Tuesday, May 25, 2021

June in Buffalo Senior Composer: Augusta Read Thomas

We are delighted to announce that Augusta Read Thomas will be a June in Buffalo senior composer for 2021. The music of Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964 in New York) is nuanced, majestic, elegant, capricious, lyrical, and colorful. She has been championed by such luminaries as Barenboim, Rostropovich, Boulez, Eschenbach, Salonen, Maazel, Ozawa, and Knussen, and was described by The American Academy of Arts and Letters as “one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American Music."

In 2016, Augusta Read Thomas founded the University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Composition. The Center comprises ten integrated entities: annual concert series featuring the Grossman Ensemble, CHIME, visiting ensembles, distinguished guest composers, performances, recordings, research, student-led projects, workshops and postdoctoral fellowships.

Recent and upcoming commissions include those from the Santa Fe Opera in collaboration with the San Francisco Opera and other opera companies, PEAK Performances at Montclair State University and the Martha Graham Dance Company, The Cathedral Choral Society of Washington D.C., The Indianapolis Symphony, Tanglewood, The Kaleidoscope Chamber Orchestra, Des Moines Symphony, Boston Symphony, the Utah Symphony, Wigmore Hall in London, JACK quartet, Third Coast Percussion, Spektral Quartet, Chicago Philharmonic, Eugene Symphony, the Danish Chamber Players, Notre Dame University, Janet Sung, Lorelei Vocal Ensemble, and the Fromm Foundation.

Thomas has the distinction of having her work performed more frequently in 2013-2014 than any other living ASCAP composer, according to statistics from the performing rights organization (New York Times). Her discography includes 88 commercially recorded CDs.

Her recent piece for wordless soprano and string quartet, Plea for Peace (embedded below), was commissioned by The University of Chicago for the Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Chicago Pile-1. The meditative, drawn out sustains of the quartet weave a gentle counterpoint around an increasingly urgent vocal to a beautiful and inevitable climax.


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