The English tenor, Ben Johnson, studied at the Royal College of Music graduating with First Class Honours in 2006, and at the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. He won the First Prize at the 2008 Kathleen Ferrier awards, the first out-right male winner for 13 years and achieved much success at the RCM including winning the Lieder Prize, English Song Prize and the singer's prize at the Gerald Moore Award as well as a prize at the Wigmore Hall International Song Competition.
Ben Johnson is in demand as an oratorio soloist around the UK and Europe. He has worked with such conductors as Sir Charles Mackerras, Harry Bicket, Peter Schreier, Andrew Parrott and Neil Thompson. He works regularly with the London Mozart Players; most recently taking part in the world premiere of Lynn Plowmann’s Cries Like Silence and also gave three performances of Plowmann’s cycle for tenor and strings The Star Gazer with them. He made his debut singing Edward Elgar's The Dream of Gerontius with the National Philharmonic of Lithuania and has recently sung George Frideric Handel’s Messiah with the English Chamber Orchestra at Cadogan Hall and at the Hexagon in Reading, J.S. Bach’s B minor Mass (BWV 232) at the Three Choirs Festival and G.F. Handel’s Samson with Harry Bicket in his BBC Proms debut.
In 2005 Ben Johnson made his operatic debut in G.F. Handel's Rodelinda for Opera de Baugé and returned in 2006 to sing his first Don Ottavio. In September 2007 he played the title role in BYO's acclaimed production of Albert Herring and sang his first Tom Rakewell in the BBIOS production of The Rake’s Progress. Other recent engagements have included his debut with Scottish Opera as Tonik in Smetena's The Two Widows, Aceste in Ascanio in Alba at Kings Place with the Classical Opera Company, the world premiere of Das Babylonexperiment by Matthew King at the Internationales KammermusikFestival Nürnberg (September 2007) and covering roles in English National Opera’s Dido & Aeneas and Glyndebourne’s The Fairy Queen. In September 2008 he joined the National Opera Studio.
A committed recitalist, he enjoys a partnership with pianist James Southall and recent highlights have also included a recital with Roger Vignoles at the Gergiev Festival in Rotterdam, with James Southall at the Chelsea Schubert Festival, a Schubert programme with Iain Burnside at Kings Place Hall, an appearance at the Wigmore Hall and at the Herten Mendelssohn Festival, Essen both with Graham Johnson, and recitals in Aldeburgh and Aix-en-Provence with Malcolm Martineau.
Engagements in the 2009-2010 season included Wozzeck in concert with the Philharmonia Orchestra and Esa-Pekka Salonen at the Royal Festival Hall and the Théâtre de Champs Elysée, Benjamin Britten’s Les Illuminations with the Orchestra of Scottish Opera under Francesco Corti, his debut with the Opéra de Lyon, Novice Billy Budd in a new production conducted by Sir Mark Elder at Glyndebourne, Haydn’s Harmoniemesse at the Aldeburgh Festival, Evangelist in J.S. Bach’s St Matthew Passion (BWV 244) with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in Norway under Nicholas Kraemer.
Ben Johnson is currently an associate artist of the Classical Opera Company and for the last two years he has studied with the tenor Tim Evans-Jones, with whom he continues to work.