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” (Süddeutsche Zeitung), and artistry that’s described as “unbearably moving’”(The Times). Former Gramophone Award Young Artist of the Year, Appl was a BBC New Generation Artist 2014-16, a Wigmore Hall Emerging Artist and ECHO Rising Star in 2015-16. He signed exclusively to Sony Classical 2016-21 and began a multi-album deal with Alpha Classics from Autumn 2021.
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 also enjoys a significant long-term collaboration with composer György Kurtág.
An established recitalist, Appl has performed at the Ravinia, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Edinburgh International, and Oxford Lieder festivals; Schubertiade Schwarzenberg and at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He has performed at major concert venues including Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Konzerthaus Berlin and Vienna, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and Musée de Louvre Paris, in addition to which he is a regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and at Heidelberger Frühling. In equal demand as soloist on the world’s most prestigious stages, he collaborates with NHK Symphony Orchestra, Philadelphia Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Philharmonia, Seattle Symphony, Vienna Symphony and many others.
In recent seasons, he sang in concert with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra conducted by Klaus Mäkelä and Royal Liverpool Philharmonic in Mozart’s Requiem; NDR Hannover with Andrew Manze and Orchestre Pays de Loire in Brahms’ Requiem; Royal Scottish National Orchestra and Thomas Søndergård in Britten’s War Requiem; La Verdi Orchestra Milan in Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder; and Zurich Chamber Orchestra’s prestigious New Year’s Gala. A revered interpreter of period music, Benjamin has collaborated with Les Talens Lyriques on a solo Mozart tour and in Bach’s St. Matthew Passion with Christophe Rousset; a recital with Ensemble Masques at BOZAR Brussels, Bach programmes with the Berliner Barocksolisten and the Gabetta Ensemble in Budapest.
Appl was Artist in Residence at London’s St. Martin in the Fields, giving multiple recitals throughout the year including a collaboration with Holocaust surviver Éva Fahidi in a recital and talk exploring the loss of family, identity, memory and rediscovered hope. In addition, he has had successful collaborations with lutenist Thomas Dunford in Bonn, Schleswig Holstein and Oxford Lieder Festivals; with pianist Alice Sara Ott at London’s Southbank Centre; with accordionist Martynas in Heidelberg, Mecklenburg Vorpommern, and with pianist James Baillieu at Festival St. Denis.
In the US, Benjamin has performed a series of prestigious recitals with James Baillieu, making his eagerly anticipated Carnegie Hall debut, as well as concerts for San Francisco Performances, Vancouver, Portland and others.
Appl took part in an exciting new realisation of Schubert’s great song cycle Winterreise, which was filmed in the Swiss Alps. Commissioned by the BBC and Swiss television station SRF, and directed by John Bridcut, this film was first broadcast on BBC4 in 2022. Winterreise was also the repertoire of his first solo album on Alpha Classics. Winterreise was the backbone of Appl’s 2022/23 season, with three semi-staged performances at the Gran Teatro del Liceu as well as recitals at Mecklenburg Volpommern and Liverpool (presented by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic).
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; and a live recording of Schubert lieder with Graham Johnson. 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. Other recordings include an album of Bach with Concerto Köln as well as Sibelius’s Kullervowith the BBC Scottish Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard for Hyperion Records.
Outside the concert hall, Appl recently presented a series of programmes for BBC Radio 3 entitled ‘A Singer’s World’ and starred in the film Breaking Music, which celebrates both the Argentinian Tango and German Lied traditions by breaking down the traditional boundaries between musical genres.