Augusta Read Thomas
Augusta Read Thomas
born on April, 24, 1964 in Glen Cove, New York

Augusta Read Thomas is the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra until May 2006. She was an Associate Professor on the composition faculty at the Eastman School of Music from 1993-2001 and is now a Professor of Music at Northwestern University (on unpaid leave). She studied at Northwestern University, Yale University, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Seven years after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, she was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM, honorary degree). In 1998 she received the Distinguished Alumni Association Award from St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1999, she won the Award of Merit from the President of Northwestern University. In 2000 she received the Alumnae Award from Northwestern University. Her work is published exclusively by G. Schirmer Music Publisher. She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University from 1991 to 1994. She was a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College in 1990-1991.

Conductors including Daniel Barenboim, Mstislav Rostropovich, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Christoph Eschenbach, Esa-Pekka Salonen, David Robertson, Lorin Maazel, Marin Alsop, Oliver Knussen, George Benjamin, Leonard Slatkin, Mariss Jansons, Gerard Schwarz, Hans Vonk, Markus Stenz, Dennis Russell Davies, Jack Delaney, Donald Hunsberger, John Nelson, Mark Laycock, Cliff Colnot, Norman Scribner, Hyo Kang, Apo Hsu, Bradley Lubman, George Manahan, Jahja Ling, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Manfred Honeck, Morihiko Nakahara, Keith Lockhart, Gil Rose, Jac Van Steen, Hugh Wolff, Gianpiero Taverna, David Gilbert, and Grant Llewellyn have programmed her work.

Upcoming projects include: GRACE NOTES for orchestra, for the Pierre Boulez birthday concert in January 2005, commissioned with Festival Présences by The Orchestre Philharmonique de Radio France to be conducted by Markus Stenz; NEW WORK for band commissioned by Southern Methodist University, Jack Delaney, conductor for a premiere in 2004 season; NEW WORK for chorus, orchestra and soloists commissioned by the NDR for the 2004 Bach Festival in Hamburg (this may be postponed); NEW WORK commissioned by Music Accord for Chanticleer which will be premiered by Chanticleer throughout the 2004-2005 season; TANGLE for orchestra commissioned by the Chicago Symphony and David Robertson for a premiere in March 2004 in Chicago; NEW WORK for orchestra commissioned by the New York Philharmonic and Lorin Maazel for a premiere in September 2004 in New York; RAINBOWBIRD for solo guitar, commissioned by Antigoni Goni will premiere in October 2003; NEW WORK for three cellos, commissioned by the International Cello Congress in Manchester, England for a premiere in May 2004; and NEW WORK for orchestra commissioned by The national Symphony and Mstislav Rostropovich for a premiere in May 2004.

Recent projects include: LIGHT THE FIRST LIGHT OF EVENING for chamber orchestra, commissioned by the London Sinfonietta for the 50th birthday celebration of Oliver Knussen, was premiered at Queen Elisabeth Hall on June 12, 2002, George Benjamin, conducting; CHANTING TO PARADISE for soprano soloist, large chorus and orchestra, commissioned by the NDR and Christoph Eschenbach for a premiere and a German tour in November 2002; (This work received its American Premiere in January 2003 by the Philadelphia Orchestra); IN MY SKY AT TWILIGHT for soprano and ensemble, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW Series, was premiered on December 1, 2002, Pierre Boulez conducting; (Mr. Boulez is conducting the European premiere with the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris in 2004); CANTICLE WEAVING for trombone and orchestra, commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, Esa-Pekka Salonen conducting, was premiered on March 29, 2003; PULSAR for solo violin, commissioned by the Royal Philharmonic Society and the BBC3 as part of New Generation Artist Works, was premiered by Ilya Gringolts on 17 March 2003 in London’s Wigmore Hall; TWO NEW ETUDES for solo piano, commissioned and premiered by James Giles in March 2003.

Past projects and premieres from 2000/01 and 2001/02 included: PRAYER BELLS for orchestra commissioned by the Pittsburgh Orchestra and Mariss Jansons which was premiered in May 2001; DAYLIGHT DIVINE for soprano, children's chorus and orchestra commissioned by John Nelson, Indianapolis Children’s Choir, the American Boy Choir and Soli Deo Gloria which was premiered at the Festival Saint Denise in Paris in June 2001; MURMURS IN THE MIST OF MEMORY for 11 solo strings commissioned by the International Sejong Soloists was premiered at the Aspen Music Festival on August 7, 2001; BLIZZARD IN PARADISE for 8 celli commissioned by the Library of Congress and premiered by Leonard Slatkin and the National Symphony Cello Section on October 3, 2001; and RUMI SETTINGS for violin and viola commissioned by the Tucson Friends of Chamber Music and premiered in February 2002 by Ani and Ida Kavafian.

Solo vocalists including Christine Brewer, Carmen Pelton, Christine Brandes, Dorothea Roschmann, Rebecca Karpoff, Barbara Ann Martin, Simone Nold, and Elizabeth Norman have sung her vocal music.

Premieres and projects of her 1999-2000 season included: AURORA: CONCERTO FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA co-commissioned by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, premiered with Daniel Barenboim as pianist and conductor in Berlin on June 10, 2000; CEREMONIAL commissioned and premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Daniel Barenboim conducting on January 6, 2000; and SONG IN SORROW for orchestra and chorus, commissioned and premiered by the Cleveland Orchestra, June 2000.

SELECTED PERFORMANCES: Ms. Thomas' orchestral works have been performed by the Berlin Philharmonic, the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony, the Dallas Symphony, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Pittsburgh Symphony, the Seattle Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, The New York Chamber Symphony, the New Jersey Symphony, the Louisville Orchestra, ORF-Vienna (Austrian Radio Orchestra), the Residentie Orkest of The Hague, the Rotterdam Philharmonic, the Bochumer Symphoniker, the Fort Worth Symphony, the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, the Washington Choral Arts Society, Soli Deo Gloria, the Virtuosi Players, the Marin Symphony, the Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra, the Berkshire Symphony, the Eastman Philharmonia, the Moscow Conservatory Orchestra, the Syracuse Youth Orchestra, the Columbus (GA) Symphony, the San Francisco Women's Philharmonic, Boston Civic Orchestra, the Long Beach Symphony, the New York Youth Symphony(FIRST HEARING COMMISSION), the Concord Symphony, the Memphis Symphony, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony Orchestras, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra (with Gerardo Ribeiro, soloist) Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay and the Virtuosi Orchestra.

Chamber music works have been programmed by the Aspen Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Festival, Chanticleer, the Atelier Ensemble, the Krannert Center, The Tucson Friends of Chamber Music, the Ensemble Intercontemporain, the Amelia Trio, the Avalon Quartet, The Ying Quartet, Ani and Ida Kavafian, The Miami String Quartet, James Giles, The International Sejong Soloists, the Alexander String Quartet, Ilya Gringolts, The La Jolla Summerfest with David Finckel, Caramoor Music Festival, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, the Eroica Trio, the Stonybrook Contemporary Music Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, the Network for New Music in Philadelphia, the Contemporary Chamber Players at the University of Chicago, the Indiana State University Contemporary Ensemble, the Green Umbrella Series, the Syracuse Society for New Music, the Fischer Duo, Heinrich Schiff, Catherine Tait, the Kapell Trio, Rachel Barton, the Debussy Trio, Antigoni Goni, The Wellesley Composers Conference at the Miller Theater in NY, Trio West, The Lydian String Quartet, Eastman Brass, Jamal Rossi, Laurel Ann Maurer, the Lions Gate Trio, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, John Marcellus, Scott Kluksdahl, Judy Siebert, Laura Frautschi, Bonita Boyd, Nicholas Goluses, the Core Ensemble, the Mendelssohn String Quartet, as well as individual soloists and various University ensembles.

Recent past projects include WORDS OF THE SEA, commissioned and premiered by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Pierre Boulez conducting in December 1996; CHANSON for cello and orchestra commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich and premiered by the Boston Symphony Orchestra, Seiji Ozawa conducting, in April 1997 (Symphony Hall, Boston and Carnegie Hall, NY); BRASS AXIS for the Rascher Saxophone Quartet and Orchestra, commissioned by the American Composers Orchestra, Dennis Russell Davies conducting was premiered in Carnegie Hall, January 11, 1998; CONCERTO FOR ORCHESTRA- ORBITAL BEACONS (for re-seated orchestra - divided into ten sections - 8 concertino groups with 9 soloists and two chamber orchestras,) commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, premiered with Pierre Boulez conducting on November 27, 1998; a ballet entitled PASSIONS commissioned jointly for the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra and the James Sewell Dance Company by the Minnesota Commissioning Club which was premiered in Minneapolis at the Ordway in September 1998; RITUAL INCANTATIONS a cello concerto for cellist David Finckel commissioned by Thomas van Straaten and the Aspen Music Festival for premiere during AMF’s fiftieth anniversary season on July 16, 1999, Hugh Wolff, conducting; FOR EMILY for chorus commissioned by the Dale Warland Singers, premiered on December 4, 1999; INVOCATIONS for string quartet commissioned by the Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival for the Miami String Quartet with funding from Chamber Music America, was premiered on March 19, 2000 in Santa Fe; RING OUT WILD BELLS TO THE WILD SKY (TENNYSON TEXTS) for solo soprano, chorus and orchestra, commissioned and premiered by the Washington Choral Arts Society, premiered February 25, 2000 at the Kennedy Center; and FUGITIVE STAR for string quartet, commissioned by the Caramoor Chamber Music Festival for the Avalon String Quartet, was premiered in summer 2000. Ms. Thomas wrote a work entitled SERENADE for chamber orchestra, commissioned by the Shedd Aquarium for the Seahorse Symphony exhibit, which was recorded on CD by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and is playing, as a tape loop, in the Seahorse exhibit for 6 years.

Ms. Thomas' chamber-opera LIGEIA, (Librettist: Leslie Dunton-Downer, based on a short story by Poe) was awarded the prestigious International Orpheus Prize (Luciano Berio: President of the jury) and was performed in Spoleto, Italy (Luca Ronconi: Director.) LIGEIA, commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich and Rencontres Musicales d'Evian, was premiered by Maestro Rostropovich in the 1994 Evian Festival. The American Premiere took place at the Aspen Music Festival in Aspen, Colorado, July 1995. Leslie Dunton-Downer and Augusta Thomas are continuing their work on two new operas entitled DREAMS IN THE CAVE OF EROS and KASHGAR.

Her discography includes LOVE SONGS and THE RUB OF LOVE recorded by Chanticleer on Teldec, which won a Grammy in 2000. VIGIL, for cello and chamber orchestra which is recorded by Edwin London, conductor, Norman Fischer, cellist, and The Cleveland Chamber Symphony is on the GM Sound Encounters Series, CD# GM2045. Her work MEDITATION for trombone and orchestra is recorded by internationally famous trombonist, Christian Lindberg, and is available on the Grammofon AB BIS (Sweden) label, CD# BIS788. WIND DANCE for orchestra and NIGHTS MIDSUMMER BLAZE for flute, viola, harp and large orchestra are recorded by the Louisville Orchestra on the New Dimensions Series, CD# LCD010. WHITES for solo piano is recorded on Albany Records CD# TROY 231 by Patricia Goodson. SPRING SONG for solo cello is recorded on CRI by cellist Scott Kluksdahl, CD# 762. ANGEL SHADOWS for alto flute is recorded on the 4-TAY label by Laurel Anne Maurer. ANGEL CHANT for piano trio was recorded in 1999/2000 by the Kapell Trio for the Gasparo label and is also recorded by the Lions Gate Trio for CENTAUR. ECLIPSE MUSINGS for flute guitar and chamber orchestra is recorded on Albany Records by Bonita Boyd and Nicholas Goluses. SPIRIT MUSINGS, for violin and chamber orchestra which is recorded by Edwin London, conductor, Laura Russell, violin soloist, and The Cleveland Chamber Symphony is on Albany Records CD# Troy 347. FIRE SONG for soprano saxophone and sympathetically vibrating instruments is recorded by Jamal Rossi, on Open Loop recordings. PASSION PRAYERS was recorded on CD by Scott Kluksdahl, cello soloist and Philadelphia’s Network for New Music and is available on Albany Records.

Augusta Thomas has received prizes and awards from: The Siemens Foundation in Munich 2000, ASCAP, BMI, the National Endowment for the Arts (1994, 1992, 1988), the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters (2001, 1994, 1989), the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Koussevitzky Foundation (1999), the New York Foundation for the Arts (1998), the John W. Hechinger Foundation, the Kate Neal Kinley Foundation, The Debussy Trio Music Foundation and Thomas van Straaten, Columbia University (Bearns Prize), the Naumburg Foundation, the Fromm Foundation (1996, 1992), the Barlow Endowment, Harriett Eckstein, Chamber Music America, a prize in the French International Competition of Henri Dutilleux, The Rudolph Nissim Award from ASCAP, the New York State Council for the Arts, a Finalist Award in the Massachusetts Artists Fellowship Program, and the Indiana State University Orchestral Music Prize. She was awarded the Third Century Award from the Office of Copyrights and Patents in Washington, D.C.

Ms. Thomas was awarded fellowships from the Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College, the Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio), the International Rotary Foundation, L'Ecole Normal in Fountainbleau, France, Tanglewood Music Center, the Gaudeamus Foundation, the Wellesley Composers Conference, the Atlantic Center for the Arts, the Aspen Music Festival, and June in Buffalo. She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University from 1991 to 1994. She was elected and initiated as an Honorary Member of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity in 1996.

Her work has been featured on NPR's "Morning Edition." as well as on Minnesota Public Radio’s "The Composer’s Voice." She was a Master Artist, leading a three-week composition program, at the Atlantic Center for the Arts. She was twice a featured artist in a one-week program at the Conductor's Institute. Frequently Ms. Thomas undertakes short-term residencies in Colleges and Universities across the country. She studied with Jacob Druckman at Yale University; Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University.

She is on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center. She is on the board of several chamber music groups. In summer 2003, she will be teaching at the Tanglewood Music Center in Lenox, Massachusetts and at the Green Lake Music Festival in Wisconsin.

Ms. Thomas lives between Cambridge, MA; Chicago, IL; and Becket, MA. or
Call Peggy Monastra or Chris McGlumphy at G. Schirmer Music Publisher for scores and CD’s: 212 254 2100

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