The American cellist, Tamya Tomkins, studied at the University of Southern California with Gabor Rejto and went on to receive her bachelor of fine arts degree from the California Institute of the Arts as a student of Ron Leonard. She moved to Holland to study with the cellist Anner Bylsma and in 1987 earned a soloist's diploma at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague. Inspired by Anner Bylsma, Tomkins became interested in the performance of music on original instruments and particularly music of the Baroque period. As a founding member of the Trio d'Amsterdam (with clarinetist Eric Hoeprich and fortepianist Stanley Hoogland), she made a New York debut at the Frick Collection, which was recorded for National Public Radio and also appeared in Lincoln Center's "Great Performers" series in 1996. The trio recorded a CD for Koch.
During the 14 years Tanya Tomkins was living in Holland, she was primarily active as a chamber musician, performing throughout Europe and the USA to critical acclaim. For five years she played with the award-winning Euridice Quartet. The quartet recorded a CD of the string quartets by Ravel and Debussy (Vanguard). She has also recorded a CD of French Impressionist music with the Renoir Ensemble, a harp quintet specializing in 20th century music. She has performed with the Amsterdam-based SoLaRe String Trio throughout Europe, the USA, and Israel.
In 2001 Tanya Tomkins won the Erwin Bodky Competition for early music soloists in Boston; she was the first cellist to be awarded the prize. As a performer of Baroque music, she serves as co-principal cellist of Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Portland Baroque Orchestra. She has been featured as soloist with Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra; American Bach Soloists; Oregon Bach Festival; Mozart Festival in San Luis Obispo, California; at an early music festival in Paradise, Montana with acclaimed English Baroque violinist Monica Huggett; and at the Göttingen Handel Festival.
Tanya Tomkins, a virtuoso on both the Baroque and modern cello, is equally at home playing a J.S. Bach cello suite in an intimate house concert or anchoring the cello section of the internationally renowned Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra on concert stages around the world. NRC Handelsblad (The Netherlands) describes her as “a cellist with a very special and unusual intensity,” and the Cleveland Plain Dealer calls her "a performer who combines an intense dramatic fire with Apollonian poise.” Immersion in early music was not Tanya Tomkins's exclusive focus, however, and, like her teacher Anner Bylsma, she did not neglect the repertoire for the modern cello and became equally fluent in this..
As an active recitalist and chamber musician on the modern cello, Tanya Tomkins has appeared to critical acclaim throughout Europe, Israel, and the USA. She has performed at major concert halls, including the Amsterdam Concertgebouw Recital Hall, New York City’s Lincoln Center as part of the “Great Performances” series, and the 92nd Street Y for the "Meet the Virtuoso" series, also in New York City. Music festival appearances include the Moab Music Festival in Moab, Utah and Music in the Vineyards in Napa, California, the Umeå Chamber Music Festival in Umeå, Sweden, the Amsterdam Chamber Music Society and Rondje Romantiek.
As part of the Zivian-Tomkins Duo, Tomkins collaborates with pianist and fortepianist Eric Zivian on both modern and original instruments, and she is also a member of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble and the San Francisco String Trio.
She has performed and recorded with orchestras such as The Classical Band (Sony), La Petite Bande (Harmonia Mundi), La Stagione Frankfurt (Harmonia Mundi), the Nederlandse Bachvereniging, Ensemble Bouzignac (Vanguard) and L'Orchestre des Champs-Elysees under the direction of Philippe Herreweghe (Harmonia Mundi).