How did I get in touch with music
I actually come from an ‘unmusical’ family, no one in my family plays an instrument but anyway my grandparents and parents have always been great music lovers who like to visit concerts of all kinds very often. At the age of two I have been taken to concerts and even musicals, of course I can only remember a fragment of it, but I still know very well that it also triggered my fascination with music. This was reinforced by my Hungarian roots on my grandfather's side as my family and I regularly spent the holidays in Hungary and I felt trapped and attracted by the traditional ‘gypsy music’ (violin, double bass, cymbal, ...) every time. This also led to my parents sending me to early musical education at the age of three, where I quickly realized that the obligatory recorder wasn’t for me at all and I became much more concerned with the drums in the room (bongos, congas, ...). When I finally refused the flute after the second hour the friendly music teacher referred me to my first drum teacher, where the journey and life as a percussionist started.
Why did I choose a career in music
In the imagination of my personal future there was nothing better for me as a child or as a teenager than later turning my hobby and my passion into profession. Nothing has changed in this thought until today. Even if it’s becoming increasingly clear that music has long ceased to be a hobby it remains the most important and extensive part of my life.
What distinguishes me as a musician
I consider myself in my personality – on and off stage - as a very communicative, integrative person, who of course I always try to be on stage. In general, I consider the stage situation to be a very intimate situation, in which based on my emotions I tell my audience something about myself and consciously try to get it out of everyday life. I always want to share my enjoyment of music and - both alone and in collaboration with other musicians - on stage and I have always experienced and perceived music as the only real global language, especially in my numerous international projects that everybody can understand if she/he is listening properly. Music connects because it brings together so many social variety and unites - and it is precisely in this process that I find myself in my personality, driven by a felt inner calling to build bridges and move people through my music.
What do I do if I don't play concerts?
I like to enjoy the time outside my studio and away from the rehearsal room and stage together with my friends and family, and I enjoy doing sports. I primarily like to play tennis and soccer but go-karting, golf and swimming are also my favorite leisure activities; I also follow top sports such as soccer (preferably live, occasionally FC Bayern in the arena). I train in a gym regularly and run official half marathons several times a year, although my personal goal is a complete marathon at some point - but I still see myself as far from that at present.
Due to my interdisciplinary work in professional basketball since 2017 I am of course particularly drawn to this sport which fascinates me more and more - of course because I put it so strongly in context with music. In the near future I will write a dissertation on the individual and collective concepts I have developed and the innovative notation option - so-called ‘playbooks’. I have the clear goal in mind to constructively establish my rhythm-based methods in professional sports as an effective training tool.
Christian Felix Benning is one of the leading percussionists of a young and innovative generation of drummers in Germany and ‘sets off with his ensemble a firework of rhythms and sounds’.
Following successful performances as member of Simone Rubino's Esegesi Percussion Quartet at festivals such as Rheingau, Schleswig-Holstein, Heidelberger Frühling, Musikfest Bremen and La Folle Journée de Nantes, the 24-year-old multi-percussionist started an exceptional solo career. Various solo performances have taken him to the Munich Philharmonie and Allerheiligen-Hofkirche, Beethoven-Haus Bonn, Radialsystem Berlin , Musikverein Graz, Neues Schloss Stuttgart, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe, Goodwin Hall Baltimore, The Abbey San Diego, Opera Port Louis-Mauritius among others.
Christian Benning already founded his own drum ensemble in 2014 which immediately impressed at the first appearances in Munich, Augsburg and Dachau, of the band was only topped by the joy of playing’ (Augsburger Allgemeine). Meanwhile the Christian Benning Percussion Group enraptured audiences in Hamburg, Bremen to name a few. (HamburgMagazin: A star in the drum sky has risen, which will still be heard many times.).https://www.hoertnagel.com/en/touring/tour-portrait/details/christian-benning-percussion-group.html
In addition the very versatile artist has extensive orchestral experience which he gained with the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Munich Bach Orchestra, Franz-Schmidt Chamber Orchestra Vienna at the Ludwigsburg Festival and Audi Sommerkonzerte Ingolstadt under the direction of Kent Nagano, Marin Alsop and Leon Fleisher.
Christian Benning's calendar currently includes invitations to Bayreuth, Trier, Hildesheim, Coesfeld, Teatru Maria Filotti Braila (Romania) Castleton Festival Virginia (USA) and Century Park in Shanghai.
Christian Benning was chosen as a junior student at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Munich with Adel Shalaby at the age of 13 and has won several competitions such as the Marimba-Festiva Competition Nuremberg in 2010. He subsequently completed his studies in the classes of Peter Sadlo and Arnold Riedhammer from 2014 to 2019 with special distinction. In addition, Christian Benning took part in workshops and masterclasses by Martin Grubinger, Evelyn Glennie, Lang Lang and Sir Andras Schiff.
As part of his scholarship from the German National Academic Foundation and the Orlandus-Lassus Foundation Christian Benning completed lately a semester in USA at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore/MD) and at the Yale School of Music (NewHaven/CT) with Robert van Sice.
Here a video of Christian Benning Percussion Group from Herkulessaal Munich with music by J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Thierry de Mey etc. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N6U0xNh8Wjo
Enjoy Christian Benning and his Percussion Group at Elbphilharmonie Hamburg with highlights of their concert in January 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CvgyKIVsyMY
Christian Benning presented a livestream concert from his studio on 29 March.
Here the links:
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The Christian Benning Percussion Group debuts at Bremen Glocke and Hamburg Elbphilharmonie on 2 and 3 January presenting music by J.S.Bach, Gerassimez, Xenakis, Albeniz, Cage, Ravel, Chick Corea among others.
We are pleased to announce to have taken on the representation of multipercussionist Christian Felix Benning. Christian Felix Benning is one of the leading percussionists of a young and innovative generation of drummers in Germany.
Christian Benning's complements instrumental virtuosity, demonstrated with technical precision and finesse, through gentle, graceful play, in which the hall holds its breath with tension and pure emotion. The 24-year-old percussionist from Munich has mastered this balance between perfection and emotion like a master. [...] His eloquent moderation and his video concept with live cameras on and above the stage, which keep changing the perspective and changing thus also made a completely different concert experience possible. […]
A breathtaking arrangement of the famous "Moonlight Sonata" by Beethoven for two marimbas, vibraphone, bass marimba and drum arranged for the Christian Benning Percussion Group by Peter Lawrence, has rocked the audience.
With exuberant playfulness and confident playing techniques, Christian Felix Benning explored all the melodic and dynamic possibilities of each individual instrument and extended them to unprecedentedly innovative effects. He elicited a multi-movement suite of a snare drum by the use of his arms and hands, including various drumsticks, which themselves turned back into sound producers. [...] In the Black Light Theatre he visualized sounds from the playback in a sort of magic show as synchronously as if they were springing from his hands [...] In duos, trios, quartet and quintet formations with hand percussion, lyrical themes from the vibraphone, singing resonances of the marimba to hot samba his percussion group interacted with a sensitive interplay. Two encores for the fully enthusiastic audience.
Münchner Merkur, Thomas Schaffert, 30.10.2019
Christian Benning is one of the most gifted percussion talents
of our time. Whether drum set, marimba or with a solo drum, Benning
convinces with extraordinary playing culture, rousing rhythms and
unbelievable tempo. Together with the four first-rate young professionals,
the ensemble burned a real musical firework with music by Chick Corea,
Iannis Xenakis and Mark Glendworth. [...] Music by J.S. Bach and Mozart's
"Alla turca" finally drew the audience into standing ovations.
Main Post, Stefan Kritzer, 01.05.2019
The exceptional musical talent Christian Benning and his ensemble set off
a firework of rhythms and sounds [...] Like wings of hummingbirds, the
coloured felt sticks of their mallets flutter on the wooden sound bars of
marimba and drums in Nebojša Jovan Živković's Setup trio. [...] In the
German first performance of Paul Lansk's "Treads" every action is timed,
hands easily reach right and left, whirling the drumsticks like machines at
an impressive speed. Benning's colleagues are just as convincing with their
Süddeutsche Zeitung, Petra Neumaier, 10.02.2019
Christian Benning and his percussionists fully exploited
the range of percussion instruments and made the program
very varied. The stylistic variety ranged from arranged classical
pieces to standard works to a threesome played on one drum or
African sounds. [...] The young musicians showed excellent timing,
sense of rhythm, virtuosity and empathy and played with elan and
with a lot of fun at the music. [...] Stormy applause and bravos.
Münchner Merkur, Susanna Morper, 11.07.2016