Hello! I'm Alan Thomas, one of the trumpet tutors at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. I'm very proud of the Conservatoire as I studied here myself 1996-2000 and still live in the area.
My main job is Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra in London, most famed for it's performances in the BBC proms every year, including the big 'Last Night!'.
I'm also a member of two very highly acclaimed brass chamber music groups, 'Onyx Brass,' and the brass septet 'Septura'. Both highly recorded. As well as teaching at the Conservatoire I'm a Trumpet Professor at the Royal College of Music.
Before joining the BBC I was Joint-Principal Trumpet of the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra between 2004-2013 alongside my friend, teacher and mentor Jon Holland, who also teaches at the Conservatoire.
I first started learning on the cornet, as many trumpet players do, at my local brass band in Sussex. During my teens I went through a difficult period of major dental work and fixed braces and managed to overcome these to win a place at Birmingham Conservatoire (with fixed braces still attached), where I studied with Andy Culshaw and Jon Holland.
During this time I won the 1999 the Shell/LSO brass scholarship performing the Hummel Trumpet Concerto in the Barbican and a year later won the Philip Jones Brass prize in the Royal Overseas League Competition a year later.
I also won completions in the Conservatoire which are still running today, such as the CBSO training scheme, Alfred Corfield trumpet prize, BC Brass Prize, Bernard Brown Brass ensemble prize, and the Ludlow Philharmonic Concerto Prize.
Following this I was awarded a scholarship to do a postgraduate year at the Royal College of Music, supported by the Leverhulme award and the Leggett trust, under the instruction of Malcolm Smith and Andy Crowley. During my studies I gained extra orchestral experience with the European Union Youth Orchestra and the Young Musicians Symphony Orchestra.
On leaving full time education I started a freelance career playing with such orchestras as the LSO, Philharmonia, Royal Opera House, Royal Philharmonic, London Sinfonietta, London Brass, Ensemble Modern, and was Principal Trumpet of Glyndebourne Touring Opera. I was then fortunate enough to win my first full time job in the CBSO.
I'm very interested in the psychological aspect of performance and a keen educationalist, enjoying visiting and coaching various schools and ensembles. During my time at the CBSO I led and was an integral part of many projects.
In any spare time I have (!), I enjoy keeping fit, watching sport, holidays, and spending time with my very supportive and patient wife (a viola player in the CBSO) and my 2 children.
Feel free to follow me on Twitter @noteblower