Thanks in part to the support of New Music USA, the Chicago Philharmonic premiered Augusta Read Thomas’s Sonorous Earth on November 12, 2017 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance in downtown Chicago. It was a culmination of years of work from all involved. Chicago Philharmonic’s Artistic Director Scott Speck led the orchestra and percussion virtuoso ensemble Third Coast Percussion in a critically acclaimed performance.
Chicago Classical Review praised the connection between the orchestra and Third Coast Percussion to be ‘seamlessly organic”, and with the feature of 300 bells from all over the world, Sonorous Earth was not only a musical statement to celebrate the beauty and diversity in bell sounds, but also a cultural statement described as “a joyous affirmation of commonality across world cultures” by Chicago Tribune.
In the words of Chicago Tribune critic John von Rhein:
“Banging away at an exotic array of bells, gongs, chimes, Japanese singing bowls and what-have-you, the Third Coasters conjured an otherworldly carillon as their sounds — now crashing and clangorous, now delicate and shimmering — washed in waves over an orchestra that often mirrored the explosive energy of the four percussionists. Imagine myriad points of light, or multiple showers of shiny metallic objects, flashing across the cosmos, and you get a sense of what this arresting and evocative music sounds like.”
The Chicago Philharmonic champions new works by living composers to expand the influence, relevance and impact of orchestral music in the modern world. Thanks to the generous support of foundations such as New Music USA, our organization can continue to collaborate with influential composers and organizations, presenting new music to large and diverse audiences, and continuing to bring forward the best Chicago can offer.