Ben Palmer – conductor
Ben Palmer is increasingly gaining recognition as an inspiring and versatile conductor. He is acclaimed for his innovative and imaginative programming, in particular with the Orchestra of St Paul’s, a dynamic professional chamber orchestra based in Covent Garden, of which he is Artistic Director. In addition to his work with OSP, he is in demand as a guest conductor with orchestras throughout the UK and abroad. He recently made his debuts with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra (at the Hampton Court Palace Festival) and the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra; other orchestras he has conducted include the London Mozart Players, the Hallé, the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, the Royal Ballet Sinfonia, Britten Sinfonia, the Rambert Orchestra and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. He is regularly invited to work as rehearsal conductor for the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra, preparing Berlioz for Sir Roger Norrington and Mahler for Bernard Haitink.
Palmer has worked closely with Sir Roger Norrington since 2011, acting as his assistant conductor on concerts, recordings and on tour, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, the Orchestre de chambre de Paris, Stuttgart Radio Symphony Orchestra, Zurich Chamber Orchestra, Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Deutsche Symphonie-Orchester Berlin, and for two performances at the BBC Proms. He appears each season at Southbank Centre’s Queen Elizabeth Hall and Purcell Room, and St John’s, Smith Square, and has conducted concerts at the Royal Albert Hall and LSO St Luke’s.
Recent highlights include a two-week, nine concert tour of China with OSP, Boulez’s Messagesquisses with the Royal Academy of Music Cello Ensemble, Britten’s War Requiem (conducting the chamber orchestra) in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the closing concerts of the 2013 and 2014 English Music Festivals, an all-Berlioz programme at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, and a European tour with the OAE as assistant conductor to Norrington. Engagements in 2014/15 include several concerts at London’s Southbank Centre (including screenings of Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush with live orchestral accompaniment) and the release of two CDs (world première recordings of Elgar, Malcolm Arnold and Robert Simpson) on the Somm label, as well as returns to Oxford University Orchestra, Farnborough Symphony Orchestra, the Wolsey Orchestra and Oxford Sinfonia.
Palmer is in great demand as a choral conductor, and is musical director of acclaimed professional chamber choir The Syred Consort, and Woking Choral Society, one of the UK’s foremost amateur choruses. His opera work includes staged productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Cosi fan tutte, Ravel’s L’enfant et les sortilèges, Dido and Aeneas and Die Fledermaus.
Equally at home in the recording studio, Ben Palmer conducts regularly in sessions for television, radio, film and production music. In addition to his work as a conductor, he is in demand as a composer, arranger and orchestrator. His music has been performed by ensembles including Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the Orchestra of St Paul’s and the Fibonacci Sequence. Commissions include the English Music Festival, Woking Choral Society, Birmingham University Symphony Orchestra, Birmingham University Singers, Stamford Chamber Orchestra, the Wolsey Orchestra and the Bury St Edmunds Festival. Ben is editor of Volume 17 of the Elgar Complete Edition, currently in preparation.
A trumpeter and composer by training, Ben 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 with Vic Hoyland, before moving to London in 2005 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Simon Bainbridge. Future plans include a re-invitation to conduct the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, his debut at Cadogan Hall (conducting Tippett’s A Child of Our Time), and further performances at the Purcell Room, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. It is Ben’s lifetime ambition to conduct all the Haydn symphonies.