The French lutenist Thomas Dunford, a rising star in historically informed performance, has signed an exclusive agreement with Warner Classics.

He performs with Jupiter, the instrumental ensemble he founded in 2018, on the forthcoming Erato release Amazone, an ambitiously conceived collection of baroque arias celebrating the legendary warrior queens who were a great source of inspiration for the composers of the 18th century. This first solo project from another recent signing to the Erato label, French-Italian mezzo-soprano Lea Desandre, will include a number of world premiere recordings of rediscovered works. It is scheduled for release in Autumn 2021.

Dunford made his Erato debut with the album Barricades, released in Spring 2020. Recorded in partnership with harpsichordist Jean Rondeau, and featuring Lea Desandre in arias by Rameau and Charpentier, it was described by the New York Times as “an assured yet probing collection of French Baroque music”, while Gramophone wrote that “Dunford and Rondeau are … steeped in this rich and subtle repertoire, and play it like they own it.”

As Thomas Dunford says: “This adventure with Erato was launched by a meeting with Alain Lanceron. We found so much common ground in our artistic thinking, and his belief in me and in supporting my various projects confirmed my readiness to join the label, which enjoys such a glowing reputation.”

Commenting on the signing of both Dunford and Lea Desandre, Alain Lanceron, President of Warner Classics & Erato, says:

“Lea Desandre and Thomas Dunford are emblematic of the rising generation of musicians in historically informed performance. Sharing their joy in music-making with their listeners, they combine integrity with imagination, curiosity with creativity, and discipline with a sense of freedom. While respecting tradition and scholarship, they imbue all their endeavours with a spirit of adventure. With Lea being French-Italian, and Thomas being French with an American father, it is hardly surprising that they can transcend so many borders with apparent ease while retaining a distinctive identity. We are delighted that they have made this major commitment to the Erato label.”