Photos: Chris Christodolou / BBC
Benjamin has performed twice at the BBC Proms this summer, first in a Late Night Prom on the 16th August where he joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra for Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue, conducted by Guy Barker (pictured above). In his review for London Jazz News, Sebastian Maniura commented:
"Rhapsody in Blue was a thrilling ride, Benjamin Grosvenor playfully pulling his solo sections around and then dashing into new themes with youthful zeal. The ease with which he held the audience in awe was quite something to witness."
In his review for The Guardian, John Lewis praised "star pianist Benjamin Grosvenor", while The Times said "Rhapsody in Blue ... recreated the concert band aura of the original Paul Whiteman performance. Guy Barker was the punctilious conductor; Benjamin Grosvenor was crisp and concise at the piano."
Elsewhere in the press, Barry Creasy at Music OMH noted how Benjamin "took the piano part and made it his own, displaying not only the pyrotechnic flourishes expected of the soloist, but some subtlety of dynamic, even when the piano was accompanied by the band.” Finally, Classical Source commented on Benjamin's "idiomatic and often characterful playing pointing up the concertante nature of Gershwin’s trail-blazing conception."
The performance was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and is now available online. Listen here.
Photo: Mark Allan / BBC
Benjamin's second appearance at the 2018 BBC Proms took place on Friday 24th August, and saw Benjamin perform Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 21 alongside the BBC Symphony Orchestra. The concert marked Benjamin's first collaboration with Finnish conductor Sakari Oramo. The first review from Seen and Heard International praised Benjamin's performance as "delightfully warm and poetic", while Classical Source said:
"Grosvenor is no slouch when it comes to Mozart and this performance was full of felicitous phrasing ... The central Andante was affectingly rendered without affectation, Grosvenor mindful of a solo part needing to be integrated closely into that of the orchestra, while the Finale evinced all the necessary litheness and effervescence at a not unduly headlong tempo. All credit to Grosvenor for ... offering a limpid account of Rachmaninov’s Lilacs, an arrangement of the fifth song from his Opus 21 set of Romances, as his encore.”
Please note, the cadenzas were by Wilhelm Kempff.
This performance was also broadcast live on BBC Radio 3, and is now available online. Listen here.
Ahead of the two concerts, Benjamin also performed live on BBC Radio 3 In Tune. He spoke to presenter Sean Rafferty about both concerts, and performed music by Kapustin and Ravel. The programme is available to listen online until 14 September 2018. Listen here.