Composer Luke Bedford speaking with Sound Investor Frank North

Celebrating 25 years of BCMG’s pioneering Sound Investment scheme


A full press release and associated images can be downloaded using the links in the right column.

In 1991, long before the word ‘crowd-funding’ had even entered the lexicon, Birmingham Contemporary Music Group launched Sound Investment, classical music’s first crowd-funding scheme.

Sound Investment was launched with the simple aim of putting music lovers at the very heart of commissioning new music and widening support for composers. The scheme establishes a social framework for contemporary composition by enabling music enthusiasts to follow the creation of a new piece of music from original concept to first rehearsal and performance, and to meet and get to know composers and musicians.

To celebrate the first 25 years of BCMG Sound Investment, former BCMG Music Director Thomas Adès conducts a special concert celebrating its rich past and promising future, at CBSO Centre, Birmingham on Saturday 10 December. Adès’s 1997 Concerto Conciso, which BCMG will perform later this season*, is amongst the widely performed Sound Investment works. He is one of dozens of composers to have benefitted from the strong vision and support of Sound Investment.

The anniversary concert is centred on the latest Sound Investment premiere, a tragicomedy for soprano (Elizabeth Atherton) and ensemble by rising Spanish star Francisco Coll. The concert also features two works from 2016: Zoë Martlew’s barnstorming Broad Street Burlesque, and the world premiere of the complete version of Richard Baker’s Hwyl fawr ffrindiaur/Bant â ni. The concert is completed by two popular successes from the first 25 years of Sound Investment: Simon Holt’s arresting and otherworldly revision of his Capriccio Spettrale from 2009 and Gerald Barry’s 2000 work, Wiener Blut, which he describes as: “prompted by my idea of mass-producing a Poignancy Grid for sale in supermarkets. Because all the harmonies would have a distilled poignant essence, they could be played in any way and be poignantly foolproof… BCMG was a supermarket and I could not have been happier in it.”

Over the past quarter of a century, over 400 people in the UK and internationally, have supported Sound Investment, collectively donating more than a quarter of a million pounds to the creation of new music by purchasing individual £150 sound units. Sound Investors have played a vital role in establishing a vibrant catalogue of more than 85 works from the world’s leading composers, many of which have subsequently been heard on the international stage, including performances in Japan, Australia, Brazil, USA, Colombia and across Europe. Investors are drawn from all walks of life, from across the UK, Europe and as far away as the USA – millennials, baby boomers, organisations who have clubbed together to buy Sound Units, leading figures in UK music, fellow composers, musicians and artists all make up the community of Sound Investors, past and present.

Stephan Meier, Artistic Director of Birmingham Contemporary Music Group comments:

“Sound Investors share with BCMG a mercurial enjoyment in seeing a new work develop and an inherent sense of adventure. The brilliance of Sound Investment lies in its simplicity; in creating Sound Investment, my predecessors, Simon Clugston and Stephen Newbould, developed a model for engagement and creative fundraising that was way ahead of its time, and which has been admired and replicated in various forms worldwide. Most importantly, it has created an international BCMG family that extends far beyond the concert platform. Our challenging task is to continue to stay ahead of the game and develop new possible forms of investing, something we are very much looking forward to doing.”

Further press information from:
Sophie Cohen on 020 7428 9850 / 07711 551 787 /

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