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. He signed exclusively to SONY Classical in May 2016.
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 and forthcoming highlights include his role debut as Guglielmo in Così fan tutte with Classical Opera Company, three recitals at New York City’s Park Avenue Armory featuring all three Schubert song cycles, a debut performance in 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 Carnegie Hall, Grand Théâtre in Geneva, Linz Brucknerhaus, and Salzburg Mozarteum. In Spring 2020, Appl is featured artist on the Dortmund Konzerthaus’s Zeitinsel series, in a programme dedicated to composer György Kurtág. He also celebrates the Berlin Baroque Soloists’ 25th anniversary in a special jubilee concert hosted by the Berlin Philharmonie.
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, which was released in April 2016 on Champs Hill records; and a live recording of Schubert lieder with Graham Johnson for the Wigmore Hall Live label. 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. Most recently, Appl released a recording of Bach with Concerto Köln for SONY Classical, as well as Sibelius’s Kullervo with the BBC Scottish Symphony and Thomas Dausgaard for Hyperion Records.