Ben Palmer is Artistic Director of OSP (the Orchestra of St Paul's) and chamber choir The Syred Consort, and is in demand as a guest conductor throughout the UK and abroad. Acclaimed for his innovative and imaginative programming, he is increasingly gaining recognition as an inspiring and versatile conductor. During the 2016/17 season he will make his debuts with the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, the BBC Singers (a live broadcast as part of Pass the Baton, celebrating the BBC performing groups), the Orquestra Clássica do Sul and the Janus Ensemble, act as rehearsal conductor for Bernard Haitink, and return to conduct the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, Oxford University Orchestra and the Royal College of Music Classical Orchestra. His recent guest conducting work includes appearances with Aurora Orchestra, the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, the Deutsche Philharmonie Merck, the Royal College of Music Classical Orchestra (replacing Sir Roger Norrington at short notice), the RCM Philharmonic, the London Mozart Players, Southern Sinfonia, the Kazakh State Chamber Orchestra and the Kharkov Philharmonic Orchestra. Other orchestras he has conducted include the Gabrieli Consort & Players and Wroclaw Baroque Orchestra (whilst acting as assistant to Paul McCreesh for a recording of Haydn’s The Seasons), Britten Sinfonia and Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. Since 2011 he has worked closely with Sir Roger Norrington, acting as his assistant conductor for concerts, recordings, on tour and at the BBC Proms.
Ben Palmer has made a speciality of conducting films live to screen, with performances of Casablanca, Hitchcock’s Psycho, Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush, Peter and the Wolf, and The Snowman, in venues such as the Royal Festival Hall, the Roundhouse, the Queen Elizabeth Hall, the Purcell Room, and Barbican Centre’s Milton Court. Future film-with-orchestra engagements include the premieres of London Symphony, a new silent film by Alex Barrett with music by James McWilliam, and Neil Brand’s new score for Hitchcock’s The Lodger, Laura Rossi’s The Battle of the Somme, and further screenings of The Snowman.
In 2015 he released a critically acclaimed disc of music for strings with OSP, featuring premiere recordings of Elgar, Malcolm Arnold and Robert Simpson. His recent CD of music by Antonio Lotti with The Syred Consort and OSP was chosen as the BBC Radio 3 Record Review Disc of the Week, and entered the Specialist Classical Chart at No. 2. He is principal conductor of London Haydn Project, musical director of Aylesbury Symphony Orchestra and Woking Choral Society, and is regularly invited to work with some of the UK’s leading amateur orchestras. His opera work includes productions of Le nozze di Figaro, Così fan tutte, Die Zauberflöte, L’enfant et les sortilèges, Dido and Aeneas, and Die Fledermaus.
In addition to his work as a conductor, Ben Palmer is in demand as a composer, arranger and orchestrator. Recent commissions include the Deutsches Kammerorchester Berlin, the Haydn Society of Great Britain, Woking Choral Society, the English Music Festival and London Russian Ballet School. His music has been performed by such ensembles as Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, the City of London Sinfonia and the Fibonacci Sequence, in venues including the Royal Albert Hall, Cadogan Hall and St John’s Smith Square, and as far afield as South Korea.
A trumpeter and composer by training, he studied music at the University of Birmingham, graduating with first class honours in 2003. He stayed on at Birmingham to complete an MPhil in composition with Vic Hoyland, before moving to London in 2005 to study at the Royal Academy of Music with Simon Bainbridge. He is more than halfway through his lifetime ambition to conduct all 107 Haydn symphonies.