Benoît Mernier was born in 1964 in Belgium. He studied organ and improvisation with Firmin Decerf and harpsichord with Charles Koenig. He continued his studies at Conservatoire Royal de Musique in Liège where he graduated in many subjects, including the Higher Diploma in organ in the class of Jean Ferrard, for whom he was the assistant for several years. He also studied organ with Bernard Foccroulle and with Jean Boyer at the National Regional Conservatoire of Lille, where he obtained the Diplôme de Perfectionnement.
Along with the organ, Benoît Mernier has devoted himself to composition. In this field, he was able to profit from the counsels of Claude Ledoux, Henri Pousseur, Bernard Foccroulle, Célestin Deliège. He studied the composition with Philippe Boesmans.
His organ work Artifices was the prizewinner of the 1990 UNESCO International Composers’ Tribune. In 1995 the Royal Academy of Belgium awarded him the Fuérison Prize for his Blake Songs for voice and chamber orchestra. His Clarinet Quintet was awarded the Paul Gilson Prize of the French-speaking Public Radios in 1999.
His works have been performed in leading festivals as Ars Musica, Présences, Wien Modern, Gaudeamus, World Music Days (ISCM), Prague Premieres,… and have been played by groups and performers such as the Arditti Quartet, the Ensemble Modern, the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, the Radio-Symphonieorchester Wien, the Monnaie Symphony Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Radio France, the Philharmonic Orchestra of Liège, the National Orchestra of Belgium, the Namur Chamber Choir, the Danel Quartet, the ensembles Ictus and Musiques Nouvelles, the Danel Quartet, the Trio Medicis, the Trio Fibonacci, Oxalys, and Michaël Schönwandt, Bertrand de Billy, Pascal Rophé, Jonas Alber, Ronald Zollman, Pierre Bartholomée, Lorraine Vaillancourt, Patrick Davin, Georges-Elie Octors, …
As an organist, he performs a very varied repertoire in many concerts thoughout Europe, in Canada and in Japan. His recordings include performances as a soloist or a continuo player for both CDs and the Belgian, Canadian and French radios. One of his CDs was awarded the Grand Prix of the Ch
Charles Cros Académie du Disque in 1996. Benoît Mernier is organist of Notre Dame au Sablon in Brussels. In 2002-2003, he was composer in residence at the Centre for Fine Arts of Brussels. He was in residence at the Carinthischer Sommer 2004 (Austria).
Benoît Mernier wrote the compulsory work for singing session of the Queen Elisabeth International Music Competion in 2004. In 2008, he was artist-in-residence with the Festival de Wallonie where is first piano concerto is created by the Liège Philharmonic Ochestra conducted by Pascal Rophé and Cédric Tiberghien as soloist.
Frühlings Erwachen, his first opera is a commission from the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie (World premiere : Brussels : March 2007- French premiere : Opéra du Rhin/Strasbourg : September 2008).
His works are featured in several CDs released on the Cyprès label ; one of them having won the Snepvangers Prize awarded in 2001 by the Belgian Musical Press Union and the CD/DVD of his opera is awarded “Diapason d’Or”.
Benoît Mernier lives in Brussels. He teaches musical analysis, improvisation and organ at Institut Supérieur de Musique et de Pédagogie (IMEP) in Namur.
Since 2007, he is member of Royal Academy of Belgium, Fine Arts section.