Benjamin Schweitzer

Composer, translator, linguist and cultural mediator

I will spend my residency composing a chamber concerto for the accordion and a chamber ensemble. What I hope and expect from my time at Saari Residence is peace to work, decent winter weather, interesting conversations with the other artists – and of course a hot sauna! 

My working method is to write in the traditional way using a pencil on music paper. I don’t write up the piece on my computer until it is completely finished. The actual composition phase is preceded by a long design phase, during which I outline the idea of the piece in graphic drafts and small snippets of text. 

I was born in Marburg in 1973. I have studied composition, music theory and conducting in Lübeck, Dresden and Helsinki (under Paavo Heininen). After my degree examination, I have mainly worked as a freelance composer, but also as a teacher of music theory and analysis, concert and festival organiser, lecturer, concert host, science writer, concert reviewer and translator (Finnish-German). I still see myself as a chamber composer, although I have also written operas and orchestral music. I have lived in almost every German state, in Finland and have participated in artist residence tours in Paris, Venice and Visby, but my permanent residence for the past 15 years has been Berlin. 

At first a sideline, translation turned out to be fascinating work and as my interest in Finnish kept growing, I decided a couple of years ago to take three years off from composing and study Fennistics instead in Greifswald and Tartu. In November 2018 I finished my master’s degree and have since slowly but surely returned to composition work. 

I don’t have a Facebook profile or Twitter, Instagram, etc., but I try my best to update my old-fashioned website WWW.BENJAMIN-SCHWEITZER.DE regularly.