“Thomas Dunford’s supple technique, combined with his passion for jazz, allows him to decorate and elaborate the written texts with improvisatory abandon, shedding new light on old favourites. He really plumbs the depths, too, of Dowland’s melancholy ‘blues’ style, proving himself to be an 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 unanimously in the class of Charles-Edouard Fantin, then at the Schola Cantorum in Basel with Hopkinson Smith. He participated in many masterclasses with violinists such as Rolf Lislevand, Julian Bream, Eugène Ferré, Paul O’Dette, Pascale Boquet, Benjamin Perrot and Eduardo Eguez.
From 2003 to 2005, Thomas made his debut as a lutenist in Shakespeare’s Night of the Kings on the stage of the Comédie Française. Since then, he has given concerts all over the world: Carnegie Hall and Frick Collection in New York, Wigmore Hall in London, Washington Kennedy Center, Vancouver Recital Society, Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, Philharmonies de Paris et 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 also plays in England, Scotland, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Spain, Austria, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Czech Republic, Denmark, United States, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, Israel, China, Japan and India.
Thomas Dunford is regularly invited to perform or conduct ensembles and orchestras: A 2 Violes Esgales, Les Arts Florissants, Academy of Ancient Musik, Akadêmia, Amarillis, Les Ambassadeurs, Arcangelo, La Cappella Mediterranea, Capriccio Stravagante, Le Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, La Chapelle Rhénane, Cincinnati Orchestra, Clematis, Collegium Vocale Gent, Le Concert Spirituel, Le Concert d’Astrée, The English Concert, l’Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, La Fenice, Les Folies Françoises, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Marsyas, Les Musiciens du Louvre, Les Musiciens du Paradis, Les Musiciens de Saint-Julien, Les Ombres, Pierre Robert, Pygmalion, La Sainte Folie Fantastique, Scherzi Musicali, La Serenissima, Les Siècles, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, La Symphonie du Marais… He has also directed productions at Opéra Lafayette in Washington since 2017.
In 2018, at the age of thirty, Thomas Dunford created his own ensemble, Jupiter, to which he invited all the musicians who had marked his career and with whom he wanted to lead a musical adventure as much as a friendly one, such as Lea Desandre, Jean Rondeau, Sophie Gent, Théotime Langlois de Swarte, Bruno Philippe, Peter Whelan… Their first disc dedicated to Vivaldi, multi-awarded, was released by Alpha in 2019. Their next projects include a program by Mardrigaux de Monteverdi and “Amazones”, a program of French-Italian recital with Lea Desandre. Jupiter is already scheduled in the largest theatres 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, Aix-en-Provence Easter Festival…
Thomas Dunford previously received numerous awards for his solo records (at Alpha): Lacrimae in 2012, Amore’s Labirinto in 2014 and Bach’s Suites solo in 2018.
Thomas Dunford is drawn to a wide variety of musical genres, including jazz, and collaborates with 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 notably plays in several duets: with harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, with mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre or with counter-tenor Iestyn Davies.
Thomas Dunford © Stéfan Brion