Helen Benson

Helen Benson was appointed Principal Piccolo of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2022 and enjoys a varied career of performing and teaching both piccolo and flute around the U.K. Before moving to Birmingham, Helen was based in Norway for eight years as 2nd flute/piccolo of Oslo Philharmonic Orchestra. During her time in Norway Helen also regularly played with the Norwegian Radio Orchestra, Norwegian Opera Orchestra, Norwegian Chamber Orchestra and Bergen Philharmonic. She was also an active chamber musician and a founding member of the contemporary music group Ensemble Temporum.

Helen studied flute at Chetham’s School of Music and Guildhall School of Music & Drama. Shortly after graduating with her bachelor's degree in London, Helen was appointed Principal Piccolo of the Monterrey Symphony Orchestra in northern Mexico. The following year she relocated to Mexico City where she worked for the next six years as both a piccolo player and flautist with several orchestras and ensembles including Mexico City Philharmonic, Minería Symphony Orchestra, Mexico State Symphony Orchestra, Bellas Artes Opera Orchestra and Camerístas de México.

In 2012, Helen moved back to Europe to undertake a master of fine arts degree in symphonic playing at the Swedish National Orchestra Academy in Gothenburg, studying flute with Håvard Lysebo and piccolo with Andrew Cunningham. During her two years in Sweden, she was a regular guest with Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra, Gothenburg Opera Orchestra and Helsingborg Symphony Orchestra.

Since moving back to the U.K. Helen has appeared as guest Principal Piccolo with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia and the Hallé as well as performing several projects with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group (BCMG). Helen is a piccolo teacher at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and has been a visiting teacher at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama.