Map of form anchored by timeline in black extending horizontally across the center numbered from  to "11." Above the timeline, a colorful graphic representation of an increasingly complex musical cresecendo depicted through dots, bubbles, lines, squiggles, stars, and rhythmic patterns in various bright colors, increasing in both size and complexity from left to right, with some written descriptions of musical character and instrumentation; below the timeline, textual and graphic descriptions of musical progression through articulations and musical form with added tempo, dynamic, and specific metrical notes.
Composer's autograph notes across lower and side margins:
- Left margin: "From Webster's Dictionary: 'Brio: Noun: Let's give this celebration the brio it deserves! Vigor, Vivacity, gusto, verve, zest, enthusiasm, vitality, dynamism, animation, spirit, energy."
- Right margin: "Like gradually walking toward and eventually into and underneath a vibrant, colorful, fireworks display."
- Lower margin: "Music's eternal quality is its capacity for change, transformation and renewal. No one composer, musical style, school of thought, technical practice, or historical period can claim a monopoly on music's truths. Comissioning new art is a leap of faith!! The commissioner does not know what they will receive. I feel profoundly fortunate for the investments made by Ann, John, Joe, and the Orchestra's musicians in my work, and I devoted my strongest most focused efforts to composing Brio in honor of Kay."
In near-fine condition.
2ff. sketches (210 x 279 mm; 8.25" x 11"):
- Leaf 1
"Six chords" to head of page with "Des Moines Symphony/Orchestral Dances" below. Signed by composer at lower right corner "Messy Sketch Augusta Read Thomas" with dedication and date to upper left corner "Brio for Kay 2017." On 8-stave Judy Green M-311 ivory music paper. Notated in magenta ink with yellow and blue highlighting, corrections in red and black. Each of six chords notated as a scale and numbered. With additiona text regarding the work's total duration and conception. Some wear and creasing; minor tears to right edge.
- Leaf 2
"Brio Sketch / chords toward end of piece" at upper left corner. Initialed and dated by composer at lower right corner "ART 2017." Notated in blue ink on a single large, hand-ruled grand staff with six chords (a seventh crossed out). With light blue, yellow, and purple highlighting and corrections and excisions in red and black ink. Lower edge ragged. Brio premiered on 24 March 2018 by the Des Moines Symphony under Joseph Giunta.
"I care about craft, clarity, and passion. My works are organic and, at every level, concerned with transformations and connections. The carefully sculpted musical materials of Brio are agile and energized, and their flexibility allows a way to braid harmonic, rhythmic, and contrapuntal elements that are constantly transformed - at times whimsical and light, at times jazzy, at times layered and reverberating. Across Brio's 11-minute duration, it unfolds a labyrinth of musical interrelationships and connections that showcase the musicians of the Des Moines Symphony in a virtuosic display of rhythmic agility, counterpoint, skill, energy, dynamic range, clarity, and majesty. Throughout the kaleidoscopic journey, the work passes through many lively and colorful episodes and, via an extended, gradual crescendo, reaches a full-throttle, sparkling intensity - imagine a coiled spring releasing its energy to continuously propel the musical discourse. Vivid, clangorous, brassy, and blazing, Brio culminates in music of enthusiastic, intrepid (almost Stravinsky-like) spirits while never losing its sense of dance, caprice, and effervescence." The composer's website.
"The music of Augusta Read Thomas ... is majestic, it is elegant, it is lyrical, it is "boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music." Philadelphia Inquirer
"Born in Glen Cove, New York, Thomas was appointed University Professor of Composition at the University of Chicago in 2011. University Professors are selected for internationally recognized eminence in their fields as well as for their potential for high impact across the University. Thomas became the 16th person ever to hold a University Professorship. Additionally, she was the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) from May 1997 through June 2006, a residency that culminated in the premiere of Astral Canticle - one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Music. During her residency with the CSO, under the direction of Daniel Barenboim, Thomas not only premiered nine commissioned works, but also founded, along with Cliff Colnot, and curated the MusicNOW series. In addition to Barenboim, Thomas's music has been championed by other leading conductors including Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Oliver Knussen, Seiji Ozawa, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, Lorin Maazel, David Robertson, Christoph Eschenbach, Ken-David Masur, William Boughton, Vimbayi Kaziboni, Ludovic Morlot, and Xian Zhang. Her music has been commissioned by leading ensembles and organizations around the world including: Love Songs (Chanticleer); Chanting to Paradise (NDR [German Radio] Orchestra); Song in Sorrow (The Cleveland Orchestra); Orbital Beacons, Aurora, In My Sky at Twilight, Ceremonial, Carillon Sky, Words of the Sea, Trainwork, Tangle, and Astral Canticle (Chicago Symphony Orchestra); Gathering Paradies (New York Philharmonic); Sweet Potato Kicks the Sun (Santa Fe Opera in association with San Francisco Opera and 7 other opera houses); Far Past War (The Washington Choral Arts Society); Sun Dance (Indianapolis Symphony); Prayer Bells (Pittsburgh Symphony); Bells Ring Summer (La Jolla Chamber Music Society); Galaxy Dances, and Cello Concerto (National Symphony); Violin Concerto #3 (Radio France and the BBC Orchestra); Helios Choros I (Dallas Symphony); Helios Choros II (London and Boston Symphony Orchestras); Helios Choros III (Orchestre de Paris); Pulsar (BBC); Terpsichore's Dream (Utah Symphony); Canticle Weaving (Los Angeles Philharmonic); and Cantos for Slava (ASCAP Foundation).
From 1993 to 2001, Thomas was an assistant professor, then associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music, and from 2001 until 2006 she was the Wyatt Professor of Music at Northwestern University. She taught for many years at the Tanglewood Music Festival and at the Aspen Music Festival. Frequently, Thomas undertakes short-term residencies in colleges, universities, and festivals across the United States and in Europe.
Thomas studied composition with Jacob Druckman at Yale University, with Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University, and at the Royal Academy of Music in London. She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1991-94) and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College (1990-91), and often teaches composition at Tanglewood. Thomas is Vice President for Music, The American Academy of Arts and Letters; member of the Board of Directors of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.; member of the Board of Directors of the Koussevitzky Foundation; member of the Board of Directors of the Alice M. Ditson Fund at Columbia University; and member of the Conseil Musical de la Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco.
She was on the Board of Directors of the American Music Center for 11 years from 2000 to 2011; Chair of the Board of the American Music Center, a volunteer position, from 2005 to 2008; on the board of the ICE (International Contemporary Ensemble) for many years; on the boards of several chamber music groups; and was Director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood in 2009.
In 2013, Nimbus Records embarked on a project to record her complete works and has released 8 CDs to date; 89 CDs containing her music have been released by commercial record companies.
Thomas is a member of both the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences." The composer's website. (Inventory #: 34966)