George Benjamin is fourth Roche Commissions composer

1 September 2006

Basel, 1 September 2006 George Benjamin is fourth Roche Commissions composer World premiere of the third Roche Commissions composition by Hanspeter Kyburz Tomorrow morning, Roche will present the commission for the fourth work in the Roche Commissions series to the British composer and conductor George Benjamin. A presentation ceremony will be held at Roche Forum Buonas near Lucerne to commence the fourth round of this innovative cultural project. George Benjamin’s work will be performed as a world premiere on 30 August 2008 at the Lucerne Culture and Convention Centre (KKL) as part of the Lucerne Festival Summer. It will have its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall in the following concert season. Commenting on the commissioning, Roche Chairman and CEO Franz B. Humer said, ‘I am delighted that the fourth Roche Commissions project is being presented to such an outstanding and gifted musician. Roche has selected the British composer and conductor George Benjamin together with our partners, Lucerne Festival, Carnegie Hall and The Cleveland Orchestra. His visit to Roche made a lasting impression on both sides. Our scientists were surprised to learn that George Benjamin’s main subjects in school, besides music, were mathematics and chemistry, and an animated dialogue ensued as a result.’ George Benjamin, born in 1960, has close ties to the French music community. He was one of Olivier Messiaen’s last students, studied piano under Messiaen’s wife, Yvonne Loriod, and later accepted Pierre Boulez' s invitation to work at the IRCAM (Institut de Recherche et Coordination Acoustique/Musique), a laboratory in Paris dedicated to the study of traditional and electronic music. At the age of 20, the youngest composer in the annals of the BBC Proms, he caused a sensation with one of his early works. Today, he is a celebrated star of contemporary music. The third Roche Commissions project was awarded last year to the Swiss composer Hanspeter Kyburz, whose new work ‘touché’ will be performed tomorrow evening as a world premiere at the Lucerne Festival in the city’s Culture and Convention Centre. It will be premiered in New York at Carnegie Hall on 5 October 2006. Roche Commissions Under its Roche Commissions programme, Roche regularly commissions work from outstanding composers of contemporary music. The composers are selected by Roche based on recommendations by the artistic directors of the Lucerne Festival, Carnegie Hall and The Cleveland Orchestra. Each commissioned work is premiered at the Lucerne Festival Summer in a performance by The Cleveland Orchestra, conducted by Franz Welser-Möst, and has its New York premiere at Carnegie Hall during the following concert season. About Roche Headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, Roche is one of the world’s leading research-focused healthcare groups in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diagnostics. As a supplier of innovative products and services for the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease, the Group contributes on a broad range of fronts to improving people’s health and quality of life. Roche is a world leader in diagnostics, the leading supplier of medicines for cancer and transplantation and a market leader in virology. Roche employs some 70,000 people in 150 countries. In addition to its active involvement in humanitarian projects, Roche has a long history of supporting the arts, particularly modern classical music and modern visual arts. Mario Botta’s Museum Tinguely in Basel, the intercontinental contemporary music project Roche Commissions, and Roche’n’Jazz are three examples of Roche’s cultural engagement. Additional information about the Roche Group is available on the Internet ( Further information Lucerne Festival: The Cleveland Orchestra: Carnegie Hall: Roche Group Media Office Phone: +41 -61 688 8888 / e-mail: Baschi Dürr Alexander Klauser Daniel Piller (Head of Roche Group Media Office) Katja Prowald (Head of R&D Communications) Martina Rupp