World premiere of work by Augusta Read Thomas on April 30 in King

Marketing and Communications staff
Augusta Reed Thomas

The Fredonia Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Dr. Paula Holcomb, commissioned a work by Pulitzer Prize-finalist composer, Augusta Read Thomas featuring bassoonist Nadina Mackie Jackson.

The ensemble will give the world premiere of the work, “Carnival,” with Jackson as soloist on Saturday, April 30, at 8 p.m. in King Concert Hall. Ms. Thomas will be attending in-person, and giving master classes and attending rehearsals during the week leading up to the performance.

The concert is free and the public is invited to attend.

In addition, the ensemble’s program will include “Short Ride on a Fast Machine” by John Adams, Bachianias No. 5 by Villa Lobos transcribed by Krance, Robert Sierra’s “Tumbao” from Sinfonia No. 3  and “The Engulfed Cathedral” by Debussy transcribed by Singleton.

bassoonist holding instrument
Nadina Mackie Jackson

Dr. Holcomb added, “Join us to witness a momentous moment in music  - a female artist, female composer and female conductor as the Fredonia Wind Ensemble brings a unique work to the repertoire!”

Thomas’ work will also be recorded by the Fredonia Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dr. Holcomb, who is Fredonia’s Director of Bands. The commission is the final segment of the Sorel Medallion in Recording commissioning project featuring female musicians, and a collaboration between the students of the wind ensemble and the school’s Sound Recording Technology area under the direction of Professor Bernd Gottinger, a GRAMMY-award nominated recording engineer.

The project, which began in 2016, has a primary goal of raising awareness about and filling the need for quality women composers and artists in the wind ensemble genre, as well as showcasing the Fredonia Wind Ensemble and Sound Recording Technology area.

In honoring the vision of the late Claudette Sorel, a piano faculty member in the Fredonia School of Music who was appointed a SUNY Distinguished Professor, the Fredonia Wind Ensemble Recording Project features internationally renowned female composers and artists who provide a diversified voice for the wind ensemble genre. The Sorel Organization’s mission is, “to expand opportunities and stretch the boundaries for women musicians in the fields of conducting, composition, film scoring, performance, arts leadership, education, and scholarship.”

“The genre of wind ensemble music needs a more diversified voice with respect to both composers and performers of quality repertoire,” added Dr. Holcomb. “The need for the female voice is particularly glaring.”

“It is truly an honor to work with the [Fredonia] Wind Ensemble and Sound Recording Technology department as they rise to meet the challenges of performing and recording with these world-renowned musicians,” added Dr. Holcomb. “They are relentless in their zeal for excellence and passion for music. With the deepest of gratitude, we thank the [Elizabeth and Michel] Sorel Charitable Organization, Sigma Alpha Iota and Carnahan Jackson Foundation, who are opening doors for many young musicians at Fredonia while also supporting the development of quality, diverse wind ensemble repertoire."

About Augusta Reed Thomas

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). 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. For the 2017-2018 concert season, Thomas was the Composer-in-Residence with the Eugene Symphony Orchestra. 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, 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.

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.

About Nadina Mackie Jackson

Named Instrumentalist of the Year 2020 by Just Plain Folks, Ms. Jackson is the most widely recorded Canadian bassoonist in history with 13 solo albums, eight chamber music recordings and dozens of albums with symphony, chamber, and historical instrument orchestras.

The first woman bassoonist to receive tenure in a major Canadian orchestra, Jackson spent a decade with the Montreal Symphony and the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra before developing a distinguished chamber music and solo career.

Eighteen new works for solo bassoon and orchestra have been written for Jackson by Canadian and American composers. Her solo recordings have been recognized with awards of Best Classical Album 2020 and 2009 from Just Plain Folks for Vivaldi Concerti Volume I and for “Bacchanale” with Nicholas McGegan and the Toronto Chamber Orchestra. Her Canadian Concerto Project was short-listed for the Canadian Juno awards for best solo with large ensemble.

A respected teacher, Jackson is the founder and president of The Council of Canadian Bassoonists, a nationally registered educational charity dedicated to the study and appreciation of the bassoon and bassoonists in Canada. She has taught at the University of Toronto, McGill University and Wilfrid Laurier University and gives masterclasses throughout Canada and the U.S.

Jackson is the author of “Solitary Refinement, Chromatics, Chords and Scales, Concepts for the Committed Bassoonist” published by Friesen Press 2020 and which enjoyed an astonishing eight weeks on the publisher’s bestseller list. 

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