One of Britain’s foremost pianists, Susan Tomes grew up in Edinburgh and was the first woman to study music at King’s College, Cambridge. She is in demand as a recitalist and concerto soloist, and has recorded over fifty CDs, winning many international recording awards. She is particularly renowned for her achievements in chamber music. For sixteen years she was the pianist of the award-winning group Domus, and since 1993 has been the pianist of the Gaudier Ensemble. In 1995 she co-founded the Florestan Trio, now one of the world’s leading piano trios and one of the most-recorded. The trio won a 1999 Gramophone Award and a Royal Philharmonic Society Award 2000. Its own festival, the Florestan Festival at Peasmarsh, has been running for 14 years.
Susan is also the author of three books about performing music: ‘Beyond the Notes’ (2004), ‘A Musician’s Alphabet’ (2006) and ‘Out of Silence’ (2010). ‘Out of Silence’ was a Book of the Month in several magazines, and the Times Literary Supplement wrote that ‘Susan has a particular understanding of humanity rare in writing about music’. Earlier this year, The Times singled out Susan’s writing for particular praise: ‘The most successful writers are often musicians themselves – Robert Schumann in the 19th century, for example, and Susan Tomes in the 21st.’
Susan writes articles and book reviews for The Guardian, and reviews books for The Independent. She has written and presented programmes on BBC Radio 3 and Radio 4. She is an Affiliate Artist at the new music research centre at Cambridge University. She gives masterclasses, sits on competition juries and award panels, gives seminars, and is a keynote speaker at dinners and conferences. Her blog at www.susantomes.com is currently one of the leading classical music blogs written entirely by one person.
Susan has been awarded the Worshipful Company of Musician’s 2013 Walter Willson Cobbett Medal, given each year ‘to a distinguished musician in recognition of services to chamber music’. Past winners include Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, Pablo Casals, Yehudi Menuhin, Myra Hess, Norbert Brainin, Julian Bream and Graham Johnson.