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Rings of Light (2022)

Fanfare for 9 saxophones or saxophone ensemble (or for 9 clarinets or clarinet ensemble - 3 bass clarinets and 6 clarinets)

Commissioned by Taimur Sullivan and the Northwestern University Saxophone Ensemble
Premiere: Bowling Green State University Saxophone Ensemble conducted by Joshua Heaney as organized by John Sampen, Professor of Saxophone BGSU, 22 October 2021
Duration: 4'30" seconds (depending on duration of fermatas)

UK Premiere in London at the Guildhall School by the Guildhall Saxophone Ensemble led by Naomi Sullivan at the Silk Street Music Hall 9 November 2022


Informal reference recording


Eastman Saxophone Project - Chien-Kwan Lin, Director performs RINGS OF LIGHT from memory.


STANDING ON STAGE: It is desired that this work be played with the musicians and conductor standing in a semi-circle near the skirt of the stage in this order: left to right:

BARI 2, ALTO 2, SOP. 4, SOP. 2, BARI 1, SOP. 1, SOP. 3, ALTO 1, BARI 3

This is the same order as the left margin of the score moving from top to bottom of the score. Since the higher-pitched parts are standing in the middle, the pitch material and tessitura fan out from the middle to both sides of the stage.

Program Note

Although my music is highly notated, precise, carefully structured, thoughtfully proportioned, and although you may many musicians elegantly working together, from the very specific text, I like my music to have the feeling that it is organically being self-propelled - on the spot - as if we listeners, the audience, are overhearing a captured improvisation.

When the “inner-life” of the music is kept ultra-alive, such that the music sounds spontaneous, I am always thrilled and grateful to the musicians. For their sublime, precision and technical mastery, I deeply thank the saxophone players who play my notations in this way. Dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Taimur Sullivan and the Northwestern University Saxophone Ensemble.

—Augusta Read Thomas

The Clarinet version is dedicated with admiration and gratitude to Betsy Jolas.


Taimur Sullivan

Northwestern University saxophone ensemble

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