François Benda was born in Brazil, but his musical roots are in Europe. François Benda’s international career began in 1988, when he debuted as a clarinet soloist at Zurich’s prestigious concert venue Tonhalle and at the Victoria Hall in Geneva. 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 (Berlin’s Philharmonie, the Musikverein in Vienna, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall London, the Tonhalle in Zurich) and appears as clarinet soloist with all leading orchestras. François Benda regularly appears as a guest artist at music festivals such as the Pablo Casals Festival, the Berliner Festwochen, Styriarte, Musicades Lyon, and the Pentecost Concerts in Ittingen, Switzerland. He appears in chamber concert recitals with Heinz Holliger, Paul Badura-Skoda, Bruno Giuranna, Isabelle Faust, Josef Silverstein and Bruno Canino. He’s also a member of the Benda Musicians, the Weimar Soloists and the Variazioni Ensemble.
His comprehensive discography (for ECM, Fono, Pantheon, EPU, Hänssler und Genuin) includes also the clarinet concertos by Nielsen, Debussy, Busoni, and Rossini and, most recently albums with the complete Schumann works and complete Brahms works. François Benda’s intensive study of recent instrument making developments led to the founding of the Clarinartis Company, in collaboration with instrument makers René Hagmann and Jochen Seggelke. His broad repertoar has been enriched in collaboration with contemporary composers Krzysztof Penderecki, Heinz Holliger, Elliott Carter, Luciano Berio, Georg Friedrich Haas, Wolfgang von Schweinitz and Bernhard Lang. In addition to his solo career, François Benda is one of the most highly sought after Professors of Clarinet. He teaches at the Hochschule für Musik der Stadt Basel and at the Conservatorio della Svizzera italiana in Lugano.