Benjamin Appl



Hailed as ‘the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists’ (Financial Times), baritone Benjamin Appl is celebrated by audiences and critics alike for a voice that ‘belongs to the last of the old great masters of song’ with ‘an almost infinite range of colours’ (Suddeutsche Zeitung), ‘exacting attention to text’ (New York Times), and artistry that’s described as ‘unbearably moving’ (The Times). Named Gramophone Award Young Artist of the Year in 2016, Appl was a member of the BBC New Generation Artist scheme from 2014-16, as well as a Wigmore Hall Emerging Artist and ECHO Rising Star for the 2015-16 season, appearing at major venues throughout Europe, including the Barbican Centre London, Concertgebouw Amsterdam, Wiener Konzerthaus, Philharmonie Paris and Cologne and the Laeiszhalle Hamburg. He signed exclusively to SONY Classical in May 2016.

Appl started in music as a young chorister at the renowned Regensburger Domspatzen, later continuing his studies at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and eventually at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in London. He had the good fortune of being mentored by the legendary singer Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau. Appl says, ‘my years of working with Fischer-Dieskau were invaluable and had a hugely formative influence on me. He is an inspiration – someone who is always searching and seeking a deeper understanding of music and of life. He was a role model for how to prosper as an artist, never just delivering, but each time creating.’

Appl is increasingly in demand on the world’s most prestigious stages, collaborating with ensembles such as the NHK Symphony Orchestra, Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Staatskapelle Dresden, Philharmonia Orchestra, Seattle Symphony, Vienna Symphony, Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin, Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich, Hamburg Ballet, Academy of Ancient Music, Gabrieli Players & Consort, Les Violons du Roy, Concerto Köln, and with multiple BBC orchestras. He made his BBC Proms debut in September 2015 singing Brahms’ Triumphlied with Marin Alsop and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment.

An established recitalist, he has performed at the Ravinia, Rheingau, Schleswig Holstein, Edinburgh International, Life Victoria Barcelona, Leeds Lieder and Oxford Lieder festivals, deSingel Antwerp, Heidelberger Frühling, and at the KlavierFestival Ruhr. He has performed at major concert venues including Festspielhaus Baden-Baden, Het Concertgebouw, Amsterdam, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg and the Musée de Louvre, Paris, in addition to which he is a regular recitalist at Wigmore Hall and at the Schubertiade Hohenems and Schwarzenberg. He works closely with pianists Graham Johnson and James Baillieu.

Appl is equally sought for his work in oratorio; notable past works include Bach’s Magnificat, St John Passion and St Matthew Passion, Brahms’ Ein deutsches Requiem, Händel’s The Messiah, Haydn’s The Creation and Britten’s War Requiem. In 2017 he performed in the internationally televised ZDF Adventskonzert concert at the Dresden Frauenkirche with the Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann.

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Recent News

Benjamin Appl Embarks on First U.S. Recital Tour

German baritone Benjamin Appl, hailed as “the current front-runner in the new generation of Lieder singers,” by Gramophone magazine, has embarked on his first U.S. recital tour with pianist James Baillieu. As featured in The New York Times: Rising Baritone: The Week...


“Mr. Appl presented a masterly account of “Die Schöne Müllerin.” He had the exacting attention to text of an actor, the charisma of a seasoned storyteller and an agile voice that […] shows promise not only for this week’s remaining concerts, but also for what I hope to be more appearances here in the years ahead.
The youthful Mr. Appl, with wide eyes and animated dimples, looked every bit the part of Müller’s Romantic hero. 
The way he navigated the song’s transformation, from disappointment to obsession, was so gripping and troublingly real, I heard people all around me exhale afterward, as if Mr. Appl had rendered them breathless.”

Schubert’s “Die Schöne Müllerin”, Park Avenue Armory, New-York, January 2019

Joshua Barone

The New York Times

“And Ed Lyon and Benjamin Appl, the last pupil of Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, for whom Britten wrote this baritone part, were remarkable. Every word of Owen’s text was clear, every note and phrase sung with the “utmost beauty, intensity and sincerity” that the composer required. From luminous duet to flashback frenzies, their Parable of the Old Man and the Young was unbearably moving.”

Britten’s War Requiem, RLPO and NDR Radiophilharmonie, November 2018

Rebecca Franks

The Times

“Appl is not only a singer of boundless promise, he is already a great artist. This disc shows how versatile he is, with not only great Lieder but interesting rarities too. Appl was Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau’s last pupil, but his singing is firmly based in legato, and the expression comes through the music, whereas Fischer-Dieskau often seemed to apply it from outside. Appl sounds as if singing is his most natural mode of expression; and since he has an extraordinarily beautiful voice, there should be decades of happiness as he continues to expand his repertoire.”

Heimat, June 2017

Michael Tanner

BBC Music Magazine

“Benjamin Appl’s Stimme klang wie eine von denen, die man zuletzt bei den großen Alten des Liedgesangs gehört zu haben glaubte: bequem in der Sprechlage liegend und doch zu weichsten Höhen fähig, viril, aber nie machohaft tönend, sensible, aber nie geschmäcklerisch säuselnd. Appl scheint über eine fast unendlich auffächerbare Bandbreite von Farben zu verfügen, mit denen er jedes einzelne Wort je nach Kontext zu nuancieren vermag.”

Benjamin Appl’s voice sounds like he belongs to the last of the old great masters of song: comfortable in the lower register, yet capable of the most delicate heights; virile, but never macho, sensitive, but never affectedly whispering. Appl seems to have an almost infinite range of colours, with which he can imbue every single word according to the context.”

February 2017

Michael Stallknecht

Süddeutsche Zeitung

“The voice has burnished, oaky, beauty as well as considerable sweetness, while the interpretations are suffused with a gentle intelligence, an instinct for unforced but direct communication and what feels like a real love for the repertoire.”

“Heimat” March 2017

Hugo Shirley

Gramophone Magazine

More Reviews

“In dynastic terms the young German baritone Benjamin Appl is lieder royalty.”

Alexandra Coghlan, The Spectator

“Appl’s is a noble baritone, and with the purling pianism of Johnson, he creates a love-song of cool ecstasy to both poet and composer in “Am Bach im Frühling”. Appl’s close verbal communication energises his declamation in the transfiguration of “Verklarung”, the defiant address to death of “An den Tod”, and the invocation to the classical gods in “An die Leier.”

Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine

“There is much to admire in Appl’s and Johnson’s thoughtful and chilling account of Der Zwerg.”

Hilary Finch, BBC Music Magazine

“Der samtig schöne, ebenmäßige Bariton von Appl ist bestens geeignet, den Hörer auf wundersame Weise in den Bann zu schlagen. Die Faszination, die von seinem Gesang ausgeht, ist enorm.”

“Appl’s velvety, smooth baritone is wonderfully suited to surprise the listener in a miraculous way. The fascination of his singing is enormous.”


“Appl’s suave, light baritone is ideally suited to this repertory. Indeed, he is an example to most of his contemporaries in this respect, and British lieder singers could learn from him.”

Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

 “Appl trägt einen Schwarz glänzenden Anzug zum offenen, ebenfalls schwarzen Hemd. Und könnte ein Boss-Model sein. Ist er aber nicht, sondern er singt, Schuberts “Winterreise”. Das Publikum – bunter, diversifizierter, kenntnisreicher, enthusiastischer findet man es in der deutschen Hauptstadt kaum – hängt an seinen Lippen, von “Fremd bin ich eingezogen” bis zum finale “Willst zu meinen Liedern / Deine Leier dreh’n?”. Appl kann das: Menschen mit seinem Gesang bannen. Das ist keinen Moment altmodisch oder verstaubt bildungsbürgerlich, sondern spannend heutig, universell menschlich. Vorbildlich ist Benjamin Appl’s Textausdeutung, er zeiht sein Gegenüber unmittelbar in seinen Vortrag hinein, kann dramatisch gestalten.”

“Appl is wearing a black shiny suit to begin, with a black shirt. He could be a model for Hugo Boss. But since he is not, he sings, Schubert’s “Winterreise”. The audience – colorful, diverse, knowledgeable, enthusiastic – as one can hardly find in the German capital – hangs from his lips, from “Fremd bin ich ich eingezogen” to the final “Willst zu meinen Liedern / Deine Leier dreh’n?”. Appl can do this: he bewitches people with his singing. This is not an old-fashioned moment, or a dusty education, but excitingly current, universally human.  Benjamin Appl’s interpretation of the text is exemplary, he draws his audience into his performance, creating the drama.”

Manuel Brug, Die Welt

“Benjamin Appl is the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists.”

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

“The soloist, the young German baritone Benjamin Appl, has a vocal presence so arresting it almost seems hypnotic. His voice has something of the effect of a person with a physical beauty you just can’t tear your eyes away from.”

Michael Dervan, Irish Times

“Wenn Benjamin Appl Schubert oder Schumann singt, fühlt man sich gleich nach den ersten Takten an die große Zeit des deutschen Kunstlieds erinnert, an Aufnahmen Fritz Wunderlichs oder des jungen Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.”

“When Benjamin Appl sings Schubert or Schumann, one is immediately reminded, after the first few bars, of the time of the great German artists; of recordings of Fritz Wunderlich or the young Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau.”

LEO Magazin, Die Zeit

“…the 129th performance of Handel’s oratorio by the Edinburgh Royal Choral Union may be chiefly remembered for the debut of German baritone and BBC New Generation Artist Benjamin Appl, a real talent of power, confidence and exemplary diction who delivered his first aria, “The people that walked in darkness”, in Schubertian style and continued to treat the score’s most operatic moments as Lieder.”

Keith Bruce, Scotland Herald

“Es ist wohltuend, dass Appl sich nicht zu jenem gefühligen Tonfall herlässt, der die Grenze zwischen Süße (oder Innigkeit) und Sentimentalität (oder Pathos) überschreitet. Die Texte artikuliert er mit großer Prägnanz, als Wahlengländer auch in den Liedern von Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams und Peter Warlock. Mit bemerkenswertem Geschick bildet Appl wie früher Fischer-Dieskau und heute Christian Gerhaher sehr schön gemischte Töne schon in der höheren Mittellage.”

“It is beneficial that Appl does not go for that sentimental tone that transcends the boundary between sweetness (or intimacy) and sentimentality (or pathos). The lyrics are articulated with great conciseness, as the English do also in the songs of Britten, Ralph Vaughan Williams and Peter Warlock. With remarkable skill, Appl, as in former times Fischer-Dieskau did, and now Christian Gerhaher, forms very beautifully mixed tones already in the higher middle register.”

Jürgen Kesting, Opernwelt

“Benjamin Appl is the most promising of today’s up-and-coming song recitalists.”

Richard Fairman, Financial Times

“Appl verfügt über eine individuell timbrierte und vor allem homogen geführte Baritonstimme. Er berührt mit ungekünstelter Schlichtheit, er hat die dunklen Töne die Gänsehaut zu erzeugen vermögen und die musikalischen Mittel, um ein komplexes Gebilde zur poetischen Verdichtung eines existenziellen, menschlichen Bedürfnisses zu formen. Er geht liebevoll und vor allem selbstverständlich mit Sprache um.”

Appl has an individual timbre and, above all, smoothly blended baritone voice. His touch has unpretentious simplicity; he has dark colours that can produce goose bumps, and the musical means to create a complex structure for the poetic expression of an existential human need. He performs lovingly and above all with understanding of the language.”

Andreas Falentin, Concerti