Christian Benning Percussion

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.

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As a “phenomenon“ (Süddeutsche Zeitung), as a “rhythmic genius“ (ZEIT) and as “replete with elegant perfection“ (Münchner Merkur), the performances of Christian Benning had been commended in many ways. The career of the versatile multi percussionist is in its early stages though.

Following successful performances as member of Simone Rubino's Esegesi Percussion Quartet at renowned festivals Christian Benning has been invited to Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Philharmonie München, Allerheiligen-Hofkirche München, Glocke Bremen, Bonn Beethoven-Haus, Graz Musikverein, Neues Schloss Stuttgart, Zentrum für Kunst und Medien Karlsruhe, Festival Les Musicales d ́Orient in France, Goodwin Hall Baltimore, The Abbey San Diego, Opera Port Louis-Mauritius among others. Upcoming highlights include tours to Italy, Spain and China.

Christian Benning already founded his own drum ensemble Christian Benning Percussion Group in 2014 which immediately impressed at the first appearances in Munich, Augsburg and Dachau, whereby ‘the precision of the band was only topped by the joy of playing’ (Augsburger Allgemeine).

In addition Benning has an extensive orchestral experience which he gained at Audi Sommerkonzerte Ingolstadt with Kent Nagano, Munich Philharmonic, Munich Chamber Orchestra, Heilbronn Chamber Orchestra, Franz-Schmidt Chamber Orchestra Vienna, Bayerische Philharmonie and Munich Percussion Ensemble among others.

Christian Benning is also an active composer and producer. Since 2019 he is official artist of Meinl Cymbals, Meinl Percussion, Meinl Stick&Brush, Studio49 Royal Percussion, AlternateMode and SchlagZu. For his performances he is additionally appareled by Etnia and van Laack.

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.

Season 2021/22

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News

Christian Benning: Solo performance in Dachau

The multipercussionist Christian Benning presents a solo performance in Dachau, Ludwig-Thoma-Haus on 18 and 30 May with music by Iannis Xenakis, Isaac Albeniz,

Mark Glentworth, Casey Cangelosi, Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic, Wolfgang Reifeneder as well as own compositions and arrangements.

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Christian Benning Percussion Group: video

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

Christian Benning Percussion Group at Elbphilharmonie

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: Livestream concert on 29 March

Christian Benning presented a livestream concert from his studio on 29 March.
Here the links:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMBPUi0pw4s
https://www.instagram.com/christianbenningpercussion/

https://www.facebook.com/christian.benning.3

Enjoy watching!

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Christian Benning Percussion Group

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.

New signing: Christian Felix Benning

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.

Press

  • Dancing Rumba with Beethoven in Havanna

    The musicians are playing the 2nd movement from Beethoven's 7th Symphony with finely tuned dynamics and chamber music quality, but also let the dance temperament glow authentically implementing enthusiastically Joachim Horsley's Beethoven in Havana. The ensemble also fascinates with contemporary drum music. […] Casey Cagelosi's Bad touch is the only visual thing in the darkened room. Christian Benning moves his hands and stick in a virtuoso pantomime to a playback with rhythmic noises. Very impressive. […] Thierry de Mey's Musique de table is an acoustic and optical pleasure in a class of its own. Standing ovations and loud cheers.

    Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung, Claus-Ulrich Heinke, 13.10.2020

  • Beethoven dared quite differently

    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.

    www.hamburg-magazin.de, 22.01.2020

  • Fireworks of sound with Christian Benning & Percussion Group

    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

  • A drum roll for Bach

    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

     

     

  • Four musicians, 100 instruments

    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
    precision.

    Süddeutsche Zeitung, Petra Neumaier, 10.02.2019

  • Benning lets the drums dance

    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

Programmes

Solo programme 1 (70')Iannis Xenakis (1922-2001): Rebonds B for multipercussion
Eric Sammut (*1968): Four Rotations for Marimba: I + IV
Wolfgang Reifeneder (*1960): Crossover for snare drum
Nebojsa Jovan Zivković (*1962): Suomineito for vibraphone
Christian Benning (*1995): Footsteps for drumset
The Beatles/Toru Takemitsu: Yesterday for marimba
Dante Agostini (1921-1980): Le Train for snare drum
Mark Glentworth (*1958): Blues For Gilbert for vibraphone
Casey Cangelosi (*1980): Bad Touch (Playback/Tape)
Isaac Albeniz (1860-1909)/Benning: Asturias for marimba
Solo programme 2Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic: Ilijas for marimbaphone
Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic: Suomineito for vibraphone
Askell Masson: Frum for Set-up
Jacob ter Veldhuis: Barracuda for marimbaphone and multipercussion
Dante Agostini: Le Train for snare drum
The Beatles/Toru Takemitsu: Yesterday for marimbaphone
Christian Benning: Drumsolo for drumset
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Isaac Albeniz/Benning: Asturias for marimbaphone
Wolfgang Reifeneder: Crossover for snare drum
Miki Minoru: Time For Marimba for marimbaphone
Casey Cangelosi: Bad Touch (Performance/Playback)
Mark Glentworth: Blues For Gilbert for vibraphone
Iannis Xenakis: Rebonds B for Set-up
Solo programme 3Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic: Ilijas for marimbaphone
Iannis Xenakis: Rebonds B for Set-up
Minoru Miki: Time for marimbaphone
Eliott Carter: Eight Pieces for Four Timpani
Dante Agostini: Le Train for snare drum
Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic: Suomineito for vibraphone
Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic/Benning: To The Gods of Rhythm for djembe, narration and drumset
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Nebojsa Jovan Zivkovic/Benning: Trio Per Uno for Set-up
Isaac Albeniz/Benning: Suite Espagnola for marimbaphone
Wolfgang Reifeneder: Crossover for snare drum
The Beatles/Toru Takemitsu: Yesterday for marimbaphone
Casey Cangelosi: Bad Touch (Playback/Tape)
Mark Glentworth: Blues For Gilbert for vibraphone
Christian Felix Benning: Footsteps for drumset
Repertoire with orchestraEmmanuel Sejourné: Concerto for vibraphone
Ney Rosauro: Concerto for marimba
Satoshi Yagisawa: Concerto for marimba
Ferran Cruixent: Concerto for percussion „Focs d’Artifici“
Dorothea Hofmann: Concerto for vibraphone „Sehnsucht“
Enjott Schneider: Concerto for percussion (first performance 2021/22)

In planning:

Tan Dun: “Tears of Nature“
Tobias Broström: “Arena”
Avner Dorman: “Frozen in Time”
 

Repertoire

Repertoire with orchestra:
Tobias Broström: Concerto for Percussion „Arena“
Ferran Cruixent: Concerto for Percussion „Focs d’Artifici“
Avner Dorman: Concerto for Percussion „Frozen in Time“
Tan Dun: Concerto for Percussion „Tears of Nature“
Dorothea Hofman: Concerto for Vibraphone „Sehnsucht“ (world premiere 2021)
Ney Rosauro: Concerto for Marimba
Emmanuel Séjourné: Concerto for Vibraphone Satoshi Yagisawa: Concerto for Marimba