Benjamin ApplBaritone
James BaillieuPiano

Benjamin Appl

Wednesday, May 10, 2023 |  7:30pm

Herbst TheatreVenue Information


About This Performance

Suave-toned and supremely inspired, baritone Benjamin Appl makes his SF Performances debut in a varied and energetic program of songs and lieder. The New York Times notes Appl as “[F]earlessly physical, with a broad palette of tones and styles.” A Gramophone Award Young Artist of the year and BBC New Generation Artist just a few years ago, his popularity and acclaim continue to rise. He’ll be accompanied by James Baillieu, who is described by The Daily Telegraph as “in a class of his own.” Baillieu is one of the leading song and chamber music pianists of his generation.


SCHUBERT: Nachtstück; Auf dem Wasser zu singen; Der Wanderer an den Mond; Erlkönig; Der blinde Knabe
TCHAIKOVSKY: At the ball;
STRAUSS: Ständchen; Morgen
HAHN: L’Heure exquise
ARTHUR SOMERVELL: White in the moon the long road lies
VAUGHAN-WILLIAMS: The Infinite Shining Heavens
SCHUMANN: Mein schöner Stern; Belsazar; Zwielicht; Wer nie sein Brot mit Tränen aß
BOLCOM: Song of Black Max
ROGER QUILTER: Now sleeps the Crimson Petal
BRAHMS: Wie rafft ich mich auf in der Nacht
SCHÖNBERG: Warum bist du aufgewacht
HUGO WOLF: An die Geliebte
GRIEG: Ein Traum
ILSE WEBER: Ich wandre durch Theresienstadt; Wiegala
JAMES MacMILLAN: The Children


ADOLF STRAUSS: Ich weiß bestimmt, ich werd dich wiedersehn

Performance Sponsors

Patrick R. McCabe, Sponsor

Artist Information

Performer Biographies

Hailed as “the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists” (Financial Times), 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” (Suddeutsche Zeitung), “exacting attention to text” (New York Times), and artistry that’s described as “unbearably moving” (The Times). Named Gramophone Award Young Artist of the Year in 2016, Appl was a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme from 2014-16, as well as a Wigmore Hall Emerging Artist and ECHO Rising Star for the 2015-16 season, appearing at major venues throughout Europe, including the Barbican Centre London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Konzerthaus, Philharmonie Paris and Cologne, and the Laeiszhalle Hamburg.

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 is increasingly in demand on the world’s most prestigious stages, collaborating with ensembles such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Staatskapelle Dresden, Philharmonia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Hamburg Ballet, Academy of Ancient Music, Gabrieli Players & Consort, Les Violons du Roy, Concerto Köln, and with multiple BBC orchestras. He made his BBC Proms debut in September 2015 singing Brahms’ Triumphlied with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

An established recitalist, he has performed at the Ravinia, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Edinburgh International, Life Victoria Barcelona, Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder festivals, deSingel Antwerp, Heidelberger Frühling, and at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He has performed at major concert venues including Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Musée de Louvre, Paris, in addition to which he is a regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. He works closely with pianists Graham Johnson and James Baillieu.

Appl is equally sought for his work in oratorio; notable past works include Bach’s Magnificat, St. John and St. Matthew )Passions, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Händel’s The Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation and Britten’s War Requiem. In 2017 he performed in the internationally televised ZDF Adventskonzert concert at the Dresden Frauenkirche with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann.

Recent highlights include his role debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Classical Opera Company; Aeneas in Dido and Aeneas in concert with the London Philharmonic Orchestra and Sir Roger Norrington; three recitals at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory featuring all three Schubert song cycles; a debut performance of Bach’s Mass in B Minor with the Philadelphia Orchestra and Yannick Nézet-Séguin; his Paris orchestral debut at the Saint-Denis Festival with the Orchestre National de Lille; and debut recitals at Grand Théâtre in Geneva, Linz Brucknerhaus, Salzburg Mozarteum and Spivey Hall, Atlanta. He was honored to have been invited by the Federal President of Germany to appear as soloist at the commemoration of November 9th 2021 (a date of great significance in Germany) where he performed to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other esteemed guests. Additionally, Benjamin recently appeared on BBC Radio 3 in his own program A Singer’s World.

The 2021-22 season opened with Appl making his operatic debut at the Liceu, Barcelona as Harlequin in Ariadne auf Naxos. This was followed by a full schedule of concerts across Europe and the USA, including recitals and concerts at Salle Gaveau Paris, Berlin Konzerthaus, Berlin Philharmonie, Hamburg Elbphilharmonie, Wigmore Hall, Boston Celebrity Series and Dallas Opera; concerts with the Sofia Philharmonic, NDR Radiophilharmonie, and the Berlin Barock Solisten and ongoing residencies with the Jenaer Philharmonie and Hamburg Ballet.

Described by The Daily Telegraph as “in a class of his own” James Baillieu is one of the leading song and chamber music pianists of his generation. He has given solo and chamber recitals throughout the world and collaborates with a wide range of singers and instrumentalists including Benjamin Appl, Jamie Barton, Ian Bostridge, Allan Clayton, Annette Dasch, Lise Davidsen, the Elias and Heath Quartets, Dame Kiri te Kanawa, Timothy Ridout, Adam Walker, and Pretty Yende. As a soloist, he has appeared with the Ulster Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, and the Wiener Kammersymphonie.

James Baillieu is a frequent guest at many of the world’s most distinguished music centers including Carnegie Hall, Wigmore Hall, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Vancouver Playhouse, Berlin Konzerthaus, Vienna Musikverein, Barbican Centre, Wiener Konzerthaus, Bozar Brussels, Pierre Boulez Saal, Cologne Philharmonie, and the Laeiszhalle Hamburg. Festivals include Aix-en-Provence, Verbier, Schleswig-Holstein, Festpillene i Bergen, Edinburgh, Spitalfields, Aldeburgh, Cheltenham, Bath, City of London and Brighton Festivals.

An innovative programmer, he has curated many song and chamber music festivals including series for the Brighton Festival, Wigmore Hall, BBC Radio 3, Verbier Festival, Bath International Festival, and Perth Concert Hall.

At the invitation of John Gilhooly, James Baillieu has presented his own series at the Wigmore Hall with Adam Walker, Jonathan McGovern, Ailish Tynan, Tara Erraught, Henk Neven, Iestyn Davies, Allan Clayton, and Mark Padmore amongst others. This series was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society’s Chamber Music and Song Award for an outstanding contribution to the performance of chamber music and song in the UK.

During the 2020–21 season the artist has been engaged by the Metropolitan Opera, Wigmore Hall, Carnegie Hall, Park Avenue Armory in New York, Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, Cleveland Institute of Music, Hamarikyu Asahi Hall in Tokyo, Aldeburgh Festival for the Britten-Pears Young Artists Program, as well as by the Samling Foundation, Heidelberger Frühling, Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, and Konzerthaus Dortmund.

James Baillieu was prize winner of the Wigmore Hall Song Competition, Das Lied International Song Competition, the Kathleen Ferrier and Richard Tauber Competitions, and was selected for representation by Young Classical Artists Trust (YCAT) in 2010 and in 2012 received a Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and a Geoffrey Parsons Memorial Trust Award. In 2016 he was shortlisted for the Royal Philharmonic Society Outstanding Young Artist Award.

Recording projects include Heimat with Benjamin Appl (Sony Classical), the complete works of CPE Bach for violin and piano with Tamsin Waley-Cohen (Signum Records), and albums on the Chandos, Opus Arte, Champs Hill, Rubicon, and Delphian Record labels as part his critically acclaimed discography.

James Baillieu is a Professor at the Royal Academy of Music, a coach for the Jette Parker Young Artist Program at the Royal Opera House, a course leader for the Samling Foundation, and is head of the Song Program at the Atelier Lyrique of the Verbier Festival Academy. He also is International Tutor in Piano Accompaniment at the Royal Northern College of Music. Highly sought after for masterclasses worldwide, recent sessions of learning have brought him to the Aldeburgh Festival, Cleveland Institute of Music, Metropolitan Opera Lindemann Young Artist Development Program, Friends of Chamber Music, Portland, Oregon, Vancouver Academy of Music, Canada, and to the University of Waikato, New Zealand.

Artist Video

Benjamin Appl sings An das Vaterland, Op. 58, No. 2