"[Hewat-Craw] has an impressive range, but although some of the more reflective passages in his upper register were hauntingly beautiful, there was more drama lower down. There was considerable power too and ...richness here in both tone and dynamics giving the performance an intensity and real sense of drama."
The Fine Times Recorder
Having been told a move to Germany would be “too risky” and “too early in his career”, British Baritone Benjamin Hewat-Craw defied convention and moved from Dorset to Deutschland at the age of 22 and has been living and working as a freelance musician in Cologne for the past six years. The English-born singer “possesses a flexible, richly coloured baritone voice as well as exemplary clear diction" Rheinische Post (2020) and he released his critically-acclaimed debut album of Schubert’s Winterreise with the label ARS Produktion in September 2020. His specialisation in Art Song has taken him to venues such as the Beethovenhaus Chambermusic Hall, Cologne Philharmonie and Düsseldorf Tonhalle and has allowed him to work with collaborative pianists such as Michael Gees, Helmut Deutsch and Yuhao Guo.
Highlights this year include recording his second CD of English Song ‘Never Such Innocence Again’ which will include repertoire composed exclusively in the decade before the First World War. He will also feature as Dr. Miracle in a CD recording of Hoffmannchen - an arrangement of Tales of Hoffmann for children with the Opernwerkstatt am Rhein. Benjamin is also very kindly supported by the Werner Richard - Dr. Carl Dörken Stiftung and through their contacts will be performing in a variety of locations in North Rhine Westphalia including DA Kunsthaus Gravenhorst and Bürgermeisterhaus Essen. Planned are also recitals of Franz Schubert’s Winterreise in Hamburg, Berlin and Luxembourg as part of their postponed CD presentation tour due to Corona. The baritone will be performing as a soloist in the Düsseldorf Tonhalle once again in May this year.
Despite the Corona pandemic which so strongly affected the concert landscape of 2020, Benjamin managed to still fit in a number of song recitals including a performance of Winterreise at DA Kunsthaus Gravenhorst and a programme of Schumann at Theater Mönchengladbach. He also took part in a concert performance of Cosi fan tutte as the fiery lover Guglielmo. The baritone took time during the pandemic to improve his improvisations which has borne fruit with three concerts in the following year dedicated to this new art of classical performance. 2019 was an understandably more fruitful year - the highlights of which included a role debut as the manipulative general Junius in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia, a debut in the Cologne Philharmonie as the baritone soloist in Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia of Christmas Carols, and many lieder recitals in the UK and Germany.
From 2015-2018, Benjamin studied at the conservatoire in Cologne, Germany, with Christoph Prégardien, one of the leading Lieder singers of his generation. He now studies with Lioba Braun and receives regular guidance from Josef Loibl in Munich. Benjamin has had successful masterclasses with a number of Lied specialists including Sir Thomas Allen, from whom he gleamed the importance of a warm vocal tone. Helmut Deutsch impressed upon him the importance of stresses in the German language and Wolfgang Holzmair revealed the beauty of a spellbinding piano dynamic. Roderick Williams encouraged the simplicity and relaxed nature of expression and Ulrich Eisenlohr the exactitude of the German language. Awards have included a first prize in the Lions' Club Cologne Lied Competition with Yuhao Guo and third prize in the International Organ and Voice Competition 2018 in Neuss, Germany with George Warren.
"With an instinctive sureness he captured the different moods of the songs: sometimes sad, at times contemplative, then again high-spirited and cheerful."