Composers / Thomas Tellefsen / Routes


Trasa A student in France (1842–1849)

"Paris is my idol” (Tellefsen in a letter of 1843)

Thomas Tellefsen came to Paris around 10 June 1842. At that time, the city was the uncontested capital of musical Europe. It drew musicians, composers and young people studying playing or composition from all across the continent. Tellefsen could attend fabulous opera shows and concerts by the best virtuosos. Thanks to his Norwegian acquaintances, he gained access to the most elegant salons of Paris, where he could listen to the music of Liszt and witness his personality cult. The young Thomas arrived in Paris at the time of year when all the major teachers had left the city. However, he quickly befriended the Norwegian-born pianist Charlotte Thygeson (1811–1880), who became his first music teacher in Paris.

Only in the Autumn of 1844 did he finally get in touch with Chopin and become his student, which he remained until the spring of 1847. Over that period, he matured musically, in terms of both playing technique and composing skills. During the first years of his time in France, Tellefsen played extensively in Le Havre and Honfleur. Those performances provided him with much needed funds to continue his studies and support his life in Paris.