In May of 2020, composer and University Professor Augusta Read Thomas released her newest album featuring a new ballet she composed for the Martha Graham Dance Company titled The Auditions. Commissioned by Peak Performances at Montclair State College and choreographed by Troy Schumacher, the ballet "takes place in two worlds – one ethereal, one grounded" (from Schumacher and Thomas's program note). Throughout, the work depicts three dance auditions as well as the environment that surrounds them, juxtaposing the individual and the community.
The work was premiered by the Martha Graham Dance Company in November 2019, and since the release of the recording, Thomas's music has received rave reviews from The New Yorker, BBC Music Magazine, The Arts Desk, and Music Web International.
The premiere performance of The Auditions can be viewed alongside Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring (both performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble) on Peak HD. A virtual talk between Thomas, Schumacher, director Ross Karre, and Jedediah Wheeler, Executive Director of Arts + Cultural Programming at Montclair State College, is available on YouTube and below.
The album The Auditions also includes Thomas's Avian Capriccio, performed by 2020-21 Don Michael Randel Ensemble in Residence Axiom Brass; Ripple Effects by University of Chicago carillonneur Joey Brink; Two Thoughts About the Piano by Grossman Ensemble member and former Artist-in-Residence Daniel Pesca; and more. The full album is available to purchase from Presto Classical, and to stream from Spotify and Apple Music.