Martin Skafte is a Swedish composer known for his works for solo piano, chamber music, voice, and choir. His compositions are published by Gehrmans musikförlag in Sweden and Norsk Musikforlag, Musikkforlagene in Norway.
He came to international recognition in 2017, when his piano suite 24 Preludes – Inspired by Claude Debussys Préludes for Piano was published by the leading Swedish publisher Gehrmans Musikförlag. He was invited to speak about his work to international audiences, which include Boston Conservatory and Berklee School of Music in the USA and Norges musikkhøgskole and Musikhögskolan i Malmö in Scandinavia.
Among Skafte’s notable compositions are three reworkings of selected mazurkas by Chopin, Three Etudes, Six Bagatelles (to be performed with Beethoven’s Op 126 Bagatelles), a song cycle Preludier for soprano, Scala Fenicia for cor anglaise and piano, and Engång for mixed choir and solo soprano.
His music has been championed by the leading Swedish pianist Peter Jablonski, for whom he has written a Fantasia over two works by Scriabin, premiered at the Karlskrona International Piano Festival on 14 November 2021. His music has also been performed and promoted by the pianists Jonas Olsson (Sweden) and Stephen Porter (USA), among others.
Skafte was educated at Gotland School of Music Composition in Visby, Sweden, and at the Academy of Music and Drama in Gothenburg, Sweden. He held artist residencies at Visby International Composers Centre in 2016, 2019, and 2020, and Villa San Michele – Anacapri, Capri in 2019. He is recipient of multiple grants and scholarships, which include funding from Swedish Arts Grants Committe, STIM, Helge Ax:son Johnsons Foundation, and Längmanska Foundation, among others.
His current projects include composition of a piano trio and a piano concerto To The Lighthouse (based on the eponymous novel by Virginia Woolf) for Peter Jablonski.
On 2 December 2022, London-based label Toccata Classics will release his 24 Preludes, recorded by pianist Jonas Olsson.
Future plans include a European tour with American pianist Stephen Porter, who will perform a selection of his piano works for international audiences.
On 20 February 2023, Skafte's selection of preludes will receive their Japanese premiere, performed by Peter Jablonski.
November 2022. Not to be altered without permission.
Martin Skafte's Fantasia on Two Pieces by Scriabin (Mazurka Op 25 No 3 and Piano Sonata No 9) was composed for Peter Jablonski in 2021.
Skafte has drawn inspiration from working with master pieces of historical piano literature, completing in 2017 a set of 24 Preludes for piano, inspired by Debussy's piano preludes.
Skafte says: 'The aim was to create a "fictional dialogue" through which my music would speak with, and learn from Debussy's music. The goal being that of a third voice potentially emerging throughout the process, a voice that would potentially carry something from both worlds within it; perhaps an "alchemical" essence? - not necessarily of style, but of spirit.'
The Scriabin-inspired work includes a mazurka from Op 25 and Piano Sonata No 9 ('Black Mass'), creating a foundation for Skafte's new composition.
The composer reflects: 'Scriabin became an instant favourite of mine when I first heard his music, and it gives me great pleasure - together with Peter Jablonski - to present a new piano piece honouring his significance to me as a composer.'
World premiere took place on 14 November 2021, at the Karlskrona International Piano Festival in Sweden.