My first introduction to music was learning the drums when I was nine at Ballard School, Hampshire. This gave me a fascination with rhythm that led to my playing bass guitar in a band with friends at school that we continued until we left for university.

I originally took up the double bass to learn jazz but, after my first bass teacher, Lee Marchant, encouraged me to start with classical double bass, I joined the Hampshire County Youth Orchestra (HCYO) and became hooked on the sound of the symphony orchestra.

During my sixth form years at Brockenhurst, I carried on playing in HCYO and started playing functions with my band, doing jazz and rock sets at weddings and events around Hampshire and Dorset. After I’d finished my A-levels, I organised an opera gala to raise funds for the charity JDRF. These experiences led to an appreciation that everyone involved in the performance of music or any other live arts is of equal importance whether they are on stage or not.

I was fortunate to study under the London Philharmonic Principal Double Bass, Kevin Rundell, whilst I was at Guildhall. Following my undergraduate studies there, I stayed on as a master’s student on the Orchestral Artistry course (in association with the London Symphony Orchestra) and then as the Guildhall Double Bass Fellow 2018-19.

During my time at Guildhall I engaged with different departments and genres, such as studying baroque bass with Cecelia Bruggemeyer of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, taking part in side by side projects with the Academy of Ancient Music, playing in orchestras for Symphony & Opera projects and playing the music of Frank Zappa with Guildhall contemporary ensemble ‘UBU’.

I also really enjoyed playing bass guitar in the Leadership Course’s ‘Messengers’ ensemble, a community music group that supports people recovering from issues relating to homelessness. The leadership and communication skills modeled by the course leader, Sigrun Griffiths, were very inspiring and I try to bring this approach to all of my music making.

Beyond performing, I have an interest in how music works behind the scenes and spent several weeks as acting orchestral manager at the Guildhall in November 2019, managing their Symphony Orchestra concert with Thomas Dausgard and a workshop with the LSO and Michael Tilson Thomas.

I love listening, watching and performing a variety of music, believing that variety is one of music’s greatest strengths.


Guildhall School of Music and Drama
London, UK

Quickfire Questions

How would you persuade someone who has never heard ‘classical music’ before to come with you to a concert?
I’d always ask someone what type of music they like and then try and find a programme that I think they might be able to connect with. If someone is really into their heavy metal, then I would take them to see something like Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring because it’s impossible not to hear the similarities.

What do you do with your time when you’re not playing music?
I’m an avid Southampton FC fan and watch them home and away when I can. The atmosphere at a football match can equal that of a powerful orchestral performance. I also love my food and cook as much as I can from scratch.

Tell us something about yourself that might surprise us.
When I was trying to improve playing solo repertoire from memory, I learned every team that has won the European Cup/Champions League in football since the competition’s inception in 1955.

Tom is a member of the 2020-2021 fellowship.