Born in Paris in 1988, Thomas Dunford discovered the lute at the age of nine, thanks to his first teacher Claire Antonini. He completed his studies in 2006 at the Conservatoire Supérieur de Paris (CNR), when he obtained a unanimous 1st Prize with honors in the class of Charles-Edouard Fantin.
He continued his studies at the Schola Cantorum in Basel with Hopkinson Smith, and participated in several master classes with artists the caliber of Rolf Lislevand and Julian Bream, and in workshops with Eugène Ferré, Paul O’Dette, Pascale Boquet, Benjamin Perrot and Eduardo Eguez. He was awarded his Bachelor’s degree in 2009.
From September 2003 through to January 2005, Thomas Dunford gave his first performances playing the role of the lutenist in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” on stage at the Comédie Française. Since then, Thomas has played recitals in New York’s Carnegie Hall and Frick Collection, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Washington Kennedy Center, the Vancouver Recital Society, Cal Performances at Berkeley, the Banff Center, the Palau de la Musica in Barcelona, the festivals of Saintes, Utrecht, Maguelone, Froville, TAP Poitiers, WDR Cologne, Radio France Montpellier, Saffron Hall. He made numerous solo or ensemble appearances in the most prestigious European festivals including Ambronay, Arc La Bataille, Bozar, La Chaise-Dieu, Nantes, Saintes, Utrecht and many others. He has also performed further afield in England, Scotland, Ireland, Spain, Germany, Austria, Norway, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Poland, Hungary, Romania, Estonia, Czech Republic, Brazil, Colombia, Chile, Mexico, United States, Israel, China, Japan and India.
His first solo CD “Lachrimae” recorded for the French label Alpha in 2012, was unanimously acclaimed by critics and was awarded the Caecilia Prize of 2013, “BBC Magazine” calling him the “Eric Clapton of the lute”. His second CD “Labirinto d’Amore” with mezzo soprano Anna Reinhold was awarded the Choc from “Classica” magazine.
His extensive discography includes John Dowland’s music with Jeni Melia and Christopher Goodwin; four CDs with La Capella Mediterranea of music by Barbara Strozzi, the works “Il Diluvio Universale” and “Nabucco” by Falvetti and another work by Zamponi; two CDs of works by Farina and Romero with Clématis Ensemble; violin sonatas with Monica Hugget; two CDs of Forqueray and Dowland with Julien Léonard; Vivaldi with Nicola Benedetti; three recordings of Vivaldi with La Serenissima; Bacilly, Ferrabosco and Marais with A 2 Violes Esgales; Praetorius with Cappricio Stravagante; four CDs of Zelenka, Fasch, bassoon arias, and Handel with Marsyas; six CDs with Arcangelo including Guadagni arias for countertenor Iestyn Davies; Handel arias for Chris Purves; arias for Anna Prohaska; Monteverdi’s madrigals; Couperin’s and Charpentier’s “Leçons de ténèbres”, Couperin’s “Concert Royaux”; Bach’s “Mass in B minor” and “Trauerode” with Ensemble Pygmalion; Geoffroy with harpsichordist Aurélien Delage; early Baroque songs and jazz standards with soprano Jody Pou; Dowland with countertenor Jean-Michel Fumas; the early French composer Attaignant with Pierre Gallon; an English manuscript with La Sainte Folie Fantastique; 2 CDs of Dowland with Iestyn Davies; Italian 17th-century repertoire for cornetto with La Fenice; 3 CDs with Les Arts Florissants: 2 CDs of airs by Lambert with Les Arts Florissants and Monteverdi’s “7th Book of Madrigals”; Bach traverso suites with Les Musiciens de Saint Julien; a CD of Purcell and Charpentier with Chantal Santon; and Gesualdo’s “6th Book of Madrigals” with Philippe Herreweghe.
Thomas Dunford is regularly in demand, playing a variety of early plucked string instruments with the ensembles Les Arts Florissants, Akadêmia, Amarillis, Les Ambassadeurs, Arcangelo, La Cappella Mediterranea, Capriccio Stravagante, Le Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles, La Chapelle Rhénane, Clématis, Collegium Vocale Gent, Le Concert Spirituel, Le Concert d’Astrée, A 2 Violes Esgales, The English Concert, l’Ensemble Baroque de Limoges, La Fenice, Les Folies Francaises, 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 is attracted to a wide variety of music 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 Hugget, Alexis Kosenko, Francois Lazarévitch, Anne-Sophie von Otter, Trevor Pinnock, Patricia Petibon, Sandrine Piau, Anna Prohaska, Anna Reinhold, Hugo Reyne, Jean Rondeau, Skip Sempé, Jean Tubéry…
Pic. Julien Benhamou