Benjamin Staern (b. 1978) started his musical experience with studies in cello, piano and percussion in his youth. Studies in musicology at Lund University and subsequently studied composition at the Malmö Academy of Music during 1998-2005 with Rolf Martinsson, Hans Gefors and Luca Francesconi, and made an early breakthrough, while still a student at the Malmö Academy of Music, with the symphonic work The Threat of War (1999).
From this point on, Staern has developed a deeply personal style with an output including orchestral and chamber works, solo pieces and electroacoustic music. An interesting aspect of his work as a composer is his unusual ability to associate tones and timbres with different colours and tints. This is a variant of a phenomenon called synaesthesia which is fundamental in his perception and the creation of his music, and which is reflected in his sound world as well as in many of his work titles (Yellow Skies, Colour Wandering etc.)
Today Staern receives commissions on a regular basis. Looking into the near future, he is commissioned to write an opera for Malmö Opera Snow Queen based on a fairytale by H.C Andersen. He was composer-in-residence with New European Ensemble 2010-14 and composed works such as Tranströmersånger (selected poems from the Sad Gondola - collection by Nobel-prize author and poet Tomas Tranströmer) and Bells and Waves (Chamber Symphony), winner of the SMFF Award 2011 in the category ”most important work in chamber music/smaller ensemble” and a multimedia work SAIYAH for large ensemble, electronics and scenografic light sculpture at Norrlandsoperan for the MADE-festival in Umeå during Cultural Capital of the Year 2014.
Worried Souls (Clarinet Concerto) was awarded the Large Christ Johnson Prize (Stora Christ Johnson-priset) from the Royal Swedish Music Academy (Kungliga Musikaliska Akademien) by the hands of His Majesty King Carl Gustaf XVI at the annual ceremony on November 26th 2012 at Musikaliska, Stockholm.
Works by Benjamin Staern is today performed not only by all the major Swedish orchestras but also internationally by orchestras such as the MDR Sinfonieorchester, Tokyo Symphony Orchestra, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, Duisburger Philharmoniker, Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatsorchester Rheinische Philharmonie and the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Staern has collaborated with ensembles including New European Ensemble, Gageego, Sonanza Chamber Ensemble, Norrbotten NEO, The Pearls Before Swine, Ensemble Aspekte and Stockholm Chamber Brass. Soloists include Håkan Hardenberger, Anna Larsson, Johannes Möller, Karin Dornbusch, Carina Vinke, Filip Draglund, Jacob Kellermann, Daniel Migdal, Camillia Hoitenga, Gitta-Maria Sjöberg, Philippe Cassard and conductors Michael Christie, Daniel Raiskin, Marc Soustrot, Tobias Ringborg, Leif Segerstam, Christian Karlsen, Nazanin Aghakhani, Mats Rondin, Mika Eichenholz and Stefan Solyom.
- The Threat of War (1999–2000, rev. 01) for symphony orchestra
- Muramaris (2000) for fifteen solo string instruments
- Colour wandering (2002) for ten brass musicians
- Yellow skies (2003) for alto flute and electronics
- Endast luft och brus (2004–05) for tuba and electronics
- Sacrificio (2004–05) for tuba, live electronics and symphony orchestra
- Confrontation (2006) for trumpet solo and brass quintet
- Jubilate (2008) for symphony orchestra
- Tranströmersånger (Tranströmer Settings) (2009/10) for alto and ensemble
- Bells and Waves (2010) chamber symphony for large ensemble
- Worried Souls (2011) concerto for clarinet and symphony orchestra
- Godai (2012-13) concerto for orchestra
- Sånger av bländvit kärlek (2013) (Songs of Dazzling Love) (poems from misc. collections by Karin Boye) (2013) for alto and orchestra.
- Opposing Dance (2013) for flute and guitar.
- Saiyah; Concert of Colours (2012-14) for trombone, guitar, large ensemble, stage art and electronics.
- Polar Vortex (2014) for symphony orchestra
- Snödrottningen, family opera in one act and 13 scenes. (2013-16).
- Surprise! Trumpet Concertino for trumpet solo and small orchestra (2015)
- Air–Spiral–Light concerto for guitar solo and ensemble (2014-16)
- Dropwaves: sonata for piano solo (2016)