‘the excellent benjamin bayl’s conducting is marked by flawless
tempo choices and a precise ear for stage-pit balance…
the performance was sheer bliss’ — whatsonstage.com
Benjamin Bayl is a gifted conductor equally at home in orchestra and operatic repertoire, and with historical or modern forces.
His skill and flair in working with symphony and chamber orchestras, opera houses and period instrument orchestras saw highly successful debuts in recent seasons with the Mahler Chamber Orchestra (Musikfest Berlin in the Berlin Philharmonie, and Ruhrtrienniale Festival), Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Orquesta Sinfónica del Principado de Asturias, Orchestre Symphonique et Lyrique de Nancy, RTV Slovenia Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Haydn di Bolzano, Britten Sinfonia, The Hanover Band, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, Collegium Vocale Gent, and the Scandinavian orchestras of Gävle, Umeå, Drottningholm, Aalborg, Sønderjyllands, Aarhus, Odense and Copenhagen Philharmonic.
In the world of opera, he has conducted for Opera Australia (Orlando), Staatsoper Berlin / Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin (Fairy Queen/AscheMond); Opera de Oviedo (Agrippina); Royal Danish Opera (Don Giovanni), Den Jyske Opera (Così fan tutte), Taipei Symphony Orchestra (La Clemenza di Tito), Teatro Comunale di Sassari (Carmen) and English Touring Opera (Ariodante). He also conducted Dido & Aeneas and Fairy Queen in Berlin, Split and Zagreb Summer Festivals, Handel’s Acis & Galatea and Arne’s Judgment of Paris at the Wigmore Hall, Gluck’s Il parnaso confuso at London’s South Bank Centre, and both Monteverdi’s L’incoronazione di Poppea and Cavalli’s Gli amori d’Apollo e di Dafne for Københavns Musikteater. In the world of oratorio he frequently conducts the major works of Bach, Handel, Haydn and Mozart with both period and modern orchestras.
Highlights of the 15/16 season include his debuts at the Wiener Staatsoper, Dutch National Opera and the Hong Kong Philharmonic Orchestra, as well as return appearances at NorrlandsOperan and Opera de Oviedo (Le nozze di Figaro), Warsaw Chamber Opera (Pygmalion) and Vlaamse Opera (Idomeneo), and a number of concerts with The Hanover Band, Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra, Warsaw Chamber Opera and others. He is a founder and conductor of Australia’s new period instrument classical-era ensemble, orchestra seventeen88, with whom he will give a number of concerts, and is also founder-director of The Saraband Consort and Odissea.
Born in 1978 in Sydney to Dutch and Australian parents, Benjamin Bayl received his first piano lessons at the age of four. He went on to be the first Australian Organ Scholar of King’s College Cambridge, and is an alumnus of the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, National Opera Studio and the Royal Academy of Music, where he studied conducting with Colin Metters, Sir Colin Davis and George Hurst on the MacKerras Scholarship.
Following his studies, Benjamin was appointed Assistant Conductor to the Budapest Festival Orchestra and Iván Fischer, an important mentor with whom he continues to collaborate on a regular basis in Budapest and with the Konzerthaus Orchester Berlin. He was also Assistant Artistic Director of the Gabrieli Consort, making debuts with them in London and Rome. He has worked widely in the world of opera and oratorio as assistant conductor and chorus master, building up lasting relationships with major opera houses and conductors - most notably in Vienna, London, Amsterdam, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Strasbourg, Copenhagen, and Sydney, with conductors including Gardiner, Maazel, Bolton, Bicket, and Hickox, in repertoire as diverse as Monteverdi, Handel, Gluck, Mozart, Bizet and Verdi. He works regularly with Collegium Vocale Gent, and also conducted British Youth Opera, making his debut in the Queen Elizabeth Hall with A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
He is Assistant Conductor and fortepianist for the new Deutsche Grammophon Mozart Operas cycle, having so far recorded Don Giovanni with Mahler Chamber Orchestra and Così fan tutte with Chamber Orchestra of Europe, both with Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Other collaborations include Otello with Daniel Harding and MCO, Giulio Cesare with Emmanuelle Haïm / Le concert d’Astrée at Opéra National de Paris, and Alceste with Ivor Bolton and Freiburger Barockorchester at the Wiener Staatsoper. He was also conductor-on-set for Juan, a new feature film based on Don Giovanni and directed by Kasper Holten. In his earlier years as a continuo player, he performed, toured and recorded with Concerto Copenhagen, Monteverdi Choir, English Baroque Soloists, The English Concert, The Sixteen, Gabrieli Consort & Players and His Majestys Sagbutts & Cornetts.
Contemporary music also features in Benjamin’s repertoire. He made his first commercial disc as a conductor, recording works of Hindemith with the Britten Sinfonia for Signum Classics, which was awarded five stars in the BBC Music Magazine. He also conducted the European premiere of Sir John Tavener’s Lament for Jerusalem with the Orchestra of the City (with whom he was the Founder and Artistic Director for six seasons), and has conducted works by Rautavaara, Carter, Judith Weir and Jonathan Dove, as well as a Charles Ives project with the MCO.
He founded and directs the dynamic period instrument ensemble, The Saraband Consort. They recently made their Wigmore Hall debut and appeared in festivals including ‘Martes Musicales’ Vitoria and ‘Aste Nagusia’ Bilbao. He was also the Founder and Artistic Director of London’s Orchestra of the City for six seasons.