BENEDICT CRUFT FRCM was the Dean of the School of Music in the Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts from 2003 - 2013. Born into a family whose members have been prominent in the musical life of London since the middle of the nineteenth century, Benedict started learning the violin at the age of six, and after studying in London with Sascha Lasserson (who had been a pupil of Leopold Auer) he went to the Royal College of Music where he won the top violin prize when he was only nineteen. During the 1970s he played in Covent Garden Opera, the L.S.O. and the Philharmonia, and joined the London String Quartet when it was re-formed by Carl Pini. In 1980, as the Associate Concertmaster of the Hong Kong Philharmonic he went for the first time to live in Hong Kong, and while there he also taught at the Hong Kong Conservatory and formed and led the Tononi String Quartet, which gave regular series of recitals and broadcasts, playing in Hong Kong, Macau and China.
He returned in 1984 to London, where he free-lanced, giving solo and chamber music recitals, playing with many different groups in England and abroad, recording music for films, records and television in the London studio world and occasionally composing music for television commercials, Library Music and the theatre. Having been fascinated since childhood by Johann Sebastian Bach's set of six unaccompanied Sonatas and Partitas for violin, and feeling that while these masterpieces had become well-known through recordings they were still neglected as a set in live performances, he decided to present the six works in a pair of concerts, and since first performing them over a pair of concerts in London in 1987 has now presented them like this more than 90 times. He has performed Bach's unaccompanied set in France, Finland, Hungary, Israel, Macau, in China in 1989 while guest-leading the Shanghai Symphony Orchestra, in Hanoi in 1992 while coaching and leading the Viet Nam National Symphony, and many times in Hong Kong and around Britain. Since starting his project of performing the works as a set he has been invited to repeat them in many places, including every year since 1989 during the Brighton Festival. His recording of Johann Sebastian Bach's complete Sonatas & Partitas is available as a double CD album from Tononi Records. When he was made a Fellow of the Royal College of Music in 2012, Benedict became the fourth member of the Cruft family to have been honoured with an FRCM.