Ralf Benesch

Ralf Benesch Les Rabiates Swim Two Birds
Photo by Sebastian Otto © 20001

Ralf Benesch

Guitarist, saxophonist and composer

born in 1962 in Nürtingen
started playing guitar at the age of 12. First radio appearance with SDR in 1976.
Participated as an ensemble member in the Darmstadt Days for New Music in the summer of 1978.
Concert tour through Thailand and the Philippines and workshops as a lecturer (1982).
Studied at the music academies in Bremen and Hanover.

In the 80s, numerous band projects, e.g. the large anarcho-punk formation Baalbek, the Kroß Orchestra (realization of collective compositions with Jens Ahlers, Thomas Mävers and Peter Apel), Die Kosmischen Bademeister (New Wave) etc.

1989 and 1991 tours through Finland and Latvia as a concert guitarist.

Since 1989, member of the jazz formation Swim Two Birds, appearances with STB at the international jazz festivals in Leverkusen, Brindisi (Italy), Wiesen (Austria). Tours through Brazil, Bulgaria, Romania and Finland at the invitation of the Goethe Institute.

1992 Founding of the Music Recycling Trio (jazz experiments)

1994 Arranger and interpreter with Trio Beaux Rivages (20th century classics) with Andree Schmid (clarinet) and Dirk Lüking (double bass).

Compartment 6: Music performance in Bremen Central Station.

1995 JazzGegenGeld with Mark Scheibe.

Annual appearances as a soloist at the International Literature Festival “Poetry on the Road”.

Several engagements from 2003 as a guest musician (guitar and banjo) in musical and opera productions with the orchestras of the Bremerhaven City Theater, the Oldenburg State Theater and the Goethe Theater Bremen.

In August 2006, guest at the MutterOrchester under the direction of Michael Gross, on the occasion of the Brecht Gala in the Berliner Ensemble with Milva, the Kessler twins and Katharina Thalbach.

Autumn 2006, performance of the Canto General by Mikis Theodorakis and Pablo Neruda with the Oldenburger Chor Bundschuh in Santiago de Chile and Temuco at the invitation of the Mapuche Parliament.

April 2008, concert with “Das Wilde Fest” at JazzAhead Bremen.

2009 performances with the folk-jazz-rock crossover project KOHARAPAYL in Yerevan and at the Beirut Jazz Festival.

Autumn 2010, European tour with Rolando Villazón and the Bolivar Soloists.

February 2013, recordings for Deutsche Grammophon with Pacho Flores (trumpet) and

the Konzerthausorchester Berlin.

April 2013, recordings for Deutsche Grammophon with Avi Avital (mandolin),
“Between Worlds”


Our friend and long-time fellow musician died in April 2019.

The stylistically versatile musician Ralf Benesch died unexpectedly on April 11th at the age of 57 after a serious illness. The guitarist and saxophonist was active in many areas of Bremen’s cultural scene: He felt just as at home in unbridled, wild jazz projects such as the band Swim Two Birds or Benesch’s own formation Das Wilde Fest, as well as in countless groups of the Bremen Musicians’ Initiative, as he did as a guitarist in relaxed, grooving bossa nova groups (Miss Groovanova).

He was also interested in electronic music and the avant-garde. For many years, Benesch was also responsible for the sensitive and sometimes tongue-in-cheek intermezzi at the Poetry on the Road literature festival. Last but not least, Ralf Benesch has played and composed theater music at various theaters, including the theater version of Joseph Moncure March’s long poem “Das wilde Fest,” which fascinated him so much that he named his quartet after it. Ralf Benesch has always been interested in the combination of music and literature. He worked with the poet Artur Becker on Swim Two Birds and their follow-up band Les Rabiates, and in the duo Dos Ulises he devoted himself to setting modern Spanish and German poetry to music. Ralf Benesch was born in 1962 in Nürtingen, Württemberg. He began playing the guitar as a teenager before deciding to study music at universities in Bremen and Hanover. In Bremen he worked as a freelance musician and music teacher. Now a versatile and creative musician is missing from the Bremen scene.