A dynamic visual representation of the work's progression, its elements anchored by a single horizontal line representing the 4-minute duration of the piece. Each of the minutes is numbered, with specific times relating to the stages of the work's progression indicated (45", 1'10", 1'45", etc.). Elements such as rhythmic groupings of note stems, solid blocks of color, individual colored lines of various proportions, etc., combine to provide an impression of the construction of the whole.
With autograph notes regarding instrumentation, dynamics ("Majestic & Optimistic," "As if reaching Skyward," "Ardent," "Like sunlight ripples"), tempo, etc., and the composer's own statement about the work at the foot of the leaf: "Music feeds our souls. Unbreakable is the power of art to build community. Humanity has and will always work together to further music's flexible, diverse capacity and innate power. The magnificence and energy of an orchestra are humbling, inspiring, and exemplify hope, solidarity and team work." Dedication to upper portion: "to Thierry Fischer and each member of the Utah Symphony."
The work premiered on YouTube "during a period of mandatory social distancing, on Memorial Day Weekend, by the Utah Symphony, Thierry Fischer conducting, May 22, 2020." Augusta Read Thomas website
Conceived at a most unsettling time, the Fanfare represents a coming together of instrumental (and personal) forces to create a positive and uplifting statement. The performance was a simultaneous remote videocast, with all performers self-distancing in their homes or studios. A true work of our time.
The initial sketch plan entitled "Messy map of form Fanfare of Hope & Solidarity ART 2020." Executed in black and various brightly-coloured inks. While indeed "messy," the main elements of the final work are present. 1 leaf. Oblong quarto (8.5" x 11", 215 x 278 mm). Labeled and signed on the verso. "While ... she didn't write the music specifically considering that most people would hear it for the first time through a computer speaker - believing that it will work just as well in a concert hall - she did acknowledge considering how performing alone might present different challenges for the mnusicians than performing in the same room ... In no way do I want this to be thought of as the COVID piece, she says. I feel I'm reaching for miuch broader themes, something that could be played for years to come ... Beyond the details of the work, she emphasizes a spiritual component of continuing to create art in a difficult time ... And that perhaps there's a particular beauty for writing something that unites musicians in performance from their individual homes." 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 #: 34927)