It is scarcely possible to find another family of professional musicians with such a rich heritage of music-making elsewhere today. The musical collaboration of the Benda family is uniquely focused on their shared goal—chamber music performance on a wide range of instruments from duo to septet performance of repertoire ranging from the Baroque all the way to the most recent New Music. Despite the strong individualism of each artist, the playing of ensemble members is characterized by artistic unity founded on a shared musical life guided by consistent aesthetic principles. The overall effect is ensemble playing of exceptional appeal. Among the CDs recorded by the ensemble are portraits of Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann which have drawn high critical praise. François Benda’s Father Sebastian Benda (1926-2003) represents the generation before in this family’s rich musical heritage. His prodigious talent at an early age attracted the attention of musicians such as Arthur Honegger, Alfredo Casella, Hermann Scherchen and Frank Martin, with whom Benda studied composition as a twelve-year-old. At the age of 18 he won the Prix de Virtuosité in piano at Geneva’s Conservatory and then for many years afterwards studied the piano with Edwin Fischer who invited him to appear as soloist in performances of Bach and Mozart piano concertos conducted by Fischer himself. His career took him to many countries throughout Europe, America, and Asia. Benda appeared as a soloist with ensembles such as Orchestre de la Suisse Romande, the Tonhalle-Orchestra Zurich, the Residentie-Orkest Den Haag, Hamburg’s NDR Sinfonieorchester and the Osaka Philharmonic Orchestra. In London Benda received the Bach Medal from the Harriet Cohen International Music Award. In Brazil, where he also started a family, Benda worked for many years with a great deal of idealism as a teacher and performer and had a decisive influence on the musical life of the country. In 1981 Sebastian Benda was named to the faculty of the Grazer Musikhochschule where he later also became the conservatory’s president. Benda participated as a jury member at many international piano competitions such as the Vienna Beethoven Competition, the Concours d’Exécution Musicale in Geneva and the ARD Competition in Munich. His recording of he Ballad for Piano and Orchestra by Frank Martin with the composer conducting deserves special mention, whose complete works for solo piano he later recorded on the FSM label.
Complete Works for Clarinet
François Benda, clarinet - The Benda Musicians