Roger Benedict’s career as a conductor has been informed and enriched by more than two decades as a principal player in some of the world’s leading orchestras, by his extensive work as a soloist and chamber musician, and through his deep involvement in orchestral training and development.
From 1991 Principal viola in the Philharmonia Orchestra, London, and following that the same position in the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, since 2002 Roger has been Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Fellowship Program (a full time Orchestra Academy) and has been responsible for building it into one of the world’s leading professional training programs for musicians. He also holds the positions of Chief Conductor of the Sydney Conservatorium Symphony Orchestra and Artistic Director of Orchestra for Life.
A frequent guest conductor with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Roger has conducted the orchestra in subscription concerts at the Sydney Opera House, at City Recital Hall and in regional centres, as well as for special events. He regularly conducts the Sydney Symphony Fellowship Orchestra, including concerts at the Sydney Opera House and on tour. He also appears as a conductor with other orchestras in the region such as the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, Tasmanian Symphony Orchestra and Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, and in the UK with the Southbank Sinfonia. A devoted orchestral trainer, he has coached the European Union Youth Orchestra since 2000, and is a frequent conductor of Australian Youth Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra (UK) programs.
Roger has gained admiration for his adventurous and imaginative programming, and also for his dedication to outreach and community activity – for example through presenting concerts and workshops in schools, prisons and corporate settings. Equally passionate about using music to raise awareness and support for charitable causes, Roger has conceived and conducted several highly successful fundraising concerts with the ensemble he founded, Orchestra for Life. These include the Concert for Life series which since 2015 have raised significant sums for suicide prevention and Indigenous mental health charities.
Roger has held teaching appointments at the Royal Northern College of Music (UK) and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, and given masterclasses worldwide.
Roger continues to perform as a viola player. As a viola soloist he has appeared with the Philharmonia Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Ulster Orchestra in the UK as well as the Sydney Symphony, Canberra Symphony, New Zealand Symphony and the Orchestra Ensemble Kanazawa (Japan). With the Sydney Symphony alone he has performed as a soloist over twenty times.
Roger Benedict’s recital CD Volupté (with pianist Timothy Young) of rare works by Charles Koechlin and Joseph Jongen, released by Melba Recordings in 2010, was greeted with considerable critical acclaim and selected as one of the ten best recordings of 2010 by www.theclassicalreview.com. His recording of Vaughan Williams’ Flos Campi with the Sydney Symphony was released by the same label in 2011, and a disc of music by Hans Gál and Ernst Krenek (Voices in the Wilderness) in 2014. His latest recording, A Winter’s Tale, featuring music by Schubert and Schumann with pianist Simon Tedeschi, was released in 2018 on the ABC Classics label.
“the rehearsal period had obviously been productive, because the sound was polished to a high gloss. In the hands of the Sydney Symphony and Roger Benedict the myriad colours of Schreker’s score came across as fresh, bright and new. It was a rewarding discovery for audience and players alike…” Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
“precisely sculpted phrasing…” Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
“Roger Benedict’s high-energy, high-enjoyment performance…” Sydney Morning Herald (Australia)
“Stand-out performances…” Sun-Herald (Australia)
“A special and very talented musician…” Maestro Christoph von Dohnanyi
“…a well-finessed performance, under the sure-footed baton of Roger Benedict. Musically, everything was first rate… Benedict paced it all perfectly…” Limelight Magazine (Australia)