JEAN RONDEAU. Studied harpsichord with Blandine Verlet for over ten years, followed by training in basso continuo, organ, piano, jazz and improvisation, and conducting. He pursued further studies at the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique in Paris, graduating with honours, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.
In 2012, at just 21 years old, he became one of the youngest performers ever to take First Prize at the International Harpsichord Competition in Bruges (MAfestival 2012), also winning the EUBO Development Trust prize; an accolade bestowed on the most promising young musician of the European Union. The same year, he claimed second place in the Prague Spring International Harpsichord Competition (64th edition of the Festival, 2012), along with a nod for the best interpretation of the contemporary piece composed specially for that contest. In 2013, he also won the Prix des Radios Francophones Publiques.
Described as “one of the most natural performers one is likely to hear on a classical music stage these days” by the Washington Post, Jean Rondeau is a real ambassador for his instrument. His outstanding talent and approach to harpsichord repertoire has been critically acclaimed, marking him out as one of today’s leading harpsichordists.
In the 2020/21 season, Jean Rondeau makes his debut at the Wiener Konzerthaus playing a solo recital in a Bach and Scarlatti programme. He also debuts at Konzerthaus Dortmund, returns to Köln Philharmonie and plays Poulenc’s Concerto Champêtre at Essen Philharmonie. Rondeau also continues his various collaborations with his chamber music partners: this season includes several recitals in duo with lutenist Thomas Dunford and concerts as an active member of ensembles Nevermind and Jasmin Toccata. He also performs with the Jupiter ensemble at Seine Musicale, and in June 2021 tours his Bach Dynasty project with his own ensemble, play-conducting.
Jean Rondeau is signed to Erato as an exclusive recording artist, where he has recorded several albums championing ancient music, which is core to his musical identity. His debut album, Imagine, featuring music by J. S. Bach, was released in January 2015 and received the Choc de Classica and recognition from the Académie Charles Cros. His second recording on Erato, Vertigo (Diapason d’Or), paid tribute to two Baroque composers from his native France: Jean- Philippe Rameau and Joseph-Nicolas-Pancrace Royer. His third album, Dynastie, explores keyboard concertos by Bach and his three most famous sons: Wilhelm Friedemann, Carl Philipp Emanuel, and Johann Christian. He is play-conducting from the harpsichord on this album. His latest solo album was dedicated to Scarlatti’s Sonata and won the Diapason d’Or de l’année 2019. In May 2020, Jean released his duo album with lutenist Thomas Dunford Barricades, which was critically acclaimed.
THOMAS DUNFORD. 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 de Paris (CRR), when he obtained a unanimous 1st Prize with honors in the class of Charles-Edouard Fantin.
Thomas Dunford 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 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, Bresil, Colombia, Chili, Mexico, United States, Israel, China, Japan and India.
Thomas Dunford’ 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 » was awarded the « Choc » from Classica magazine.
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, Clematis, 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…
Thomas Dunford 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 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…
Jean Rondeau: “Both of us have grown up with this music from the cradle of our earliest infancy; […] It is music that allowed us to become what we are, while at the same time encouraging us to question things constantly. […] Now, playing the music – because, as we all know, we play rather than make music – has become a part that each of us plays, played here as a double act. Each one for himself, with his instrument as a crucible, and at the same time each of us for the other, since after all we are engaged in a performance. We don’t know how to play alone. This is the paradox of the game of music: a cross between extremely precise rules for how to play – how to read this cryptic language we spend our life deciphering, like hieroglyphs – and the magic to which it leads us – its at once organic and dreamlike dimension. This is where we find our shared expression: in a shared ordeal, we still don’t fully understand. […] Our playing goes far beyond dialogue: for us, it is not about responding to each other so much as it is about questioning and inviting our listeners to join us in this exploration with no answer or resolution. […] So we brood over this music, we play it endlessly, and we play endlessly. That is precisely what we do in this programme composed almost exclusively of rondos (refrain–verse–refrain–verse), and pieces with repeats in binary form.”
To be confimed