French composer and pianist, born in 1962.

He has devoted most of his work to choral art, based on texts by contemporary authors in many languages. His repertoire thus highlights the specific link between poetry, languages and cultures, and patiently spins a choral repertoire that now covers some fifty countries and territories: France, Germany, Austria, Russia, Italy, Spain, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, United Kingdom, United States, Canada, Ivory Coast, Central African Republic, Syria, Palestine, Haiti, Mauritius, New Caledonia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Reunion, Saint-Pierre-Et-Miquelon, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Finland, Japan, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Basque Country, Sweden, Denmark, French Polynesia, Guyana, India, Ireland, Malta, Greece, Cyprus, Hungary, Poland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Brittany, Iceland, Bosnia.

He has long been interested in testimonial texts, from individuals or communities with singular life experiences, such as those collected from Clairvaux prisoners between 2008 and 2011 (boxed set Clairvaux ; Or, les murs… , Grand Prix de l’Académie Charles Cros 2010 with Julien Sallé). He was awarded the Villa Médicis (1996-98) and the Casa Velazquez (1999-2001) for an exclusively a cappella choir project, the Sacem/Francis and Mica Salabert prize for vocal music in 2008, the Beaumarchais Foundation grant in 2009 and a commission from the Ministry of Culture in 2010 for the creation of his opera Les lessiveuses, as well as the Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs in 2011. This prize was granted to him by a large number of students and their teachers. His choral works are sung as well in Europe as Asia and the Americas. Several of them have been studied by French high school students as part of the baccalaureat 2013 and 2014 music module. His work for secondary school students, L’Europe de mes rêves, composed in twenty-seven different languages, was awarded in 2015 by the Académie musicale Villecroze and the Fédération Nationale des Chorales Scolaires. Finally, he spent three months at the Villa Kujoyama in Kyoto (Japan), in spring 2018, for a project on the nuclear peril.

He has set to music a number of texts by poets around the world, including Langston Hughes, Paul Celan, Sophia de Mello Breyner, Ossip Mandelstam, Gabriela Mistral, Takuboku, Jaan Kaplinski, Guillevic, Amina Saïd, Erri De Luca, Daniela Attanasio, Jean-Yves Léopold, Mahmoud Darwich, Yves Bonnefoy, Roberto Juarroz, Maram Al-Masri, Benoît Richter, Tanella Boni, José Angel Valente, Gérald Bloncourt, Kathleen Raine, Hélène and René-Guy Cadou, Pascal Boille, Rabindranath Tagore, Louis Guillaume, Anna S. Björnsdottir, Nina Björk Arnadottir, Yvon Le Men, etc.

Co-initiator of the project L’Europe de mes rêves in Normandy with the French National Education ministry (2015-2017), he has been involved for the past fifteen years in educational activities relating to the Resistance and citizenship (oratorios Une femme de parole 2005, Une étoile errante 2006, L’encore aveugle 2007, Voir Ensemble Maintenant 2009-2011, Humanitudes 2012, Les droits et les devoirs du citoyen 2013, à l’humaine condition, 2015, Mémorial 2018).

Several documentaries have been made about his work, Or, les murs… (Clairvaux, 2009) by Julien Sallé, Humanitudes (2012) and L’Europe de nos rêves (2016-2018) by Franck Cuvelier. A new documentary was commissioned by France 2 for the period 2018-2019, Composer en liberté, in which we can see him directing writing workshops with prisoners in the Tours prison, with a group of students.

He has been a guest composer in several festivals since 2008 (Ombres et lumières in Clairvaux, Musique en Brocéliande, Auvers sur Oise festival, Florilège vocal de Tours, Rencontres de Champcueil, Public Chorus in the Paris suburb, 1st international meeting of school choirs in Yvetot, VOCE14-18 project, … )

He created the vocal and instrumental ensemble Territoires du souffle, which performed at the Cité de la musique (Paris), the Théâtre du Châtelet and the Cité de la voix (Vézelay). He also founded the Yezh trio, which is more particularly devoted to improvised sound poetry. He has been supported by the Fondation pour l’art et la recherche since 2003 and in November 2016 published his first anthology of world poetry with the publisher Bruno Doucey, Outre-chœur, which won a Coup de cœur from the Académie Charles Cros.

Spring 2021 saw several of his creations: À l’humaine poésie … with the Radio-France choir conducted by Martina Batic, Notre-Dame des flammes with the ensemble Diabolus in Musica conducted by Antoine Guerber, L’éternité with the ensemble Ptyx in a work involving an electroacoustic device, and Inland(poe)sis with the accordion duo BayanAccord. His transcription for a large a cappella choir of Ravel’s Bolero, based on a text by Benoît Richter and premiered in June 2018, has just been recorded at the Seine Musicale with the Grenelle choir conducted by Alix Debaecker. He is currently preparing a musical in French and English, One world at a time, based on the writings of Henry David Thoreau (creation July and December 2022).

Finally, with the Carmen-Forté association and the Tours media library, it will organise a weekend devoted to the poetry of Yves Bonnefoy in 2023 to commemorate the centenary of the poet’s birth.

  • Automne 2017 : coup de coeur de l’Académie Charles Cros pour son livre-CD Outre-Chœur (avec l’ensemble Territoires du souffle).
  • Printemps 2017, sélection pour une résidence de composition musicale à la Villa Kujoyama (Japon) en 2018.
  • Printemps 2015, élection du projet L’Europe de mes rêves par la Fédération Nationale des Chorales Scolaires (FNCS) et l’Académie Villecroze.
  • 2013 et 2014, Ensemble d’œuvres imposées à l’option musicale du baccalauréat.
  • 2011, Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs et choix des professeurs pour « Paroles contre l’oubli ».
  • 2010, Grand prix de l’académie Charles Cros avec Julien Sallé, & Clé d’or de ResMusica pour le coffret « Clairvaux, or les murs ».
  • 2010, bourse Beaumarchais et commande de l’Etat pour l’opéra de chambre « Les lessiveuses ».
  • 2008, prix SACEM de la meilleure œuvre vocale de l’année.
  • 2001, prix Pierre Cardin, de l’Académie des Beaux-Arts.
  • 2000, Prix Verdaguer, de l’Académie des Beaux-Arts.
  • 1999, Prix René Dumesnil de l’Académie des Beaux-Arts.
  • de 1999 à 2001, membre de la Casa de Velazquez à Madrid.
  • de 1996 à 1998, pensionnaire à l’Académie de France à Rome-Villa Médicis.
  • 1996, Prix de la ville d’Antibes, pour son œuvre « Ave maris Stella ».
  • 1993, Premier Grand Prix au concours international d’improvisation au piano classique de Montbrison (président du jury Gilbert Amy).
  • 1990, Deux Premier Prix au concours international de composition de
    Bordeaux (catégories chanson et musiques traditionnelles).

He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris and won the Harmony Prize (1982, Alain Bernaud’s class), the Counterpoint Prize (1982, Jean-Claude Henry’s class), the Fugue Prize (1983, Michel Merlet’s class) and the Orchestration Prize (1985, Serge Nigg’s class). He studied composition alone. Before the CNSM, many encounters contributed to his training, notably those with Jacqueline Lequien, Georges Rothenbüler, Roland Lemêtre, Alfred Loewenguth, Jacques Castérède.

Thierry Machuel has taught harmony, counterpoint and fugue in several institutes: He has taught harmony, counterpoint and fugue at the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory (Paris XIVth), at the Maîtrise de Radio-France, at the Conservatoire Militaire de Musique de l’Armée de Terre (where he did his national service between 1984 and 1985), as well as at the Erik Satie Conservatory (Paris VIIth), where he created and animated the Erik Satie Classical Improvisation Tournament in 1998 and 1999, with Jean-Dominique Krynen.

General studies: baccalauréat, philosophy section (1979).
Spoken languages: English, German, Italian, Spanish

1962 : Birth in Paris
1979-1985: Studies at the CNSM in Paris, prize for composition and orchestration
1993: Grand prize for classical improvisation (piano) at the Montbrison international competition
1996-1998: Resident at the Villa Médicis (Rome)
1999-2001: Resident at the Casa de Velazquez (Madrid)
2004: Monographic CD Psalm
2005: creation of the secular oratorio Une femme de parole
2007: creation of the secular oratorio L’encore aveugle
2008 / 2009 : beginning of workshops with long-sentenced prisoners, creation of Nocturnes de Clairvaux, Paroles contre l’oubli, a documentary by Julien Sallé Or, les murs…
May 2009: monographic cd Sur la terre simple
January 2010: monographic cd Nativités profanes
September 2010 : boxed set Clairvaux, Or, les murs… (Grand prix de l’académie Charles Cros with Julien Sallé, Clef d’or ResMusica)
March 2011 : Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs (choice of high school students and of teachers)
November 2011 : monographic cd Lucis memoria
March 2012 : Creation of the ensemble Territoires du souffle, concert at the Théâtre du Châtelet for the Grand Prix Lycéen des Compositeurs 2012
May 2012 : monographic cd Voir, Ensemble, Maintenant
School years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014: Set of works required for the baccalaureat (music option)
spring/summer 2013: guest composer in several festivals
November 2013: Creation of the chamber opera Les lessiveuses, documentary by Franck Cuvelier Humanitudes
May 2014: set of mandatory works at the Florilège international de Tours
December 2014: creation of the opera for choir Le duplicateur
Spring 2015 : election of the project L’Europe de mes rêves by the Fédération Nationale des Chorales Scolaires and the Académie Villecroze
March 2016 : creation of Trilogie de la détention (ensembles 2e2m and Territoires du souffle, conducted by Pierre Roullier) at the Collège des Bernardins in Paris
November 2016 : book-CD Outre-Chœur, published by Bruno Doucey
May 2017: creation of L’Europe de mes rêves, an oratorio in 27 languages, with 800 school children from several European countries
June 2017: selected for a musical composition residency at Villa Kujoyama (Kyoto, Japan) in spring 2018
September 2017: “Coup de coeur” from the Académie Charles Cros for his book-CD Outre-Chœur
November 2018: creation of Mémorial, during the World Peace Days in Berlin
January 2019: feedback concert for workshops with students in Tours prison, new documentary by Franck Cuvelier Composer en liberté
May 2020: completion of the new version of Trilogie de la détention
June 2021: creation of Notre-Dame des flammes, with the ensemble Diabolus in Musica, Marthe Vassallo and Bruno Hellstroffer
August 2021: creation of L’éternité, with the ensemble Ptyx
Spring 2022: completion of One World At A Time, a musical for high school students