Award-winning and critically acclaimed British conductor and composer Benjamin Ellin is currently co-founder and Musical Director of the Thirsk Hall Festival and De Mowbray Music; Music Director of the Thursford Christmas Spectacular; co-founder, conductor and composer of the contemporary-fusion ensemble Tafahum; Principal Conductor of the Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra; and President of Pembroke Academy of Music, London. Ellin is also a founding trustee of the Evgeny Svetlanov Charitable Trust.
His belief in the positive power of music within society is reflected in the wide-ranging projects of which he is currently a major figurehead. Ellin’s belief in a musical world without boundaries is equalled by a tireless commitment as a guest artist and as a music director. This is illustrated by his own ensemble Tafahum, major projects and collaborations at London’s Southbank Centre, a commitment to outreach and development work, as well as appearing on stage with leading ensembles across the globe. From 2006-2010 Ellin was also Music Director of Pembroke Academy of Music in London, which provides vital musical education and opportunities to the young members of the Walworth community.
In recent seasons Ellin has performed with the Philharmonia Orchestra, Sinfonia Varsovia, London Philharmonic Orchestra, Jena Philharmonic, Orchestre de Picardie, Hulencourt Soloists Chamber Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Orchestre National de Lille, Shanghai Opera House Orchestra, Gunma Symphony Orchestra (Japan), St. Petersburg Symphony, Orchestre National de Montpellier, Teatro Massimo Palermo, Orchestra del Teatro Regio Turin, Russian State Symphony Orchestra, New Russian Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre National de Lyon, Orchestre Chambre de Catalogne, and the Luxembourg Philharmonic, among others. The 2020/21 season saw the creation of De Mowbray Music, with a vision for music to be without boundaries, limits or exceptions; regardless of social or economic standing. The collaboration of De Mowbray Music with Thirsk Hall saw the first Thirsk Hall Festival, showcasing the best regional and national talent.
As a composer Ellin’s work has been performed all over the world; in the concert hall, theater, and for the screen. Recent highlights have included his oratorio, One Before Zero, commissioned and premiered by the Orchestre de Picardie in 2016, as part of the centenary commemorations for the Battle of the Somme. Following performances in France it has also been performed in Slovakia and Germany under Ellin’s direction: “…In addition to the two soloists and the boys’ choir, it was above all the composer who made the great tension of his oratorio audible on the podium of the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra and allowed everyone involved to play with such intensity that the tension was transmitted to the audience. Benjamin Ellin’s oratorio is able to move the hearts of the listeners and keep alive the memory of the traumatic conditions of the war. The warmth and cordiality with which Benjamin Ellin’s oratorio was received speaks for the openness of the Jena audience….” (Dietmar Ebert. 11/18, Jena).
His Sinfonia No. 1 was performed at the Royal Opera House in London with the Royal Ballet School in 2017 as part of their Summer Showcase, his Violin Sonata has already been commercially recorded and released twice by different artists and his Violin Concerto MIYABI was premiered by the Philharmonia Orchestra in London. Ellin has received several commissions for works inspired by the history and culture of First Nation communities of Alberta, with whom he enjoys a close relationship, for long-time collaborator and esteemed violist Rivka Golani. Ellin has also received commissions from organizations including the Hallé Orchestra, Opera North, Orchestre Chambre D’Auvergne (France), Orchestre de Picardie (France), Shanghai Opera, Trio Chausson, Concordia Foundation, Maison de la Culture (Amiens), the SoWeCa International Festival, and the Fort Macleod International Festival, Canada. In 2020 Ellin received the first British commission for a bass trombone concerto, from Opera North. Gresley was subsequently premiered by bass trombonist Christian Jones and Opera North in October 2021.
A multiple award winner, Ellin was a laureate and was awarded the Public Prize from the inaugural Evgeny Svetlanov International Conducting Competition in 2007. In September 2009 Ellin was awarded the Barlow Endowment Prize for composition, becoming only the second British composer in 25 years to be awarded the prize. The New York Philharmonic’s Principal Trombonist, Joseph Alessi, premiered his subsequent commission for a trombone concerto in April 2012 in the United States. Ellin’s debut composition album, Three States at Play, was released in Spring 2012 to critical acclaim. Tafahum’s debut album Osmosis, featuring almost all Ellin’s own compositions, was released to critical acclaim in April 2016: “…beguilingly scored and intelligently structured…the music constantly evolves. Magical.”
(Graham Rickson, The Arts Desk, April 2016)