About

This is Thumb …

Thumb was founded in 2009 by enthusiastic Birmingham Conservatoire students keen to promote and perform innovative and forward thinking works by Conservatoire undergraduate composers. Very quickly the ensemble gained a reputation of performing with high standards and giving original and exhilarating performances. Thumb was soon working with new music specialists such as Mary Wiegold, Chris Redgate and Rowland Sutherland, still maintaining its core remit of encouraging new works and offering young composers performance opportunities to further their career. Since these encouraging beginnings, the ensemble has evolved to working on even more extraordinary projects which further highlight the innovation and creativity emerging from Birmingham.

Recently, Thumb embarked upon an ongoing project featuring new research by composer Stuart Stevens exploring the use of 31 tone equal temperament as an alternative functional harmony. In December 2012 Thumb performed Stevens’ The Tempest alongside other 31 tone works at Birmingham Conservatoire and following outstanding audience feedback the ensemble together with Stevens are now forming plans to share this remarkable sound world with more audiences in the future.

Thumb have given over 50 premieres of new works since their inauguration, and they have also worked alongside established composers such as Mark-Anthony Turnage, Howard Skempton and Joe Cutler. In March 2013 through support from the Musicians Benevolent Fund and the RVW Trust, Thumb performed their premiere commission, Strange to See You Again by Seán Clancy, in a collaborative concert with Birmingham Contemporary Music Group. The ensemble have performed across the country in concert series, festivals and self promoted concerts including at Sounds New Festival, Greenbelt Festival, The Forge Camden and Birmingham Conservatoire.

In December 2012 Thumb announced its first Composer-In-Association as Marc Yeats, with whom they will together commission further new works and partake in mentoring schemes to continue their original remit of promoting the work of upcoming composers.

Thumb’s primary aims are simple: to perform new music to new audiences. The ensemble has comprehensively worked with young and emerging composers, and given over 50 premieres of their works in recent years. Having also begun actively commissioning new works Thumb hopes to continue in this manner and share its passion for contemporary music with new and diverse audiences.

Dan Watson
Artistic Director