Thomas Dempster is a composer writing predominantly chamber, electroacoustic, and multimedia works. With over 70 completed works to his name, his output ranges from solo miniatures to extended works for orchestra with soloists. His music bears accessible yet decidedly individualistic traits, from tonal references to extended techniques, from touching on classical forms to experimental soundscapes and video works.
His music has been performed widely throughout North America and Europe, including GEMDays (UK), Di_Stanze (Italy), Toronto Intenational Electroacoustic Symposium, the San Francisco New Music Festival, Electronic Music Midwest, Electroacoustic Barn Dance, NYCEMF, University of Kentucky new Music Festival, ICMC, the Indiana State University Music Now! Series, SEAMUS, Society of Composers Inc., College Music Society, the National Flute Association, the North American Saxophone Alliance, and numerous others. Dempster is a recipient of awards, honors, and grants from BMI, ASCAP, the South Carolina Arts Commission, Sigma Alpha Iota, Ithaca College, Black House Collective, Vox Novus, and the Columbia (SC) Museum of Art. Among the commissions he has received are those from the Greenbrook Ensemble, the Blue Mountain Ensemble, the Governor’s School of North Carolina, the Ohio State University New Music Ensemble, and others. Several of his works are commercially available from Potenza Music Publishing. He is an affiliate composer of Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI)
Dempster serves as an Assistant Professor of Music at South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, SC, where he teaches courses in music technology, composition and theory, and music business. He directs the BulldogBytes Concert Series at SC State, an annual concert series devoted to experimental and digital music. He is an assistant editor with Jasper magazine (Columbia, SC), a contributor to the new music digest I Care If You Listen, and an album reviewer for the Society for Electroacoustic Music in the United States (SEAMUS). He has given lectures on musical aesthetics, intellectual property issues, and musical analysis at CMS, NYCEMF, and SCMEA conferences. He studied at the University of Texas (MM, DMA) with Kevin Puts, Dan Welcher, and Russell Pinkston, and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (BM) with Eddie Bass, Craig Walsh, and Frank McCarty. He studied bassoon with Michael Burns, has performed with many orchestras throughout the Southeast, and is a proponent of extended performance techniques for the bassoon.
Dempster resides in the Columbia area with his wife, visual artist Kara Gunter. When not teaching, composing, bassooning, or otherwise musicking, Dempster can be found tending to his lush front yard gardens or thumbing through the various books that have taken over his house. Some weekends he can be found searching the state for either the perfect shrimp and grits or the best curry. Visit his website at www.thomasdempster.com.