March 19, 2014
by Kyle MacMillan
Augusta Read Thomas is bats about bells. The nationally known Chicago composer has included them in her music and has used other instruments to evoke their ringing tone and resonance. In her new piece she takes her infatuation further than ever.
“Resounding Earth” incorporates 125 bells and other instruments and metal items that make bell-like sounds—300 objects overall. “It wasn’t like, ‘OK, now, I’ll do something crazy.'” she said. “It was to take something that was true to my music and push it all the way.”
The 35-minute piece, which next will be performed March 24 at the University of Buffalo and March 26 at Penn State Erie, was commissioned for Third Coast Percussion by the University of Notre Dame’s DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Since the work’s world premiere in September 2012, the Chicago-based ensemble has performed it nearly 20 times across the country, with the composition’s first New York performance set for March 2015 in Columbia University’s Miller Theatre.