Benjamin Mellefont, Clarinet
Benjamin Mellefont was born in Sydney, Australia, where his first clarinet teachers were Catherine McCorkill and Francesco Celata. He was appointed as Principal Clarinet of the London Philharmonic Orchestra in 2019, having previously held the same position with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, with whom he appeared as a concerto soloist. He is also in demand as Guest Principal Clarinet with orchestras such as the Philharmonia, Royal Philharmonic, English National Opera, Aurora, Northern Sinfonia, London Sinfonietta, Sydney Symphony and John Wilson Orchestra. He has played at the Salzburg, Edinburgh and Aldeburgh Festivals.
A keen proponent of contemporary music, Benjamin has been a core and founding member of Explore Ensemble since 2012, with whom he has been involved in numerous premieres and commissions. The group is invited annually to the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and in 2019 Benjamin gave the UK premiere with them of Saariaho’s ‘Figura’ for solo clarinet and ensemble at Kings Place.
He is also a core member of Ensemble Vindeleia, a collective that meets bi-annually in La Rioja, Spain, to present chamber music to remote villages of the region. He is regularly invited to play in chamber music festivals across the UK.
Benjamin graduated in 2015 from the Royal College of Music with First Class Honours as the Tegner Scholar, having studied with Barnaby Robson, Richard Hosford, Timothy Lines and Michael Collins. Whilst at the RCM he won the Concerto Competition and the Clarinet Prize. He trained with the Australian Youth Orchestra and the Britten-Pears Young Artist Program. Also a committed teacher, Benjamin has been invited to give classes and examine at the Royal College of Music, Royal Academy of Music, and Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
When not playing clarinet, he is interested in playing chess, producing electronic music and occasionally moonlighting as a barista in London coffee shops and markets.