Verbier Festival

Martin T:son Engstroem
Founder & Director

Martin T:son Engstroem  was born in 1953 in Stockholm. He grew up there and obtained his degree in Music History and Russian at Stockholm University. Moving to Paris in 1975, he became a partner in the artistic agency Opéra et Concert. He also worked closely with Herbert von Karajan for many years. He moved to Switzerland in 1986. During this period, he was a consultant for EMI France, for the Ludwigsburger Schlossfestspiele and the Opéra national de Paris.

In 1991, he set up what would become the Verbier Festival and Academy with its first edition in 1994. He is still its Executive Director. In 2000 and 2005, he set up respectively the Verbier Festival Orchestra and the Verbier Festival Chamber Orchestra. In 2013, a new education project was launched under his initiative, the Verbier Festival Music Camp (today renamed the Verbier Festival Junior Orchestra).

From 1999 to 2003, he was Vice-President of Deutsche Grammophon for the sector “Artists and Repertoire”. Then from 2003 to 2005, he was appointed Senior Executive Producer & Artist Development. During this period, he was responsible for the recordings of Anne-Sophie Mutter, Pierre Boulez, Claudio Abbado and Maurizio Pollini and also signed new artists such as Anna Netrebko, Lang Lang, Yundi Li, Hélène Grimaud, Ilya Gringolts, Hilary Hahn and Esa-Pekka Salonen.

Martin T:son Engstroem has served on the juries of numerous competitions, such as the 50th Paganini Competition in Genoa (2005), Thomas Quasthoff’s first Das Lied Competition (2009), the Clara Haskil Competition and the Tchaikovsky Competition.  He is also a member of several Foundation Boards, including the Béjart Ballet, Lausanne and the Tibor Varga Academy, Sion. He is a member of the Governing Board of the Glion Institut de Hautes Etudes.

In April 2015, he received the Dmitri Shostakovich Prize at a ceremony held at the Pushkin State Museum of Fine Arts, in Moscow. Awarded by the Yuri Bashmet Foundation, it is considered to be one of the most prestigious prizes in the field of Russian art. He is the first  laureate of the Dmitri Shostakovich Prize who is not a musician.

Martin T:son Engstroem has worked as Global Advisor on Artistic Planning for IMG Artists and as consultant for Rolex in developing artistic projects in China and India.

Since 2016 he has been a Board Member of the Macao Festival. In 2018 he became Artistic Director both of the Tsinandali Festival in Georgia and of the Riga Jurmala Festival in Latvia.