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Illuminations “Fanfare Sinfonia” (2023)

For 2 horns, 4 trumpets, 2 trombones, 1 bass trombone, solo timpani, and 3 percussion (very small percussion instrumentation)

First performance by School of Music alumnus Josh Jones (BM ’14) as timpani soloist and the DePaul Wind Ensemble, Erica Neidlinger, conducting, in the Mary Patricia Gannon Concert Hall at DePaul University School of Music in Chicago, 13 November 2023
Duration: 10’ (or 3-minute and 45-second version; or 5-minute and 20-second version}

DePaul Wind Ensemble members who premiered and recorded the composition:
Hyunsu Jeoung - horn 1, Jonathan Thomas - horn 2, Hamed Barbarji - trumpet 1, Kai-Chun Chang - trumpet 2, Maria Merlo - trumpet 3, Josh Camper - trumpet 4, Erich Corfman - trombone 1, Rix Barlow - trombone 2, Cameron Randall - bass trombone, Sehee Park - percussion 1, Nikko Gonzalez - percussion 2, Kevin Yetter - percussion 3

Live concert audio recording from World Premiere is available for archival purposes only and for private listening. If you would like to review the recording please Contact Augusta.

Program Note

ILLUMINATIONS, Fanfare Sinfonia is an optimistic, colorful, virtuosic, and vivid “Gratitude Fanfare.” Encoded in the music are the rhythms of words. For example, the first two notes of the piece encode “Thank You!” There are many two-note “thank you” figures played throughout the composition whereby each player keeps adding onto the collection of “thank you” messages. The three-short-note-motive encodes the word “Grat-i-tude.” The timpanist plays a main motive for which the encoded words are “We give you our gratitude.” The composition, full of variations of the timpani motive, portrays an accumulation of appreciativeness.

When asked about the process of composition, Thomas’ replied, “it's like living inside of a poem… 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. 

She went on to say, “Poetry can give language to the ineffable. Analogously, music is akin to an infinite alphabet.” The highly detailed and dimensional manner in which she braids characters and musical parameters such as melody, harmony, rhythm, timbre, flow, lift, balance, space (among many other parameters) results in carefully wrought, clear, luminous, and evocative music. She polishes her music like a lapidary. Each highly etched sound-world presents facets of kaleidoscopic craft.  Commissioned by Dr. Erica Neidlinger and the DePaul University Wind Ensemble and was premiered on 13 November 2023 in the Mary Patricia Gannon Concert Hall at DePaul University School of Music, Chicago.

A short version of this fanfare was commissioned by the Utah Symphony to honor Thierry Fischer’s final season as Music Director of the Utah Symphony. It was premiered at a private party on September 8, 2022 by the Utah Symphony conducted by Benjamin Manis in Abravanel Hall, the short version was dedicated to Thierry Fischer and the Utah Symphony.

Augusta Read Thomas then composed and additional 7-minutes of music resulting in this final version of the composition.


Josh Jones, Timpanist. Photo credit: Greg MacKay

Dr. Erica J. Neidlinger conductor of the DePaul University Wind Ensemble

Informal snapshot at rehearsal to illustrate stage layout of soloist and ensemble as is outlined in the score’s front matter pages.

To obtain examination or performance material for this
Augusta Read Thomas work, please contact Nimbus Music Publishing.