Thomas Martin, winner of the Safran Foundation for Music prize 2023
The Safran Foundation for Music prize was awarded to Thomas Martin, 21-year-old cellist, at the final organized on October 9 in Paris. Read on for more information about this competition to promote promising young musicians.
Five talented finalists… but only one prize. The 15th edition of the Safran Foundation for Music competition was held in the sumptuous music library of La Grange-Fleuret, a historic manor house, in the 8th arrondissement of Paris.
In competition this year were five young cellists, all students at the CNSMD (National conservatories of music and dance) in Paris or Lyon. Having performed the pieces of their choice, the finalists played a piece selected by the Chairman of the jury, Raphaël Perraud, lead solo cellist of the national orchestra of France: Tchaikovsky’s “Pezzo Capriccioso.”
After the performances, the Chairman and members of the jury –Jean-Marc Berns, Claire Lagarde, Christian-Pierre La Marca, and the winner of the 2013 edition, Victor Julien-Laferrière– announced the winner of this year’s competition: Thomas Martin. As well as the Tchaikovsky piece, he played “Per Slava” by Penderecki and the prelude of Bach’s Cello suite no. 1.
Thomas Martin: a life of passion and excellence
Thomas Martin, who has French/British dual nationality, started to play cello at the age of 7 at Bern Conservatory in Switzerland. After working for four years in Bordeaux, he was given a grant to attend Wells Cathedral School. Back in France, he studied at the regional conservatory in Paris. In 2020, having passed his scientific baccalaureate (with distinction), he was admitted to the Paris CNSMD, in the class of Professor Raphaël Pidoux. He did an Erasmus year at Stuttgart High School of Music in 2023-24.
His keen interest in chamber music led him to form the trio Mylos, with Céleste Klingelschmitt on violin and Tom Carré on piano. They are regularly advised by Trio Wanderer, pianist Claire Désert and cellist François Salque. Thomas is also learning to play the piano (with Joseph Tong and Eliane Reyes) and the Baroque cello (with Bruno Cocset).
Thomas Martin won the €5,000 prize and will be supported by the Foundation throughout his career. This competition is a real launchpad for a musical career.
Pieces performed in the video below:
Jean-Sébastien Bach: Suite n1 in G major (prelude).
From 2'53 - Krzysztof Penderecki: «Per Slava» for solo cello.
From 8'11 - Piotr Ilitch Tchaikovsky: Pezzo Capricioso (the compulsory work).
The accompanist is Pierre-Marie Gasnier (former laureate of the Foundation).
Partnerships to support young talents
For the fifth consecutive year, the Safran Foundation for Music has signed a teaching partnership with CNSMDP (the Paris Conservatory for music and dance) to record this competition with a view to supporting the professional careers of young musicians. It provides the candidates with a recording of their performance to be used for personal promotion rather than commercial gain. The recording is also an opportunity for student sound engineers to gain some professional experience.
In 2023, the Foundation also supported the music library of La Grange-Fleuret with several projects targeting young talents: creation of a working residency with a rehearsal room for one year, assistance with the organization of a recital recorded at the library, and a musical event to be organized in Royaumont Abbey.