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Biography

Described as an ‘outstanding musician’ by Classicalsource.com and having won the enthusiasm of prominent composers such as Pascal Dusapin and Hugh Wood (‘My paraphrase has been lucky in receiving many good performances but I can’t remember it ever having a better one’– Hugh Wood), French pianist Thomas Besnard is becoming increasingly in demand in collaborative and solo contexts.

Thomas has made multiple appearances at the Barbican Centre in London, as part of the BBC Total immersion Concert Series as well as for various pre-LSO performances. In Britain, he has played in venues such as the Purcell Room, St James’s Piccadilly, St Martin in the fields, Cheltenham Town Hall, and given recitals in the City of London Festival and the Leeds International Concert Series. In December 2011 he was invited to play at the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, where he gave a chamber music recital of the music of Robert and Clara Schumann. In Europe, Thomas plays regularly in his native France, and he also recently toured the Balkans, playing in the Kosovo Kammerfest and recording for the National Radio of Serbia.

Thomas’s interest in contemporary music has led him to work with many of today’s great composers: George Crumb, Hugh Wood, Louis Andriessen, Pascal Dusapin, Paul Patterson, John Metcalf, Joseph Horovitz, Haris Kittos, Emily Howard… Thomas has broadcast a number of times for BBC Radio 3, participating in two Proms Plus concerts; in 2010 he took part in the UK premiere of Andriessen’s Bells of Harleem and last summer he recorded Dusapin’s Trio Rombach.

Thomas plays regularly with clarinettist Hannah Morgan as the Glendower Duo: together they won First prize in the Krakow International Chamber Music Competition, the Yamaha Music Foundation Award and the Tunbridge Wells Young Concert Artists Competition. Their recital at the Southbank Centre’s Purcell Room as part of the Park Lane Group Young Artists’ Concert series, where they gave the world première of Harris Kittos’s Organic Duo, was critically acclaimed, receiving a four-star rating in The Times. They recently were selected by Making Music for their 2012/13 Brochure. With Lithuanian pianist Martyna Jatkauskaite, he recently formed the Oskar duo; together they won the First prize in the Rome International Piano Competition,a success that lead them to perform live on Italian TV and Vatican radio.

In demand as a vocal accompanist, Thomas regularly plays for soprano Patricia Rozario with whom he recently featured in BBC3 In tune programme, performing live Strauss and Poulenc songs. He also regularly collaborates with German baritone Benjamin Appl.

Mr Besnard believes in the importance of breaking the traditional boundaries of classical music; he has worked for Live Music Now!, bringing live performances to handicapped children, people in hospitals, care homes… In order to bring classical music to life outside of the concert hall, he has collaborated with award-winning French-African poet Gabriel Okoundji, creating soirées bringing together music and poetry, the Courtauld Institute of Art, playing a whole Chabrier programme for the Cézanne exhibition, the fashion brand ACNE Studios and the world of Interior Design – Milan Interior Design Week 2011.

After his studies at the Bordeaux Conservatoire, Thomas Besnard graduated in 2008 from the Royal College of Music, London, where he studied with Gordon Fergus-Thompson. He then continued his training with Caroline Palmer at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama, where he gained a Masters with Distinction on a full scholarship supported by the Leverhulme and Richard Carne Trusts. Last year he was a Junior Fellow at the Guildhall School. He now lives between London and Berlin.

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