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CARNIVAL Concerto for Bassoon and Wind Ensemble by Augusta Read Thomas (USA, 1964)

[#195] April 17, 2023 2022 | Bassoon and Wind Ensemble | Grade 6 | 20'-25' | Concerto

American composer Augusta Read Thomas
Credit: Anthony Barlich

Carnival, by American composer Augusta Read Thomas is our Composition of the Week.

Carnival was premiered by the Sun Fredonia Wind Ensemble conducted by Paula Holcomb with Nadina Mackie Jackson, bassoon soloist at SUNY Fredonia, on April 30, 2022.

The concerto has a duration of 23 minutes, but it is also possible to perform a shorter version of 13 minutes, which omits some sections. That is the version presented here. The solo part can be played by either bassoon, baritone saxophone, euphonium, or trombone.

Carnival is scored for: sax. alto sax.tenor sax./2321.perc(4) harpe.piano

Augusta Read Thomas Concerto Map of  from doodle

Augusta Read Thomas studied composition with Oliver Knussen at Tanglewood (1986, 1987, 1989), Jacob Druckman at Yale University (1988), with Alan Stout and Bill Karlins at Northwestern University (1983-1987), and at the Royal Academy of Music in London (1989). She was a Junior Fellow in the Society of Fellows at Harvard University (1991-94) and a Bunting Fellow at Radcliffe College (1990-91) — which is now The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University — and taught composition at Tanglewood during the summers of 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, and 2008.

Seven years after graduating from the Royal Academy of Music, she was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music (ARAM, honorary degree). In 1998 she received the Distinguished Alumni Association Award from St. Paul’s School in Concord, New Hampshire. In 1999, she received the Award of Merit from the President of Northwestern University. At the age of 33, she received tenure from the Eastman School.

Ms. Thomas was Composer-in-Residence with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (1997-2006) and, until 2008, Chair of the Board of the American Music Center, on which she has served for the past five years. Starting September 2006, Thomas resigned from her position as the Wyatt Professor of Music at Northwestern University to devote her time exclusively to composition.


More on Augusta Read Thomas

Other works for winds include:

  • Magneticfireflies (2001)

  • Dancing Galaxy (2004)

  • Crackle (2020)


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