Karol Beffa had a general education along with music studies after having been a child actor, appearing in more than 15 films (in particular, he performed with the Piccolo Teatro di Milano under the direction of Giorgio Strehler and portrayed the 8-year-old Mozart in a television film by Marcel Bluwal). Top of his class at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, he read history (BA), English (MA), philosophy (MPhil at Cambridge University) and mathematics. Enrolling at the Paris Conservatoire in 1988, he obtained eight premiers prix (harmony, counterpoint, fugue, 20th-century music, orchestration, analysis, vocal accompani- ment, piano improvisation). Coming first in the Agrégation de musique, a highly compe- titive examination for teachers, he taught at the Sorbonne (1998-2003) then at the Ecole Polytechnique (2003-08). In 2003, he earned his doctorate in musicology with a thesis on György Ligeti’s Piano Etudes. Since 2004, he is an Associate Professor at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. In 2012-2013, he was Chair of Artistic Creation at the College de France. In 2013, he earned a Victoire de la musique award in the Best Composer category.
Pianist and improviser, Karol Beffa is a com- poser whose works have been performed in France Germany, Italy, Great Britain, Russia, the United States and Japan by such well-known ensembles as A Sei Voci, Maîtrise de Radio France, Cambridge Voices, and the leading orchestras (Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France, Orchestre National de l’Opéra de Lyon, Saint Petersburg Philharmonic, London Symphony Orchestra, Orchestre de Paris, Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen...). As composer-in-residence of the Orchestre National du Capitole de Toulouse (2006-09), Karol Beffa wrote Paradis artificiels (2007), a Violin Concerto, premiered by Renaud Capuçon (2008), and a Piano Concerto, first performed by Boris Berezovsky (2009). In addition, he has composed two incidental scores as well as the music for 15 films.