Due to my current workload, I have not been able to update all pages of the English version of my site for some time. The following bio is up to date. A list of all published compositions can be obtained from Schott Music’s website.
In the meantime, for newest information and performance dates, please visit the German version.
Download short biography (about 1.500 characters) at the end of this page
Benjamin Schweitzer was born 26.7.1973 in Marburg. He spent his childhood on the countryside in Hesse and Baden-Wurttemberg. From the age of 7, he took piano lessons, later also cello lessons, and made his first compositional attempts around 1987. After moving to Lubeck in 1988, he entered a grammar school with special music education. From 1989-1993, Schweitzer studied composition, music theory and piano at the junior department of the Lubeck Music Academy. Already from the age of seventeen, his pieces were performed regularly, and he received several prizes at composition and instrumental competitions for young musicians and the Composition Award of the City of Halberstadt 1991.
After the abitur in 1992 and alternative national service, he studied composition (with Wilfried Kraetzschmar) and music theory (with Jörg Herchet) at the Dresden Music Academy, since 1997 also orchestra conducting (with Christian Kluttig). After his diploma (with highest disctinction), he entered the master class for compsition, supported by a scholarship of the state of Saxony. From 1998-99 he spent a year studying with Paavo Heininen at the Sibelius Academy, Helsinki/Finland. From 2015-18, he studied Fennistics and Scandinavistics at the University of Greifswald and Tartu/Estonia in the MA programme “Language diversity”. In the past years, he has been increasingly active as translator from Finnish to German, specializing in musical and historical non-fiction.
Schweitzer’s compositions have been performed in Germany and abroad (USA, England, Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, France, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Serbia, Albania); apart from numerous radio broadcasts, several leading broadcasting stations in Germany have produced full-size composer’s portraits about him.
Renowned music institutions (e.g. the Siemens Arts Program, Konzerthaus Berlin, Munich Biennale, DeutschlandRadio, European Centre of the Arts Dresden/Hellerau) commissioned works from him.
Schweitzer performs occasionally as pianist and conductor, and he was co-founder and, until 2005, artistic leader of the „ensemble courage“, a chamber music group specialized on contemporary music that was awarded an advancement prize by the Ernst von Siemens music foundation in 2001. In the 2016/17 season, he was interim manager of the Festival “Nordischer Klang” in Greifswald.
Apart from his work as composer and curator, Schweitzer continues his activities in the field of musicology and analysis, being invited to symposia and conferences in Germany and abroad. He published numerous articles especially, but not only on contemporary music and held lectures at the the department of musicology of the Dresden University regularly from 1999-2003. In addition, he is a welcome and successful teacher at masterclasses like the chamber-music course of the German Music Council, the “Jeunesse Moderne” Academy and the workshops for young composers in Weikersheim. He was invited by the Berlin Academy of the Arts to join the project “Composers and Choreographers” in 2002 and by the „Opernwerkstatt Ligerz“ (Switzerland) to their annual symposia in 2005 and 2008. In the spring term 2018, he taught German music history at the University of Tartu and introductory classes in music theory and composition at the Viljandi Kultuuriakadeemia (Estonia).
Schweitzer received composition prizes and distinctions like the Award of the Composers‘ Association of Saxony 1999, Artist-in-residence of the Town of Stein am Rhein/Switzerland, Artist‘s Grant of the cultural foundation of the state of Saxony in 2002, a grant for visiting the “Cité Internationale des Arts” Paris in 2004/05, commission grant of the Senate of Berlin 2006, an invitation to the German Study Centre in Venice for 2007 to the Kunstlerhof Schreyahn (Lower Saxony) for 2007-08, and to the Herrenhaus Edenkoben for 2010. He was also awarded the Wilfried-Steinbrenner-Grant in 2009 and received a one-year-grant by the EHF-Trustee-Fund of the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung for 2010/11. In 2013/14, he was invited to the Villa Concordia (Bamberg) with a one-year artist’s grant.
Schweitzer lives as free-lance composer and translator in Berlin, his works are being published by Schott Music (Mainz).