals, deSingel Antwerp, Heidelberger Frühling, and at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He has performed at major concert venues including Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Musée de Louvre, Paris, in addition to which he is a regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. He works closely with pianists Graham Johnson and James Baillieu.
Appl is equally sought for his work in oratorio; notable past works include Bach’s Magnificat, St John Passion and St Matthew Passion, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Händel’s The Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation and Britten’s War Requiem. In 2017 he performed in the internationally televised ZDF Adventskonzert concert at the Dresden Frauenkirche with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann.
The 2021-22 season will open with Appl making his operatic debut at the Liceu, Barcelona as Harlequin Ariadne auf Naxos. This is followed by a full schedule of concerts across Europe and the USA, including recitals and concerts at Salle Gaveau Paris, Berlin Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Boston Celebrity Series and Dallas Opera; concerts with the Sofia Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie, and the Berlin Barock Solisten and ongoing residencies with the Jenaer Philharmonie and Hamburg Ballet.
Recent highlights include his role debut as Guglielmo Così fan tutte with Classical Opera Company; Aeneas Dido and Aeneas in concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Roger Norrington; three recitals at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory featuring all three Schubert song cycles; a debut performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin; his Paris orchestral debut at the Saint-Denis Festival with the Orchestre National de Lille; and debut recitals at Grand Théâtre in Geneva, Linz Brucknerhaus, Salzburg Mozarteum and Spivey Hall, Atlanta.
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. Most recently, Appl released a recording of Bach with Concerto Köln for SONY Classical, as well as Sibelius’s Kullervo with the BBC Scottish Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard for Hyperion Records.