Thomas L. Read

composer Thomas Read

Thomas L. Read, composer and violinist, was born in 1938 in Erie, Pennsylvania. He studied violin, composition and conducting at the Oberlin, New England, Mozarteum and Peabody Conservatories with such noted musicians as Andor Toth Sr., Richard Burgin, Bernhard Paumgartner, Leon Fleisher, and Benjamin Lees. As a violinist he has been a member of the Erie Philharmonic, Baltimore Symphony, Boston Festival Arts and Handel/Haydn Society Orchestras, Vermont Symphony, and the Saratoga Festival of Baroque Music. Following his appointment as Assistant Professor at the University of Vermont in 1967, his innovative series of new music concerts and lectures (Symposium on Contemporary Music, held annually from 1968 until 1991), in addition to his activities as teacher, violinist, conductor and clinician, led to his reappointment as Professor of Music in 1976; Professor Emeritus, 2008. He continues to be active as a violin soloist and conductor as well as a composer.

Over the past three decades he has created a body of music that projects a consistent and distinctive personal style while embracing a variety of New Music idioms and techniques. He has composed music for a variety of media and almost entirely on commission- music for small ensembles, full orchestra, solo voice, chorus and musical theater, including several pieces for Social Band. He has been a recipient of several Arts Council and University Stipends, and has been awarded fellowships from organizations such as the McDowell Colony, the Charles Ives Institute, and the Johnson Composers Conference.Critics, while noting its lyrical qualities, have called his music “substantive and meticulously planned, with a wide expressive range leaving a feeling of rich satisfaction.” His seemingly free lyrical forms are the outcome of “compositional strategies that engender multidimensional and fascinatingly equivocal emotional states.”

Recent premieres include, Third String Quartet (2008, Kiev, Ukraine), and Octet for Strings (2009, Ann Arbor), What Story Awaits Its End?, Beneficent Shadow (2010, Burlington), Lullaby for Guitar (Salem MA, 2010), First String Quartet (2011, Harvard Univ.). His work is published by C.F.Peters, American composers Edition, Tunbridge Music, Tuba Euphonium Press and Yelton Rhodes.

Listen to his music on Zimbel Records, VCME Records, Socialband.org, ERM Media Masterworks, Vol.2, and on You Tube. A complete repertoire and recording list is at ThomasLRead.com.