Born in Brazil, François Benda comes from a long line of professional musicians. He completed his studies in Graz and Geneva (clarinet, composition, conducting) and gave his solo debut in 1988 at Zurich’s Tonhalle and at the Victoria Hall in Geneva. The Neue Zürcher Zeitung (NZZ) published the following review: “His playing moved with authority between just barely perceptible pianissimi and dramatic, nearly ecstatic crescendi and was brilliant at every moment.”
In 1991 François Benda was awarded the “Premio internationale per le Arti dello Spettaccolo” in Rome. Today François Benda performs at all the important music venues (Berliner Philharmonie, Wiener Musikverein, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, the Wigmore Hall London, Herkulessaal München, Kölner Philharmonie, Tonhalle Zürich) and appears as a clarinet soloist with many leading orchestras (Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln, Sinfonieorchester Basel, and the Wiener Kammerphilharmonie). François Benda is a highly sought-after performing artist both as a soloist and chamber music partner and regularly appears as a guest artist at music festivals such as the Berliner Festwochen, Styriarte, Musicades Lyon, and the Pentecost Concerts in Ittingen, Switzerland. He performs in chamber concert recitals with Heinz Holliger, Paul Badura-Skoda, Bruno Giuranna, Isabelle Faust, Josef Silverstein, and Bruno Canino.
His comprehensive discography (for labels such as ECM, Fono, Pantheon, EPU, Hänssler and GENUIN) includes the complete work for clarinet by Johannes Brahms, works for clarinet and orchestra by Nielsen, Debussy, Busoni and Rossini and a CD of French clarinet music. François Benda is able to move easily between classical concert repertoire and contemporary music both as a clarinettist (cooperation, premieres and rst performances of works by Heinz Holliger, Elliott Carter, Luciano Berio, Krystof Penderecki, Bernhard Lang, Wolfgang von Schweinitz, Georg F. Haas and Bernhard Lang) as well as with an increasing number of appearances as conductor. In addition to his solo career, François Benda is also professor at the Universität der Künste in Berlin and teaches at the Hochschule für Musik in Basel.