Born in 1993 in California, Benjamin Lai started cello lessons at the age of four with Michail Gelfandbein, a former pupil of Rostropovich. In 2002, he moved to New York City, where he studied at the Juilliard Pre-College with Andre Emelianoff and also took lessons from Nathaniel Rosen and David Soyer. In 2003 he was selected as one of the two cellists who had the honor of playing for Mstislav Rostropovich at the Grammy event “Classical Music Luncheon - Honoring Mstislav Rostropovich”. In the following years, Benjamin deepened his musical training with Chu Yu-Bing, Wen-Sinn Yang and Michel Strauss. From 2007 to 2012 Benjamin was a student of Jens Peter Maintz at the Julius-Stern-Institute of the University of the Arts Berlin. As of September 2013 until 2016, Benjamin has the privilege of studying with Heinrich Schiff at the University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna. Since October 2016 he is studying with Julian Steckel at the Conservatory of Music and Drama Rostock. Benjamin Lai drew further inspiration from masterclasses with Richard Aaron, Peter Bruns, David Geringas, Natalia Gutman, Yehudi Hanani, Yo-Yo Ma, Truls Mørk, Arto Noras, Miklos Perenyi, Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, Janos Starker, Troels Svane and Frans Helmerson.
Benjamin Lai has won numerous prizes at international competitions. In 2006 he won the first prize at the International David Popper Competition in Varpalota, Hungary and in 2009 he was awarded the second prize and the special prize for the best interpretation of the obligatory contemporary piece at the 4th International Dotzauer Competition for Young Cellists in Dresden. In 2012 he was awarded the first audience prize as well as the Charles-Ives-Prize for an innovative interpretation of a 20th or 21st-century work at the Tonali Grand Prix in Hamburg. As the winner of the 11th "TSO Star of Tomorrow" audition, Benjamin made his debut in Taiwan with the Taipei Symphony Orchestra in January 2016.
As a soloist, Benjamin Lai has performed with the Neues Sinfonieorchester Berlin, the Residenz Orchestra Berlin, the Philharmonie Baden-Baden and the Hamburger Symphoniker in halls such as the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg and the Konzerthaus in Berlin. He has also participated and performed in numerous festivals such as the Aspen Music Festival in the USA, the Festival International des Jeunes Étoiles in France, the Bad Kissinger Musikfestival in Germany, and the Next Generation Classic Festival in Switzerland.
// Benjamin Lai on Facebook