Musical Director

Steve Dummer

Steve originally trained as a clarinettist under the late, great Jack Brymer at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. He subsequently studied conducting at the Royal College of Music, under Christopher Adey and Edwin Roxburgh. He has been described by the French conductor and contemporary music specialist Diego Masson as “one of the best young conductors I have ever met”.

In 1998, with funding from an “Arts for Everyone” grant, he formed the highly acclaimed group Talkestra, which tries to reach new audiences for concert music with a new way of concert giving. “Strongly recommended” by the BBC, Talkestra performances feature a ‘tour’ of the music to give a better starting point for listening, making the atmosphere of the concert hall less intimidating. Their inimitable approach has led to appearances at Brighton Festival Fringe, Adur Festival, Adur Arts Forum, Arundel Festival giving five world premieres as well as a series of Twentieth Century classics at The Old Market in Hove. The series included a performance of Pierrot Lunaire with the pianist Julian Jacobson as reciter, described by one critic as “the best performance I’ve ever heard”. They are now in great demand for concerts around the country and for education work throughout the South East.

He is director of the wind band course at Dartington International Summer School and regularly conducts concerts there with both amateurs and professionals. These have included a collaboration with Harrison Birtwistle on a programme of his music with the Concillium orchestra, many concertos (David Campbell, Nona Liddell, Andrew Ball and Gerard McChrystal amongst others), and some Pro-Am spectaculars including a late night, open air performance of Beethoven’s Battle Symphony with fireworks. He is also a conductor for the European Youth Summer Music Summer School giving the British premiere of Matthew Hindson’s ‘RPM’ in 2003.

Other groups he has conducted include Composers Ensemble, Trinity College of Music Music Theatre Group, Essential Opera, Connecticut Comic Opera Company, Concillium, Bravo Productions – Dubai (performances of Hansel and Gretel), Elmhirst Ensemble, Oxford University Chamber Orchestra, Southampton University Symphony Orchestra, Clifton Camerata and the Royal College of Music Symphony Orchestra. He has conducted the world premiere of ‘Nomade’ by German clarinettist Michael Riessler with the Jena Philharmonic Orchestra, and in May 2005 he conducted the British premiere of Milhaud’s Medeé with Opera Up Close. He regularly works with student and amateur groups being conductor of Aylesbury Choral Society for ten years and guest conductor and wind coach for Brighton Youth Orchestra which included performances around UK and tours to Hong Kong, Germany and France. He is a regular collaborator with New Music Brighton, the largest composers collective in the UK giving many first performances as a conductor and player. He is musical director of the newly formed COMA Sussex (Contemporary Music making for Amateurs) which recently played in the new Brighton Library to an audience of 250 as part of the Brighton Live Festival.

As a clarinetist he still gives regular concerts throughout the UK and in Europe including recitals at Dartington International Summer School and the Chapel Royal, Brighton and two concerto appearances with Horsham Symphony Orchestra – of which he was a member in the early eighties while at school. He was a member of Juan Martin’s Flamenco Group featuring on the much admired CD ‘Musica Alhambra’ and is a founder member of the zany jazz band Itchy Feet. As a composer and arranger, he has had music played throughout the country including orchestral and ensemble scores, big band charts, a film score for the Brighton Live Festival, and educational music.