World premiere of Resounding Earth by Augusta Read Thomas to be performed by Third Coast Percussion on September 30, 2012 at the University of Notre Dame's DeBartolo Performing Arts Center

Contact for Augusta Read Thomas: Paula Mlyn
A440 Arts Group
(212) 924-3829

Contact for the University of Notre Dame: Leigh Hayden
DeBartolo Performing Arts Center
(574) 631-2726


August 2, 2012


NOTRE DAME, IN–The University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center announces the world premiere of Resounding Earth by renowned composer Augusta Read Thomas on September 30, 2012, 2 pm, Leighton Concert Hall, to be performed by the Chicago-based ensemble Third Coast Percussion. Tickets for the concert are $20 (regular); $18 (seniors); $15 (students).

Commissioned by the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center and the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, with additional funding from Chamber Music America Classical Commissioning Program and Endowment Fund and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Resounding Earth is a 28-minute work for percussion quartet featuring over 125 bells from a wide variety of cultures and historical periods. Augusta Read Thomas and the Third Coast Percussion will be in residence at the University of Notre Dame for the week prior to the premiere concert for youth education outreach in local schools.

Regarding the creation of Resounding Earth, Thomas notes, “Bells have served as an important element in much of my music for over 25 years. Bells can be used to celebrate grand occasions, hold sacrificial rites, keep a record of events, give the correct time, celebrate births and weddings, mark funerals, caution a community, enhance any number of religious ceremonies, and are even hung around the necks of animals.” Conceived as a statement which celebrates interdependence and commonality across all cultures, Resounding Earth explores the extraordinary beauty and diversity of expression inherent to bells.

Composed in close collaboration with Third Coast Percussion, Resounding Earth gave Thomas the opportunity to work with the four young musicians whom she met while they were studying together at Northwestern University, where Thomas was Wyatt Professor of Music from 2001-2006. She describes the four gentlemen - Owen Clayton Condon, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore - as “world-class virtuosi, ardent collaborators, visionary artists, and spectacular teammates. Resounding Earth has involved countless hours of refining nuances, colors, tunings, mallet choices, bell placements, and honing any number of other shadings and gradations of the sound.” Following the premiere at the University of Notre Dame, additional performances of Resounding Earth by Third Coast Percussion are already scheduled for the Festival for New Music at Sacramento State University on November 1, 2012; and at Pomona College in Claremont, California on November 10, 2012. Additional performances are also being planned in other cities in the US.

Resounding Earth is the first of four major premieres by Ms. Thomas for the 2012-2013 season, including Earth Echoes with the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, featuring mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke and baritone Nathan Gunn, on October 11, 2012 at Carnegie Hall, New York City; Harvest Drum on December 20, 2012 with the National Centre for the Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra, National Performing Arts Centre, Beijing, China; and  Cello Concerto No. 3, with the world-renowned Boston Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Christoph Eschenbach, and featuring Lynn Harrell, cello, on March 14-16, 2013.

In addition to the world premieres and other significant performances in 2012-2013, Thomas will continue her commitment to education of rising young composers. She recently led the Advanced Master Class for composers at the Aspen Music Festival from June 23- July 21, 2012, and will serve as Mentor Composer from January 8-11, 2013, at the Minnesota Orchestra Composer Institute.


Praised for her extraordinary compositional versatility, Augusta Read Thomas has been praised as “a prodigious talent” (Russell Platt, The New Yorker) whose 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, The Chicago Tribune) Recently elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (previously elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2009), Thomas’ music is majestic, elegant, lyrical, and it has been called “boldly considered music that celebrates the sound of instruments and reaffirms the vitality of orchestral music” by The Philadelphia Inquirer. Thomas’ catalogue boasts more than 118 scores, commissioned by some of the most recognized performers, ensembles, and conductors in the world.

Born in 1964, Ms. Thomas was the Mead Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1997 through 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 co-founded (with Cliff Colnot) and curated the MusicNOW series.  In addition to Barenboim, Thomas’ music has been championed by other leading conductors including Pierre Boulez, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Oliver Knussen, Seiji Ozawa, Mstislav Rostropovich, Leonard Slatkin, David Robertson and Christoph Eschenbach.

Thomas’ music has been commissioned by leading ensembles and organizations around the world including: Chanticleer; Berlin Philharmonic, NDR (German Radio) Orchestra; The Cleveland Orchestra; Chicago Symphony Orchestra; Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; La Jolla Chamber Music Society; National Symphony Orchestra; Radio France; BBC PROMS, and the BBC Orchestra; Dallas Symphony Orchestra; London Symphony Orchestra; Boston Symphony Orchestra; Orchestre de Paris; Utah Symphony Orchestra; the Los Angeles Philharmonic; the New York Philharmonic, Seattle Symphony, and the ASCAP Foundation.

Ms. Thomas studied composition with Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood, 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 and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College – which is now, The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University.

Committed to educating future generations of composers, Thomas is the 16th ever University Professor to be so named, and currently one of five University Professors on the faculty of the University of Chicago. Thomas was an assistant then associate professor of composition at the Eastman School of Music from 1993-2001, and from 2001 until 2006 was the Wyatt Professor of Music (Endowed Chair) at Northwestern University. In the summers, she often teaches at the Tanglewood Music Center. Thomas was the Director of the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood in 2009. Frequently, Thomas undertakes residencies in colleges, universities, and festivals across the United States and in Europe.

Ms. Thomas’ music is published exclusively by G. Schirmer, Inc.

Hailed by the Chicago Reader as “one of the finest new-music ensembles in the country,” Third Coast Percussion uses an impressive array of percussion instruments to create a performance experience like no other.  With exceptional talent and dedicated artistry, this “sonically spectacular” (Chicago Tribune) quartet combines the driving intensity of drums, the beautiful warmth of marimbas and vibraphones, and the surprisingly exotic sounds of everyday objects to make music that is playful, memorable and profound.  In performances around the country, the Chicago-based ensemble has swiftly gained national attention for effortlessly combining the energy of a rock concert with the precision and sophistication of classical chamber music.

Third Coast Percussion presents concerts for all audiences, from the percussion novice to the contemporary music aficionado. Third Coast has introduced percussion music to chamber music series in Chicago (Rush Hour Concerts, Millennium Park, Chicago Cultural Center), Virginia (Garth Newel Music Center), Pennsylvania (Dickinson College), and Wisconsin (Taliesin), securing immediate invitations to return to each of these series. TCP has also championed some of the most formidable repertoire for percussion including the music of Luciano Berio, Philippe Manoury, Wolfgang Rihm, Louis Andriessen, Martin Bresnick, George Crumb, Arvo Pärt, Steve Reich, Frederick Rzewski, Toru Takemitsu, Tan Dun, and Iannis Xenakis. The ensemble is constantly adding new works to this already expansive repertoire.

Upcoming and recent appearances include University of Notre Dame – DeBartolo Performing Arts Center, Austin Chamber Music Festival, Music on the Edge (Pittsburgh), Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago), Le Poisson Rouge (New York), Garth Newel Music Center (Virginia), Dusk Variations: Millennium Park – Pritzker Pavilion (Chicago), EMPAC (NY), Kennedy Center Millennium Stage (DC), and Taliesin – Frank Lloyd Wright (WI). Highlights of the 2012-13 season include a major focus on the percussion music of John Cage in celebration of his centenary, and the premiere of a new piece from composer Augusta Read Thomas.

The members of Third Coast Percussion—Owen Clayton Condon, Robert Dillon, Peter Martin, and David Skidmore—hold degrees in music performance from Northwestern University, the Yale School of Music, the New England Conservatory, and Rutgers University.

The DeBartolo Performing Arts Center facilitates learning reflective of Notre Dame’s distinctive liberal arts tradition through the informed exploration of universal truths and beauty. The center serves to encourage and celebrate the human spirit through the performing and cinematic arts which connect, stimulate and enrich its communities. In response to life’s great questions, the University of Notre Dame strives to be a premier university presenter advancing the depth of discourse and wealth of cultural expression in which lies the transformative power of the arts. WSBT–TV is the official media sponsor of the 2012-2013 Visiting Artist Series. Visiting artist accommodations are provided by the Hilton Garden Inn of South Bend. Express Press Incorporated supports the Visiting Artist Series.

Interviews with artists appearing at the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center must be made in advance of the performance date. To do so, please contact Leigh Hayden, Director of External Relations, via the contact information above. High resolution images of the artists are available online at: