La Classe d'Excellence de Violoncelle - Promotion III

For its third season, the “Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle” returns to the Fondation auditorium from November 2016 and until June 2017.

The “Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle”, under the direction of Gautier Capuçon, is geared towards six young talented cellists selected on the basis of an application dossier and live audition in France and abroad. The first two editions took place on a monthly basis at the Fondation Louis Vuitton, for a series of three-day sessions for six months.

For its third season, the “Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle” returns to the Fondation auditorium from November 2016 and until June 2017.

Each monthly session is made of daily lessons with Gautier Capuçon, and includes public masterclasses and a one and a half hour long public concert during which time participants will have the opportunity to present their work (programs consist of solo cello pieces, cello and piano sonatas, concertos accompanied with piano).

The “Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle,” made up of a series of artistic and professional coaching sessions, offers participants a comprehensive training opportunity intended to complement participants’ formal musical education. Bathed in the atmosphere of intense creativity generated by this singular venue, the project aims to be a source of inspiration and stimulation. Gautier Capuçon, as mediator and mentor, will encourage exchange and innovation, and will accompany each participant in his or her personal artistic journey.

As part of the Fondation Louis Vuitton’s mission to promote artistic creation in all its different forms and media, the “Classe d’Excellence de Violoncelle” aims to expose its participants to a wide array of genres; to encourage dialogue and encounters with guest speakers from different cultures and nationalities; and to bring awareness to a wide range of different styles and projects. During their time at the Fondation, spent alongside great artists and talented professionals, participants will have the singular opportunity to develop their individual projects, to explore and appreciate the subtleties of a career as a performing artist, and to be exposed to new musical and otherwise artistic perspectives.

For this third edition, the Fondation Louis Vuitton has commissioned Bruno Mantovani to compose a work for 7 cellos. The piece will be premiered on the last concert of the season, June 7th 2017.

Le programme

January Session
6 and 7 January
February Session
24 and 25 February
March Session
18 and 19 March
April Session
15 and 16 April
June Session
5 and 7 June

Promotion III

Margarita Balanas


23 years old. Latvian, lives in London (UK)

Latvian cellist Margarita Balanas made her debut at Wigmore Hall at the age of 17 and has since appeared in most of the major concert halls across the UK and Europe.

Recent performances include a debut recital at the Royal Festival Hall with pianist Vassilis Varvaresos, participation in the Piatigorsky International Cello Festival 2016 in Los Angeles and a performance of Tchaikovsky's Rococo Variations with Orquestra Sinfonica do Porto and Carlos Izcaray at Casa da Música, Portugal. She has collaborated with Trevor Pinnock, Murray Perahia, Paul Daniel, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies, and has performed in masterclasses with Lynn Harrell, Ralph Kirshbaum, Steven Isserlis, Natalia Gutman, Frans Helmerson and Mischa Maisky.

She is a recording artist for ABRSM as well as being an active chamber musician, having appeared in International Musicians Seminar Prussia Cove, French Chamber Music Festival, Roman River Music Festival, Adelaide International Cello Festival, Minoa Palace Chamber Music Festival and Aurora Chamber Music Festival. She regularly performs with her sister violinist Kristine Balanas. In summer 2015 she toured Finland with the contemporary ensemble ÄÄninen.

Margarita began her musical studies at age six with Arvids Tareila and Maris Villeruss at Emils Darzins School of Music in Riga, Latvia, before studying at the Purcell School of Music with Alexander Boyarsky. Margarita was awarded the ABRSM Scholarship, Zara Nelsova Award and Martin Music Scholarship Fund Award to undertake her undergraduate studies at the Royal Academy of Music where since 2013 she studies under Mats Lidström. In 2016 Margarita was awarded the Drake Calleja Trust Scholarship.

Sophia Bacelar

United States of America

20 years old. American, lives in Berlin (DE)

Cuban-Chinese cellist Sophia Bacelar was born in 1996 and began her musical studies at the age of two.

At the age of ten, she was accepted to The Juilliard School, where she studied under the tutelage of Clara Kim for six years. After graduating in 2012, Sophia went on to further her studies at Le Conservatoire National Supérieur de Paris in the class of Philippe Muller, from which she graduated in 2014.

Additionally, she was one of Bernard Greenhouse’s last private students and visited him regularly for musical mentorship throughout several years.Sophia has appeared as both a soloist and chamber musician throughout Europe, America, and Asia in various prestigious venues such as Victoria Hall, Le Théâtre des Champs-Élysées, Cité de la Musique, Carnegie Hall, and Alice Tully Hall. She regularly participates and performs in several renowned festivals, including The Kronberg Academy Cello Festival, The Seiji Ozawa International Academy, and The Piatigorsky International Cello Festival. She is also a scholarship recipient at the The Internationale Musikakademie in the Principality of Liechtenstein.

Throughout the years, Sophia has had the opportunity to work with and receive coaching from many esteemed performers, conductors, and pedagogues such as Seiji Ozawa, Matthias Pintscher, Lawrence Foster, David Geringas, Lynn Harrell, Mischa Maisky, Gary Hoffman, Frans Helmerson, Jens Peter Maintz, Sadao Harada, Michel Strauss, Jian Wang, Laszló Fenyö, Ami Flammer, Pamela Frank, Nobuko Imai, Claire Désert, and Fabio Bidini. Sophia plays on a 1914 Giulio Degani cello restored by her father, luthier Alejandro Bacelar.

Cameron Crozman


21 years old. Canadian, lives in Paris (FR)

Cameron Crozman is quickly being hailed as one of Canada’s leading young cellists. Playing on the ca. 1696 “Bonjour” Stradivarius cello and the ca. 1830 “Shaw” Adam cello bow generously on loan from the Canada Council for the Arts Instrument Bank, he has been recognized for his musical expressivity, versatility, and remarkable technique.

He performs around the world in such prestigious venues as the Shanghai Oriental Arts Centre, the Philharmonie de Paris, and Canada’s National Arts Centre. Regularly invited to appear at festivals such as the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, the Festival de violoncelle de Beauvais, and Musica Nova Helsinki, Cameron plays alongside eminent musicians including James Ehnes, Martin Beaver, André Laplante, Denis Pascal, and Huw Watkins.In 2016, Cameron received his Prix de Violoncelle with highest honours from the Conservatoire de Paris in the class of Michel Strauss and Guillaume Paoletti, He is currently pursuing an Artist Diploma in contemporary repertoire and creation at the Conservatory, as well studies in chamber music in the class of Claire Désert and Ami Flammer. He has participated in numerous international competitions, and is a laureate of both the OSM Standard Life and Eckhardt-Gramatté competitions. He has played in masterclasses for legendary cellists, including Janos Starker, Anner Bylsma, Lawrence Lesser, Tsuyoshi Tsutsumi, Gary Hoffman, and Colin Carr. Passionate about collaborating with contemporary composers, Cameron is particularly devoted to the promotion of Canadian music. He is very grateful to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Sylva Gelber Foundation for the support in his various projects.

Sol Daniel Kim


25 years old. Austrian, lives in Berlin (DE)

The Austrian cellist Sol Daniel Kim started paying the cello at the age of six. In 2000 at the age of 9, he started to study as a young student in the "University of music and performing arts Vienna" with Christine Vitoux-Erben. Since then he had the privilege to study with cellists such as Valentin Erben, Heinrich Schiff, Jens Peter Maintz and Danjulo Ishizaka.

He earned his Bachelor title at the "University of music and performing arts Vienna" and his Master title at the "University of Arts Berlin" both graduating with distinction. He has won several prizes at international competitions such as the 48th Markneukirchen International Instrumental Competition in 2013 and he was the representant of Austria at the Eurovision Young Musicians Contest in 2008. In 2007 he entered the UBS Verbier Festival Orchestra at the age of 16 and in 2014 he got a 1 year contract as a cellist at the Symphony Orchestra of the Bavarian Broadcasting station (Bayerischer Rundfunk BR).

He gave his debut concert in 2009 at the "Wiener Konzerthaus" and has an active career as a soloist since then, playing also with many orchestras around the world such as the Graz Philharmonics, Spirit of Europe, recreation - Grosses Orchester Graz and the Südwestdeutsche Philharmonie Konstanz.

Laura Szabo


23 years old. Hungarian, lives in Vaskut (HG)

Born in 1993 in Baja, Hungary, Laura Szabo began studying cello at the age of six. At eleven years old, she joined the Kecskemét Kodály Music School, under the tutelage of Martha Agócs. 

During her time at the Kodály School, she gathered many top prizes in both National and International competitions, including First Prize at the 2010 David Popper International Cello Competition in Várpalota, Hungary; the International Competition in Liezen, Austria (2008); the Janos Starker National Competition in Kecskemét, Hungary; the 2007 Gorizia International Competition in Gorizia, Italy; the Antonio Janigro International Competition in Porec, Croatia (2006); and the "Talents for Europe” Internationl Cello Competition in Dolni Kubin, Slovakia, also in 2006.

Laura made her orchestral debut at the age of 15 with the Szekszard Chamber Orchestra in Szekszard, Hungary. In 2009, she performed the Hidas Frigyes Cello Concerto with the Pecs Wind Orchestra at the Palace of the Arts in Budapest. In summer of 2008 and 2010, Laura won a scholarship to study at the University of Indiana in Bloomington, where she had the opportunity to work with such renowned artists as Janos Starker, Susan Moses, Csaba Onczay, and Daniel Morgenstein.

In September 2010, Laura joined Natalia Shakhovskaya’s class at the prestigious Escuela Superior de Musica Reina Sofia in Madrid, Spain. Along with Professor Shakhovskaya’s coaching, Laura has participated in masterclasses with Frans Helmerson, Phillip Muller, Natalia Guttman, David Geringas and Truls Mork. At the age of 18, Laura performed Dvořák Cello Concerto with the Kecskemét Symphonic Orchestra in Hungary.

In the summer of 2011 and 2014, she participated in the Encuentro de Musica y Academia Santander and had the opportunity to play together with artists such as Zakhar Bron, Ana Chumachenco and Wolfram Christ.

Cornelius Zirbo


17 years old. Romanian, lives in Cluj (RO)

Cornelius Zirbo studies at "Dinu Lipatti” National Highschool of Arts in Bucharest with prof. Octavian Lup. Untill now he worked with many famous cellists such as Frans Helmerson, Götz Teutsch, Emeric Kostyák, Rãzvan Suma, Marin Cazacu, Jan-Erik Gustafsson, Maximillian Hornung, Mihai Marica, Wendy Warner, Romain Garioud, Jacob A. Shaw.

He participated at SoNoRo– Interferences in 2014 at Portul Cultural Cetate (Romania) and in 2015 at Bad-Endorf (Germany). He has given concerts in a tour in South Bohemian Festival 2016 (Czech Republc). In July 2016 he was selected as active student to Frans Helmerson's masterclass in Montepulciano, Italy. He has also participated at the Cello Masterclass at Kronberg Academy.

He is a laureate of many competitions in homeland and abroad, for instance International Competition "Concertino Praga" (Czech Republic), International Cello Competition "Antonio Janigro" (Croatia), International Competition "Young Virtuosos"(Bulgaria), "Mihail Jora" Competition (Romania) etc.

He performed as soloist with orchestra such as: Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra, "Transilvania" State Philharmonic, The Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation Youth Orchestra, "JUNIOR" Romanian National Orchestra and in December 2016 Cornelius will perform Elgar Cello Concerto in e minor with "Moldova" State Philharmonic.

He is a scholar of The Princess Margareta of Romania Foundation.

Gautier Capuçon

Gautier Capuçon is a true 21st century ambassador for the cello. Performing internationally with many of the world’s foremost conductors and instrumentalists, he is also a passionate ambassador for the Orchestre à l'École Association which brings classical music to more than 40,000 school children across France. In January 2022 Gautier Capuçon launched his own Foundation to support young and talented musicians at the beginning of their career and increasing his commitment to young artists. A multiple award winner, he is acclaimed for his expressive musicianship, exuberant virtuosity, and for the deep sonority of his 1701 Matteo Goffriller cello “L’Ambassadeur”.

In summer 2020, mid-pandemic, Capuçon brought music directly into the lives of families across the length and breadth of France, free of charge, during his musical odyssey ‘Un été en France’. During July 2022, for the third edition of this project, he performs 15 concerts across the nation including Autun, Clairveaux, Eauz, and his hometown of Chambéry. He also showcases 14 young musicians and 8 young dancers within his concert presentations.


Committed to exploring and expanding the cello repertoire, Capuçon performs an extensive array of works each season and regularly premieres new commissions. Current projects include collaborations with Lera Auerbach, Danny Elfman and Thierry Escaich.


In the 2022/23 season, Capuçon appears with, amongst others, Boston Symphony Orchestra (Andris Nelsons), Chicago Symphony Orchestra (Manfred Honeck), San Francisco Symphony (Michael Tilson Thomas), Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks (Marie Jacquot), Gewandhausorchester Leipzig (Andris Nelsons), NDR Elbphilharmonie Orchester (Pablo Heras-Casado), Munich Philharmonic (Lorenzo Viotti), Tonhalle-Orchester Zürich (Christoph Eschenbach), Orchestre de Paris (Klaus Mäkelä), and Czech Philharmonic Orchestra (Semyon Bychkov). He is the Curating Artist at the Konzerthaus Dortmund, and in addition, Capuçon plays at Festivals worldwide, including the Salzburg, Grafenegg, and Verbier Festivals.


In recital, Capucon pairs regularly with Frank Braley and Jérôme Ducros – while other chamber music partners include Nikolai Lugansky and Gabriela Montero as well as Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Lisa Batiashvili, Renaud Capuçon, Leonidas Kavakos, Andreas Ottensamer, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov, Yuja Wang, the Labèque sisters and the Artemis, Ébène and Hagen quartets.


Recording exclusively for Erato (Warner Classics), Capuçon has won multiple awards and holds an extensive discography. His latest album Sensations is due to be released in Autumn 2022, exploring short pieces from a range of different genres. His album of romantic works by Brahms and Rachmaninoff in collaboration with Andreas Ottensammer and Yuja Wang is also released in Autumn 2022 by Deutsche Grammophon. 2020’s Warner Classics album Emotions features music from composers such as Debussy, Schubert and Elgar and has achieved gold status in France, remaining at Number 1 in the charts for over 30 weeks and selling more than 110,000 copies. Earlier recordings include concertos by Shostakovich (Mariinsky Orchestra with Valery Gergiev) and Saint-Saëns (Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France with Lionel Bringuier); the complete Beethoven Sonatas with Frank Braley; Schubert’s String Quintet with the Ébène Quartet; Intuition with Orchestre de Chambre de Paris/ (Douglas Boyd and Jérôme Ducros); an album of Schumann works, recorded live with Martha Argerich, Renaud Capuçon and Chamber Orchestra of Europe/ (Bernard Haitink); Beethoven Piano Trios with Renaud Capuçon and Frank Braley; Chopin and Franck sonatas with Yuja Wang; and a solo album featuring Bach, Dutilleux and Kodaly as well as a “Best of” recording on occasion of his 40th birthday.


Capuçon has been featured on DVD in live performances with the Wiener Philharmoniker (Saint-Saens Cello Concerto No.1) Berliner Philharmoniker (Haydn Cello Concerto No.1) and with Lisa Batiashvili, Sächsische Staatskapelle Dresden and Christian Thielemann (Brahms’s Concerto for Violin and Cello). A household name in his native France, he also appears on screen and online in shows such as ProdigesNow Hear This, and The Artist Academy, and is a guest presenter on Radio Classique in the show Les Carnets de Gautier Capuçon. 


Born in Chambéry, Capuçon began playing the cello at the age of five. He studied at the Conservatoire National Supérieur in Paris with Philippe Muller and Annie Cochet-Zakine, and later with Heinrich Schiff in Vienna. Now, he performs with world leading orchestras, works with conductors such as Semyon Bychkov, Christoph Eschenbach, Andrès Orozco-Estrada, Pablo Heras-Casado, Klaus Mäkelä, Andris Nelsons, and Christian Thielemann, and collaborates with contemporary composers including Lera Auerbach, Karol Beffa, Esteban Benzecry, Nicola Campogrande, Qigang Chen, Bryce Dessner, Jérôme Ducros, Henry Dutilleux, Thierry Escaich, Philippe Manoury, Bruno Mantovani, Krzysztof Penderecki, Wolfgang Rihm, and Jörg Widmann. 

Samuel Parent

Samuel Parent est né en 1982 dans le Vaucluse.

Après avoir étudié avec Michel Bourdoncle à Aix-en-Provence, puis Olivier Gardon à Paris, il est admis en 2000 dans la classe de Brigitte Engerer au Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique de Paris, dont il sort quatre ans plus tard avec un diplôme de Formation Supérieure, mention très bien.

En 2008, il remporte le deuxième prix au concours international Rina Sala Gallo de Monza, Italie. Cette même année, il intègre la classe de musique de chambre du quatuor Artemis à la Chapelle Musicale Reine Elisabeth de Belgique.


Pendant une quinzaine d'années, Samuel Parent a été le pianiste du Trio con Fuoco, ensemble récompensé dans plusieurs concours internationaux (Illzach, Florence, Heerlen...) et au sein duquel il s'est produit dans de nombreux festivals (Aix-en-Provence, la Roque d'Anthéron, Flâneries musicales de Reims) et sur la scène mondiale : concerts à  l'Auditorium du Louvre, au Bozar de Bruxelles, à l'Auditorium de Dijon, au Maroc, en Espagne, aux Pays-Bas, en Inde, en Amérique Centrale...


Chambriste recherché, Samuel Parent se produit avec de nombreux artistes tels que Gautier Capuçon, le quatuor Ebène, Hugues Borsarello, le quatuor Van Kuijk,  Henri Demarquette, Olivier Patey, Erik Berchot, Ami Flammer, Frédéric Aguessy, Emmanuel Christien, Mathilde Borsarello-Herrmann, Karen Vourc'h, Mari Eriksmoen... Il a ainsi été invité dans des cadres prestigieux comme le Palais de la Musique à Valencia, les Sommets Musicaux de Gstaad ou la saison musicale de Schloss Elmau. En France, Samuel Parent a joué notamment au festival Pianoscope à Beauvais, au Festival de Colmar, au Festival de Chambord, Musique en Côte Basque, au Printemps de la Grange au Lac, à la salle Gaveau, au théâtre du Châtelet à Paris.


Samuel Parent se distingue également pour ses talents d'accompagnateur : depuis janvier 2014, il est le pianiste de Yanowski qu'il accompagne dans son tour de chant « la Passe Interdite ». Il est régulièrement invité dans diverses académies estivales pour apporter son soutien à de nombreux étudiants. Depuis 2015, il est le pianiste accompagnateur de la classe d'Excellence de Violoncelle de Gautier Capuçon à la Fondation Louis Vuitton à Paris. En 2019, Samuel Parent est l'un des accompagnateurs officiels du Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth à Bruxelles.


Samuel Parent se distingue également pour ses talents d'accompagnateur : depuis janvier 2014, il est le pianiste de Yanowski qu'il accompagne dans son tour de chant « la Passe Interdite ». Il est régulièrement invité dans diverses académies estivales pour apporter son soutien à de nombreux étudiants. Depuis 2015, il est le pianiste accompagnateur de la classe d'Excellence de Violoncelle de Gautier Capuçon à la Fondation Louis Vuitton à Paris. En 2019, Samuel Parent est l'un des accompagnateurs officiels du Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth à Bruxelles.Samuel Parent se distingue également pour ses talents d'accompagnateur : depuis janvier 2014, il est le pianiste de Yanowski qu'il accompagne dans son tour de chant « la Passe Interdite ». Il est régulièrement invité dans diverses académies estivales pour apporter son soutien à de nombreux étudiants. Depuis 2015, il est le pianiste accompagnateur de la classe d'Excellence de Violoncelle de Gautier Capuçon à la Fondation Louis Vuitton à Paris. En 2019, Samuel Parent est l'un des accompagnateurs officiels du Concours Musical Reine Elisabeth à Bruxelles.