Meet the Soloist: Thomas Marlin

Thomas Marlin

Meet Thomas Marlin, cello soloist in Elder Conservatorium Chamber Orchestra's Friday 9 September Lunchtime Concert. Tom will be performing Carl Philipp Emmanuel’s Cello Concerto in A major, in a concert that also features works by Mozart and Elgar.

Originally from Adelaide, Thomas Marlin attended Marryatville High School as part of the Special Interest Music program, whilst taking lessons from Janis Laurs through the Elder Conservatorium’s Single Study Scholarship program. He completed his undergraduate studies with Christian Wojtowicz at the Conservatorium of Music, University of Tasmania, and Li Wei Qin at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore following a brief spell at the Australian National Academy of Music. Thomas went on to attain a Masters with Distinction in Music Performance from the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he studied with Louise Hopkins.

During his formative years, he also took lessons from David Takeno, worked under Lluis Claret and Laurence Lesser at the Holland Music Sessions, and Thomas Adès at the International Musicians Seminar, Prussia Cove, and performed in lesson and masterclasses for David Geringas, Natalie Clein, Peter Frankl, Anner Bylsma, Uzi Wiesel, Raphael Wallfisch, Pieter Wispelwey, and Nicolas Altstaedt. Thomas considers his primary chamber music mentors to have been Janis Laurs, Keith Crellin, William Hennessy, the Tang Quartet (notably Leslie Tan) and Bernard Lanskey, and he also worked closely with Matthew Jones, Alasdair Tait, Caroline Palmer and Carole Presland at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, where he also took regular classes from members of the Endellion, Chillingarian and Belcea Quartets.

As part of his studies at Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, Thomas participated in workshops and performances with the Orchestre des Champs Élysées under the direction of concertmaster Alessandro Moccia. He was then invited to attend their training program, Jeune Orchestre de l’Abbaye, in Saintes, France, where he performed under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe and Jos van Immerseel.

During his time in London, Thomas was regularly sought after as a principal cellist for ensembles such as Melos Sinfonia (Oliver Zeffman), was the founding principal cellist of the Janus Ensemble, with whom he performed Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto No. 1. He gave regular recitals with collaborative pianists including for the Elgar Society’s AGM and his primary chamber music collaborators now make up some of the UK’s leading emerging ensembles such as the Barbican Quartet, Ruisi Quartet and Eusebius Quartet. He completed various tours throughout Europe including Germany, Netherlands, France, Italy, Czech Republic, and Latvia, and performed chamber music in many of London’s leading concert halls including Barbican Hall, Wigmore Hall, LSO St Lukes and St John Smith Square.

As a student, he performed as principal cellist of orchestras under the batons of Mark Wigglesworth, Eiji Oue, and Pietari Inkinen, and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra under Sir Simon Rattle.

Since returning to Australia, Thomas has regularly performed chamber music with principal players from major Australian and regional orchestras, as well as musicians from Australia’s pre-eminent chamber ensembles, and has performed at Canberra International Music Festival, Bangalow Music Festival, and Play On, performed with the Southern Cross Soloists, as a soloist with the Adelaide Chamber Singers and Adelaide Wind Orchestra, has established himself as a core member of Adelaide Baroque, and in 2021 became a founding member of the Alma Moodie Quartet.

Thomas has recently premiered new works from the likes of Donghoon Shin (Korea/Germany), Tom Green and Brian Howard (Australia), and has explored a broad range of genres in collaboration with Momento Music (UK/Canada), stop motion animator Michael Cusack (for the multi-award-winning film, The Better Angels), comedy duo Rackaracka, and South Indian Classical musicians Sikkil Gurucharan, Anil Srinivasan and Navin Chandar.

He has given numerous interviews and performances which have been broadcast on ABC Classic, BBC Radio 3, 5MBS, 5EBI, and Australian Digital Concert Hall. Thomas teaches cello and chamber music both privately and at the Open Music Academy; the Elder Conservatorium’s pre-tertiary training institution.


"Although it is not as commonly performed today as some of the more well known cello concerti, Carl Philipp Emmanuel’s Concerto in A major has experienced somewhat of a resurgence in popularity, particularly in Europe, as a counterpoint to these better known works of its time. This particular concerto by Carl Philipp Emmanuel Bach sits on the cusp of the baroque and classical styles. Effectively, it is neither entirely baroque nor classical.

The slow movement, titled 'Largo mesto' ('mesto' meaning 'sad') - is one of the most heart-wrenchingly beautiful slow movements in all the concertante repertoire for cello, and really helps this piece to hold its own amongst the great repertoire for cello. ECCO director Elizabeth Layton described it in rehearsals as like that of a baroque opera aria.

The outer movements are uplifting in their character; jolly, yet emotionally composed in a way that gives this music sophistication, maturity and a sense of wisdom. Each movement is quite harmonically adventurous - not forced, but naturally guided - as we are so often accustomed to with the music of Carl Philipp Emmanuel’s father, Johann Sebastian. The stunning slow movement sandwiched between the happier movements creates a very balanced work that provides a wonderful manifesto for musical exploration.”

For more information on the Lunchtime Concert Series, visit the website.

Tagged in Lunchtime Concert, Elder Conservatorium of Music, Concert Series