“Thomas Dunford’s flexible technique, combined with his passion for jazz, allows him to approach scores with improvisational abandon, shedding new light on early music… A true ‘Eric Clapton’ of the lute.” Kate Bolton, BBC Magazine
Born in Paris in 1988, Thomas Dunford discovered the lute at the age of 9 thanks to his teacher Claire Antonini. He continued his studies at the Conservatoire de Paris where he obtained a first prize in the class of Charles-Edouard Fantin, then at the Schola Cantorum in Basel with Hopkinson Smith. He participated in numerous masterclasses with lutenists such as Rolf Lislevand, Julian Bream, Eugène Ferré, Paul O’Dette, Pascale Boquet, Benjamin Perrot and Eduardo Eguez.
From 2003 to 2005, Thomas Dunford made his debut as the lutenist in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night at the Comédie Française. Since then, he has given concerts all over the world: Carnegie Hall and the Frick Collection in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Washington Kennedy Center, Vancouver Recital Society, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Philharmonies of Paris and Berlin, TAP Poitiers, WDR Cologne, Bozar Brussels… He participates in major festivals such as Saintes, Radio-France Montpellier Occitanie, Ambronay, Leipzig Bachfest, Utrecht, Folles Journées de Nantes and others. He has also performed in England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Germany, Austria, Norway, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, the United States, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Israel, China, Japan and India.
Thomas Dunford is regularly invited to perform or conduct numerous ensembles and orchestras including Les Arts Florissants, the Academy of Ancient Music, La Cappella Mediterranea, Pygmalion… Since 2017, he has also conducted productions at Opera Lafayette in Washington.
In 2018, he created his own ensemble, Jupiter, which includes musicians such as Lea Desandre, Jean Rondeau, Sophie Gent, Théotime Langlois de Swarte, Bruno Philippe, Peter Whelan… Their multi-award winning first disc, dedicated to Vivaldi, was released by Alpha in 2019. The ensemble’s second disc, “Amazone,” also covered in awards and praise, was released in September 2021 by Erato / Warner Classics. Their upcoming projects include a program of Handel oratorios with soloists Lea Desandre and Iestyn Davies. Jupiter has already been programmed in the most important concert halls in Europe and the United States: Philharmonie de Paris, Philharmonie de Berlin, Auditorium Radio-France, ElbPhilharmonie Hamburg, Carnegie Hall in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Festival de Pâques d’Aix-en-Provence, Salle de musique de La Chaux-de-Fonds…
Previously, Thomas Dunford has received numerous awards for his solo discs (on Alpha): Lacrimae in 2012, Labirinto d’Amoreen 2014 and Bach Suites solo in 2018.
During the 2021- 2022 season, Thomas Dunford will be touring notably in the United States with the Jupiter ensemble (Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego, Washington, Carnegie Hall in New York…). In the fall, he will be at the Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, then in Japan at the Oji Hall in Tokyo and in the spring at the Palau in Barcelona. He will also be performing at the Wigmore Hall in London in a duo with Jean Rondeau.
Thomas Dunford is attracted to a wide variety of musical genres, including jazz, and collaborates in chamber music projects with conductors and soloists Paul Agnew, Leonardo Garcia Alarcon, Nicola Benedetti, Keyvan Chemirani, William Christie, Jonathan Cohen, Christophe Coin, Iestyn Davies, Lea Desandre, Isabelle Faust, Bobby McFerrin, Philippe Herreweghe, Monica Huggett, Alexis Kosenko, Francois Lazarévitch, Anne-Sophie von Otter, Trevor Pinnock, Patricia Petibon, Sandrine Piau, Anna Prohaska, Hugo Reyne, Anna Reinhold, Jean Rondeau, Skip Sempé, Jean Tubéry .. He has played in several duos: with the harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, with the mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre and with the countertenor Iestyn Davies…
© Stéfan Brion