Michael Thurber

Michael Thurber is an American composer, songwriter, bassist and actor. He is a co-founder of CDZA,[1] a YouTube music collective that performed at the YouTube Music Awards in 2013.[2] Thurber has composed scores for theater productions such as Antony and Cleopatra at The Public Theater and Sugar In Our Wounds at the Manhattan Theater Club. From 2015 to 2016 he was the bassist for Stay Human, the house band on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.[1] He is on the Board of Directors of National Public Radio's From the Top and teaches at New York University's Clive Davis Institute.[3]

Michael Thurber
BornTulsa, Oklahoma
  • Composer
  • songwriter
  • bassist
Associated acts

Early lifeEdit

Michael Thurber was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and grew up in Portage, Indiana.[1] He graduated high school from the Interlochen Arts Academy in 2005.[4][5]


In 2005, Thurber was accepted into The Juilliard School in New York City.[1] He was the first undergraduate to be accepted into both the Classical and Jazz divisions.[6] He was a member of Remington, a rock band he founded in 2005 with Ross Mintzer.[7] In 2007, he performed on NPR's From the Top with banjo player Bela Fleck.[8]

Stay Human and bassistEdit

From 2015 to 2016, he was the bassist on CBS's The Late Show with Stephen Colbert as a member of the house band, Jon Batiste and Stay Human.[1] While in the band, he recorded The Late Show EP.[9] Currently, he performs international in a duo with violinist Tessa Lark.

Cdza and YouTubeEdit

In 2012, Thurber co-founded CDZA with Joe Sabia and Matthew McCorkle.[10] CDZA was a YouTube-based music collective that featured over 100 young, conservatory trained performers. As of 2019, the CDZA YouTube channel has over 304,000 subscribers and over 36 million views.[11] In 2012, they created AT&T's "Thank You Notes", a digital ad campaign in collaboration with BBDO.[12] They performed at the first ever YouTube Music Awards, headlining alongside Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Eminem and M.I.A..[13] Thurber later worked with YouTube's event teams as Music Director.[6]


Thurber wrote the score for Antony and Cleopatra, a co-production between The Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford, UK and The Public Theater.[14] In 2013, Thurber's musical Goddess was accepted into The Eugene O'Neill Musical Theater Conference.[15] From 2012 to 2017, Thurber wrote the music for several of The Public Theater's Mobile Shakespeare productions including Pericles, Macbeth, and Twelfth Night.[16] Thurber also acted in Twelfth Night, performing the role of Antonio.[17]

In 2016, Thurber wrote and performed his one man musical The Booty Call, which was produced for a month long run at The Barrow Group Theater.[18]

In 2018, Thurber composed scores for the plays Sugar In Our Wounds[19] at MTC and Eddie and Dave at The Atlantic Theater Company.[20] In 2018, he received a Working Farm residency at SPACE on Ryder Farm.[21]

Concert music and other compositionsEdit

In 2015, Thurber wrote Three Musketeers: A Play for Instruments. The piece is a quadruple concerto written for and featuring pianist Kris Bowers, clarinetist Mark Dover and violinist Charles Yang. It was premiered on a live radio broadcast with The Interlochen Academy Orchestra.[22] That same year, Thurber also joined the board of NPR's From The Top and composed music for the dance piece "B Sides" choreographed by Tiffany Rea Fisher for Dallas Black Dance.[23]

In 2016, he composed "Jam Session", a horn piece for virtuoso hornist William VerMeulen, commissioned by the International Horn Society[24] and a violin concerto "Love Letter" for violinist Tessa Lark.[25] Thurber has written commercial scores for Vanity Fair, BBC America and CollegeHumor.[26]


  1. ^ a b c d e Suchow, Rick. "Michael Thurber: Staying Human with 'The Late Show' and Collective Cadenza". BassPlayer.com. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  2. ^ della Cava, Marco. "YouTube to stage its own music awards show". USA TODAY. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  3. ^ "Collaborate". ELISA MONTE DANCE. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Alumnus Michael Thurber Reinvents Musical Fun | Interlochen Center for the Arts". www.interlochen.org. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  5. ^ Hepler Drahos, Marta. "NPR's 'From the Top' returns to Interlochen". Traverse City Record-Eagle. Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b Desk, BWW News. "T. Oliver Reid, Nancy Anderson and Michael Thurber to Lead PREMIERES' Inner Voices Series". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Band Offers Summer Program to Kids in Michigan | From the Top: Celebr…". archive.is. 7 August 2013. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  8. ^ "Thurber Plays Bass, Fleck Plays Banjo". NPR.org. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  9. ^ ""The Late Show EP," By Jon Batiste And Stay Human, Is Now Available - CBS.com". CBS. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  10. ^ Kalish, Jon. "Classical Pranksters Don't Just Play Music: They Play With It". NPR.org. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  11. ^ "collectivecadenza". YouTube. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  12. ^ Nudd, Tim. "AT&T Serenades Hundreds of Fans in Real Time on Facebook". www.adweek.com. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  13. ^ della Cava, Marco. "YouTube to stage its own music awards show". USA TODAY. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  14. ^ "McCraney's 'Antony and Cleopatra' has its cast | Drama Queen". miamiherald.typepad.com. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  15. ^ Saifi, Sophia (2013). "Tales from The O'Neill: Goddess Casts a Spell of Music". Playbill. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  16. ^ "Michael Thurber". www.publictheater.org. Retrieved 22 February 2019.
  17. ^ "Review: Public Theater's 'Twelfth Night'". StageBuddy.com. 1 May 2017. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  18. ^ Collins-Hughes, Laura (29 October 2016). "Review: A Portrait of Living With Mental Illness in 'The Pen'". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  19. ^ Stasio, Marilyn (21 June 2018). "Off Broadway Review: 'Sugar in Our Wounds'". Variety. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  20. ^ Franklin, Marc J. (2018). "Inside Rehearsals for the World Premiere of Eddie and Dave Off-Broadway". Playbill. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  21. ^ "SPACE on Ryder Farm Announces 2018 Residencies". AMERICAN THEATRE. 11 May 2018. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Three Musketeers: A play for instruments". From the Top. 10 April 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  23. ^ "Dallas Black Dance Theatre Pushing Boundaries with Wireless Headphones". BroadwayWorld.com. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  24. ^ "About the IHS - IHS Online". www.hornsociety.org. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  25. ^ Fleming, John. "MusicalAmerica - Where Are They Now?Violinist Tessa Lark". www.musicalamerica.com. Retrieved 26 February 2019.
  26. ^ "Michael Thurber". For Bass Players Only. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 26 February 2019.