Thomas Butler

  • Composer

Thomas Butler is a composer and producer based in Glasgow. He sees the act of composition as the creation of a performance in its entirety, not simply the writing of dots on a page. This expanded approach to composition sees many of his pieces contain extra-musical elements such as video, still images, lighting effects and theatrical gestures, which are used to explore recurring themes of technology, authority and illusion.

Between 2013–14, Thomas was the Sound and Music Embedded Composer in Residence with the Red Note Ensemble. During the residency he created Elbow Room, which, through instrumental performance, location recordings and video, tells the story of the mid-twentieth century plan to demolish the city of Glasgow and replace it with a futuristic concrete utopia.

After studying music at the University of Edinburgh, Thomas studied composition at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland where he is currently a PhD candidate under the supervision of Gordon McPherson and Yannis Kyriakides. He is active as a conductor, produces the new music podcast I'LL CADENCE WHEN I DIE!, manages the peer-reviewed Scottish Journal of Performance, produces events for Ensemble Thing, and teaches musicianship, music theory and composition.

Thomas is grateful to have received funding from the RVW Trust, Laura Ashley Foundation, Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Donald Dewer Awards for the Arts, and the Leverhulme Trust.


Impressive... a knowing self-parody, audacious and playful, and it achieves that rarest of things: genuine laughter at a contemporary music concert.

Kate Molleson, The Herald, on Struction.

Some of the most interesting music being written in Scotland right now.

Carol Main, The Scotsman, on Replaceable Parts for the Irreplaceable You.

Stunningly original and very modern.

Henry Northmore, The List, on Replaceable Parts for the Irreplaceable You.