"I love composing. In a good way, my nerve endings for sound are always dialed up high – actually, they are on perpetual alert. If I hear one note or chord or if, for example, I play one on an instrument, I get lit up as if electric shock ribbons instantly race from my ears and fingertips to my imagination and then my creativity and craft play high-speed ping-pong! where the ball is bouncing back and forth 100 times a second.

The outcomes are unpredictable to me. I stay absolutely flexible. Everything is malleable, springy, stretchy, coil-able, color-able, twistable, bouncing, zig-zagging, and splinter-able. It feels like I am dancing with contrapuntal flickering sonic lights that accumulate into a spinning pinwheel spawning sound and form. I slide, skate, swivel, and spin with my materials - crafting nuance and finesse - and then I sculpt, shape, chisel, fashion, and form.

At the end of all of that, I feel as if the piece wrote me – not as if I wrote the piece! My music has its own inner life. If I listen carefully, the piece I am composing will tell me what it next needs." — Augusta Read Thomas, transcribed from the Miller Theatre at Columbia University MISSION COMMISSION Podcast interview

Biography

The music of Augusta Read Thomas (b. 1964 in New York) is nuanced, majestic, elegant, capricious, lyrical, and colorful — "it is boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of the instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music" (Philadelphia Inquirer).

A composer featured on a Grammy winning CD by Chanticleer and Pulitzer Prize finalist, Thomas’ impressive body of works “embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry” (American Academy of Arts and Letters). The New Yorker magazine called her "a true virtuoso composer." Championed by such luminaries as Barenboim, Rostropovich, Boulez, Eschenbach, Salonen, Maazel, Ozawa, and Knussen, she rose early to the top of her profession. The American Academy of Arts and Letters described Thomas as “one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American Music."

She is a University Professor of Composition in Music and the College at The University of Chicago. Thomas was the longest-serving Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for conductors Daniel Barenboim and Pierre Boulez (1997-2006). This residency culminated in the premiere of Astral Canticle, one of two finalists for the 2007 Pulitzer Prize in Music. During her residency, Thomas not only premiered nine commissioned orchestral works, but was also central in establishing the thriving MusicNOW series, through which she commissioned and programmed the work of many living composers. For the 2017-2018 concert season, Thomas was the Composer-in-Residence with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra, while Francesco Lecce-Chong served as Music Director and Scott Freck as Executive Director. Thomas was MUSICALIVE Composer-in-Residence with the New Haven Symphony, a national residency program of The League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer.

Thomas won the Ernst von Siemens Music Prize, among many other coveted awards. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Thomas was named the 2016 Chicagoan of the Year.

In 2016, Augusta Read Thomas founded the University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Composition, which is a dynamic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary environment for the creation, performance and study of new music and for the advancement of the careers of emerging and established composers, performers, and scholars. Distinguished by its formation within an uncompromising, relentlessly searching, and ceaselessly innovative scholarly environment, which celebrates excellence and presents new possibilities for intellectual dialogue, 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.

Not only is Thomas one of the most active composers in the world, but she is a long-standing, exemplary citizen with an extensive history of being deeply committed to her community. She is the former Chairperson for the American Music Center; Vice President for Music, The American Academy of Arts and Letters; and Member of the Conseil Musical de la Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco.

In February 2015, music critic Edward Reichel wrote, "Augusta Read Thomas has secured for herself a permanent place in the pantheon of American composers of the 20th and 21st centuries. She is without question one of the best and most important composers that this country has today. Her music has substance and depth and a sense of purpose. She has a lot to say and she knows how to say it — and say it in a way that is intelligent yet appealing and sophisticated."

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.

"I think of myself, and have been described as, a poet-composer. I sculpt my music akin to how poets create, refine, and polish their poems." — Augusta Read Thomas, transcribed from the Collage New Music “The Composer Speaks” Video Interview

Collaborative Efforts
  • Founder and Director of The Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition
  • Vice President for Music, The American Academy of Arts and Letters
  • Member of the Board of Directors of The Koussevitzky Foundation
  • Member of the Board of Directors of The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.
  • Member of the Board of Directors of the Alice M. Ditson Fund, Columbia University
  • Member of the Conseil Musical de la Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco
  • Member of the Board of Trustees, American Society for the Royal Academy of Music, London
  • Member of  the Eastman National Council - Eastman School of Music’s top leadership board
  • Member of the advisory board of Third Coast Percussion
  • Member of the advisory board of the Composers Conference
  • Member of the advisory board of the Civitas Ensemble
  • Member of the advisory board of the Picosa Ensemble
  • Member advisory board of Brass Legacy
  • Member of the Board of Directors, International Contemporary Ensemble, 2007- 2013
  • Chair of the Board, American Music Center, 2005-2008
  • Board Member, American Music Center, 2000-2011
  • Envisioned, created, spearheaded EAR TAXI FESTIVAL, October 5- 10, 2016 in Chicago
  • Curator and director of the Festival of Contemporary Music, Tanglewood Music Center, 2009

"I believe 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." — Augusta Read Thomas

Awards and Honors

In 2007, Thomas's composition, ASTRAL CANTICLE, was one of two finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Music. Her work was also featured on the Grammy-winning CD Colors of Love by Chanticleer.

Augusta Read Thomas won the Lancaster Symphony Orchestra's Composer Award for 2015-16. This is the oldest award of its kind in the nation, intended "to recognize and honor living composers who reside in the US who are making a particularly significant contribution in the field of symphonic music, not only through their own creative efforts, but also as effective personal advocates of new approaches to the broadening of critical and appreciative standards." Former winners include Howard Hanson, William Schuman, Walter Piston, Morton Gould, Ned Rorem, David Del Tredici, John Corigliano, Joan Tower, and others.

The Sovereign Prince of Monaco awarded Augusta CHEVALIER of the Order of Cultural Merit. The insignia of this distinction was given by S.A.R. Princess of Hanover at the Prince's Palace on 18 November 2015.

Thomas' chamber opera LIGEIA (librettist: Leslie Dunton-Downer, based on the short story by Poe of the same title) was awarded the International Orpheus Prize (Luciano Berio, President of the jury) and performed in Spoleto, Italy (Luca Ronconi, stage director). LIGEIA, commissioned by Mstislav Rostropovich and Rencontres Musicales d'Evian, was premiered by Rostropovich at the 1994 Evian Festival. The American premiere took place at the Aspen Music Festival on July 27, 1995.

Thomas has received many awards and fellowships.

 

Selected Awards

  • Siemens Foundation in Munich (2001)
  • ASCAP Rudolph Nissim Award (1999)
  • BMI (1990)
  • National Endowment for the Arts Grants (1988, 1992, 1994)
  • American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Awards (1989, 1994, 2001)
  • John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation [1988]
  • Koussevitzky Foundation Commission (1999, 2011)
  • New York Foundation for the Arts (1998)
  • John W. Hechinger Foundation (1987)
  • Kate Neal Kinley Foundation Scholarship (1992)
  • Debussy Trio Music Foundation and Thomas van Straaten Fellowship (1989)
  • Columbia University Bearns Prize (1991)
  • Fromm Foundation Commission (1992, 1996, 2011)
  • Barlow Endowment (1995, 2010)
  • Indiana State University Orchestral Music Prize (1994)
  • Third Century Award from the Office of Copyrights and Patents in Washington, D.C. (1989)
  • International Orpheus Prize for chamber opera LIGEIA (1991)
 

Selected Fellowships

  • Bunting Institute of Radcliffe College [1990]
  • Rockefeller Foundation (Bellagio) (1994)
  • International Rotary Foundation (1987)
  • L’École Normal in Fountainbleau, France (1985)
  • Tanglewood Music Center (1987, 1987, 1989)
  • Gaudeamus Foundation Award (1985)
  • Wellesley Composers Conference (1994)
  • Atlantic Center for the Arts (1993)
  • Aspen Music Festival (1989, 1992)
  • Participated twice in June in Buffalo [name of fellowship & year]
  • Junior Fellow in Society of Fellows at Harvard University, 1991-1994
  • Elected and initiated as Honorary Member of Sigma Alpha Iota Music Fraternity, 1996
  • Naumburg Foundation Fellowship (1993)
  • Harriett Eckstein Fellowship (1987)
 

American Academy of Arts & Letters; American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The American Academy of Arts And Letters elected Augusta Read Thomas to membership. She was inducted in May 2009. The American Academy of Arts and Letters is an honor society of 250 architects, composers, artists, and writers. The honor of election is considered the highest formal recognition of artistic merit in the United States.

The citation, given at her induction into the American Academy of Arts and Letters in May 2009, reads as follows:
"Augusta Read Thomas's impressive body of works embodies unbridled passion and fierce poetry. Championed by such luminaries as Barenboim, Rostropovich, Boulez, and Knussen, she rose early to the top of her profession. Later, as an influential teacher at Eastman, Northwestern and Tanglewood, chairperson of the American Music Center, and the Chicago Symphony's longest-serving resident composer, she has become one of the most recognizable and widely loved figures in American Music."

In 2012, Augusta was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

"Augusta Read Thomas's music mixes extraordinary clarity and elegance with a bold resonant vitality. Its inventiveness, its lyric turns seem almost magically sustained; and, unfaillingly, result in a beautiful immediacy." — American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters Citation when winning the Academy Award

 
Around Chicago

Chicago Center for Contemporary Composition at the University of Chicago

In 2016, Augusta Read Thomas founded the University of Chicago’s Center for Contemporary Composition, which is a dynamic, collaborative, and interdisciplinary environment for the creation, performance and study of new music and for the advancement of the careers of emerging and established composers, performers, and scholars. Distinguished by its formation within an uncompromising, relentlessly searching, and ceaselessly innovative scholarly environment, which celebrates excellence and presents new possibilities for intellectual dialogue, 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.

 

Chicagoan of the Year (2016)

Augusta was named Chicagoian of the year.

 

Ear Taxi Festival and CSO MusicNOW

Augusta envisioned, spearheaded and led the 2016 EAR TAXI FESTIVAL, a 6-day-long new music festival, on October 5-10, celebrating the vital new music scene in Chicago. It included performances by the city's amazing new music ensembles and musicians, and featured the music of the city's composers. The festival was made possible, in part, by major support from the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University.

 

Crain’s Business Magazine: Chicago’s 40 under 40 (2002)

Augusta was named one of Chicago’s most important citizens under the age of 40.

"...unique among the world’s most prominent living composers for the consistent attention she [Thomas] devotes to projects on the broad behalf of other composers and curious listeners. The envisioning is not only meticulous in detail but also breathtakingly big in scope." — Nancy Malitz, Classical Voice North America

"Augusta Read Thomas is one of the most important composers in the USA today." — Dance International Magazine, 2020

Teaching

Augusta is a passionate and devoted teacher. Teaching is a natural extension of her creative process and of her avid enthusiasm for the music of others. She is a devoted listener to the music of all kinds and as such has a broad and deep knowledge of the music of our time. For Augusta, working with students is a joy, a deeply felt commitment, and an integrated part of her creative existence. She has said, "Teaching is a natural extension of my creative process and of my enthusiasm for the music of others."

Augusta was an assistant, then associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music from 1993-2001, and was the Wyatt Professor of Music (Endowed Chair) at Northwestern University from 2001 until 2006. She currently continues her involvement with Northwestern University by serving on the Dean's Music Advisory Board. In 2010, Thomas became the 16th ever University Professor (one of nine current University Professors) at The University of Chicago.

In the summers she often teaches at the Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival. Thomas was the Director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood in 2009. Thomas frequently undertakes residencies in colleges, universities, and festivals across the country and in Europe and Asia. From time to time, she teaches private composition lessons for advanced students. From 2009-2011 she taught and mentored 10 high school-aged composers in the state of Connecticut. Each composer had their new piece premiered by the New Haven Symphony in May 2011.

Thomas studied composition with Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood (1986, 1987, 1989); Jacob Druckman at Yale University (1988); Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University (1983-1987); and at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1989). She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1991-94), and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College (1990-91). She considers J.S. Bach to be among her most important teachers.

“Thomas' music, particularly her orchestral music, fairly explodes with an extroverted boldness of utterance audiences and musicians alike find challenging yet immediate. It's music that doesn't sound like anybody else's — music that insists you pay attention.” — John von Rhein, Chicago Tribune

 
Writings by and about Augusta Read Thomas

Augusta on her MAPS-OF-FORM drawings
Commencement Speech by Augusta
Essay by Seth Brodsky
Augusta on Jazz Influences on her Work
Augusta on J.S. Bach’s influence on her work
Augusta on Beethoven's influence on her work
Article about Augusta by Harriet Smith
Interview by Jennifer Kelly
Interview by Reed Perkins
Interview with the Composer
2009 Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music Welcome Letter
The Capacity — and Caprice — of the New (Essay by Jeremy Glazier)
Augusta on her compositional voice

"...the vividly imaginative instrumental palette that Thomas has at her fingertips...established her as one of the most distinctive and rewarding US composers...” — The Guardian, London

"Augusta Read Thomas has an exceptional ear for timbral detail.” — Jessica Duchen, BBC Music Magazine

 
Performances of Note

Orchestral Works

Thomas's orchestral works have been performed by among others, the Berlin Philharmonic, New York Philharmonic, Philadelphia Orchestra, London Symphony, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Boston Modern Orchestra Project, Fulcrum Point New Music Project, Cleveland Orchestra, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra of Paris, Royal Stockholm Philharmonic Orchestra, National Symphony, BBC Symphony Orchestra, Vienna in the Vienna Modern Festival, Strasbourg Philharmonic, Festival Presence in Paris, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Washington D.C. Choral Arts Society, Seattle Symphony, Orchestra of Radio France, Santa Rosa Symphony, Eugene Symphony, Chicago Philharmonic, American Composers Orchestra, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, New York Chamber Symphony, New Jersey Symphony, Louisville Orchestra, ORF-Vienna (Austrian Radio Orchestra), Residentie Orchestra of The Hague, Houston Symphony, New Haven Symphony, Rotterdam Philharmonic, Holland Symphonia, Bochumer Symphony, Fort Worth Symphony, Lutoslawski Philharmonic, New Japan Philharmonic in Tokyo, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Aurora Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, Washington Choral Arts Society, Soli Deo Gloria, Virtuosi Players, Swedish Chamber Orchestra in Orebro, Marin Symphony, Syracuse Youth Orchestra, Columbus (GA) Symphony, Women's Philharmonic, Boston Civic Orchestra, Long Beach Symphony, Swedish Wind Ensemble, Patel Conservatory Youth Orchestra, New York Youth Symphony (First Hearing Commission), Concord Symphony, Memphis Symphony, Greater Twin Cities Youth Symphony, Northwestern University Symphony Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra of the South Bay, and the Virtuosi Orchestra.

 

Chamber Works

Chamber music works have been performed by the Aspen Music Festival, the Tanglewood Music Festival, Chanticleer, Caramoor Music Festival, St. Paul Ballet, Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, Quatuor Diotima, Paris Percussion Group, Ligeti String Quartet Chelsea Music Festival, the Parker Quartet, the Argus Quartet, the Eroica Trio, Spektral quartet, Dal Niente Ensemble, ICE Ensemble, Third Coast Percussion, Ensemble Signal, NEXUS Chamber Music, JACK quartet, the NOW Ensemble, Alarm Will Sound, Civitas Ensemble, Riot Ensemble, Sandbox Percussion, Collage New Music, FLUX Quartet, Helix Trio, Zafa Collective, Rolston String Quartet, Amy Owens, the New Millennium Ensemble, Lincoln Piano Trio, Prism Saxophone Quartet, Jasper String Quartet, Oberlin Contemporary Music Ensemble, NOIS Saxophone Quartet, Sandbox Percussionm Constellation Mens Ensemble, The Esoterics, 5th Wave Collective, Aero Saxophone Quartet, Locrian Chamber Players, Con Brio Ensemble, Ensemble Eins, Amernet Quartet, the Norton Building Series, Sasha Cooke, Jennifer Koh, Joel Fan, Nathan Giem, Sejong Soloists, Nathan Gunn, Twyla Robinson, Heidi Grant Murphy, Christine Brandes, Christine Brewer, Lucy Shelton, Tony Arnold, Claire Booth, the Stony Brook Contemporary Music Ensemble, the San Francisco Contemporary Chamber Players, ETHEL string quartet, the Network for New Music, the Contemporary Chamber Players at the University of Illinois, 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, the Debussy Trio, The Wellesley Composers Conference at the Miller Theater in NY, Trio West, The Lydian String Quartet, Eastman Brass, Jamal Rossi, Axiom Brass Quintet, Laurel Ann Maurer, the Lions Gate Trio, the Boston Symphony Chamber Players, John Marcellus, Scott Kluksdahl, Carol Rodland, Håkan Hardenberger, Steve Burns, Alex Klein, Daniel Pesca, Sami Gershenhorn, Min Kwon,Judy Siebert, Joey Brink, John Corkill, Laura Frautschi, Bonita Boyd, Nicholas Goluses, Jared Hauser, Caleb Harris, Jennie Oh Brown, Paul Bro, Joel Fan, the Core Ensemble, the Mendelssohn String Quartet, as well as individual soloists and various university ensembles.

 

Conductors

Her music has been conducted by: Christoph Eschenbach, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Daniel Barenboim, Pierre Boulez, Seiji Ozawa, Leonard Slatkin, Gerard Schwarz, George Manahan, Oliver Knussen, David Robertson, Martyn Brabbins, Lorin Maazel, George Benjamin, Ken-David Masur, Vimbayi Kaziboni, Karina Canellakis, Jeff Milarsky, Ryan Bancroft, Ryan McAdams, Pascal Rophé, Joshua Weilerstein, Fabio Luisi, Giancarlo Guerrero, Thierry Fischer, Sir Andrew Davis, Christian Arming, Krzysztof Urbański, Ludovic Morlot, Eric Stark, Kanako Abe, Thomas Dausgaard, Stilian Kirov, Joseph Giunta, Bradley Lubman, Francesco Lecce-Chong, Dalia Stasevska, Jeffrey Kahane, Soo Han, Jiří Bĕlohlávek, Julien Leroy, Hans Graf, Cliff Colnot, Marin Alsop, Xian Zhang, Andrey Boreyko, Mstislav Rostropovich, Bruno Ferrandis, Victor Yampolsky, William Wiedrich, JoAnn Falletta, Grant Llewellyn, William Boughton, Gil Rose, John Nelson, Joana Carneiro, Earl Rivers, Barbara Schubert, Delta David Gier, Tim Weiss, Hans Vonk, Mischa Santora, Markus Stenz, Dennis Russell Davies, Don Schleicher, Rand Steiger, Zhang Yi, Steven Jarvi, Jonathan Stockhammer, Kimcherie Lloyd, Emily Freeman Brown, Albert-George Schram, Frederick A. Speck, Mark Gibson, Jack Delaney, Kate Tamarkin, Robert Trevino, Hannu Lintu, Peter Lipari, Christopher Lyndon-Gee, Josephine Lee, Donald Hunsberger, Mark Powell, Mark Laycock, Edwin Outwater, Norman Scribner, Michael Lewanski, Kirill Karabits, Hyo Kang, Kevin Field, Apo Hsu, Mariusz Smolij, Jonathan Yates, Susan McMane, Jahja Ling, David Loebel, Allen Tinkham, Captain Kenneth Collins, Chad Hutchinson, Kevin Rhodes, Eric Banks, Orcenith Smith, Lawrence Leighton Smith, Mallory Thompson, Toshiyuki Shimada, Manfred Honeck, Morihiko Nakahara, Odaline de la Martinez, Christian Lindberg, Stuart Chafetz, Keith Lockhart, Alan Pierson, Jac Van Steen, Hugh Wolff, Gianpiero Taverna, David Gilbert, and Aaron Holloway-Nahum among others.

Augusta Read Thomas's recent Jubilee is an electric, joyous piece." — Alex Ross, The Rest is Noise (music critic for The New Yorker)

 
Recent Premieres

THE AUDITIONS, a ballet for Martha Graham Dance Company with the ICE Ensemble,Vimbayi Kaziboni conducting and Troy Schumacher, choreographer, CON MOTO for percussion quartet by Third Coast Percussion, SWEET POTATO KICKS THE SUN, a chamber opera featuring beatboxing superstar Nicole Paris, BRIO for orchestra, Joseph Giunta conducting the Des Moines Symphony, CLARA’S ASCENT for string orchestra, Ken-David Masur conducting the Chelsea Music Festival Orchestra, MAGIC BOX for percussion quartet and string quartet, Ken-David Masur conducting members of the Boston Symphony and Tanglewood’s New Fromm Players, EOS for Orchestra, Thierry Fischer conducting the Utah Symphony. HELIX SPIRALS for string quartet “in celebration Meselson-Stahl experiment,” commissioned by Jeanne Guillemin, premiered by the Parker String Quartet at Harvard University.  SELENE, MOON CHARIOT RITUALS for octet: percussion quartet and string quartet premiered by Jack Quartet and Third Coast Percussion as part of a  “portrait concert” at miller theatre of Columbia University.  Co-commissioned by the Tanglewood Music Center in honor of its 75th Anniversary Season, with generous support from Deborah and Philip Edmundson; and by Miller Theatre at Columbia University; and by Third Coast Percussion with the generous support of Sidney K. Robinson. DAPPLED THINGS for men’s choir, commissioned by Notre Dame University to honor the tenth anniversary of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. OF BEING IS A BIRD for soprano and ensemble, Nick Collon conducting the Aurora Orchestra with Claire Booth, solo soprano. PRISMS OF LIGHT, SAXOPHONE CONCERTO premiered by the New haven Symphony, Frederick L. Hemke, soloist, William Boughton Conducting. The Boston Symphony, with generous support from Bill and Solange Brown, commissioned CELLO CONCERTO #3 for cellist Lynn Harrell, which premiered with Christoph Eschenbach, conducting.  The National Centre for the Performing Arts in Beijing commissioned a HARVEST DRUM for orchestra.  The Koussevitzky Music Foundation at the Library of Congress commissioned EARTH ECHOES, Homage to Gustav Mahler, for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, with Sasha Cooke, mezzo-soprano soloist and Nathan Gunn, baritone soloist, which premiered in Carnegie Hall. AUREOLE for orchestra, for the DePaul University Orchestra premiered in Orchestra Hall, Chicago, Cliff Colnot, conducting.

Additionally, Augusta 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 which is playing as a tape loop in the Seahorse exhibits at various aquariums for many years.

“Heart and soul in the breathtaking music of a thoughtful contemporary composer. Thomas's brainy brand of modernism reveals a lively, probing mind allied to a beating heart.” — Donald Rosenberg of Gramophone