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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. 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."
Working with many performers and venues, his music has been heard live and through radio broadcasts across the U.S. and in various European cities including London, Amsterdam, Salzburg and Sofia. Stations that have featured his music include WGBH, WCBR, WBUR in Boston, KGNU in Boulder Colorado, WVPR and WGDR in Vermont. Organizations and performers who have commissioned and premiered his music include The Vermont Symphony Orchestra, The Vermont Friends of Music, The Social Band, The Vermont Youth Orchestra, The Ukrainian String Quartet, The New England Conservatory Alumni Association, Peabody Junior Conservatory, Sage City Symphony, Royall Tyler Theatre and University Players, The Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble, Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, North/South Consonance, The Fleming Museum and Cathedral of St. Paul in Burlington, the Raphael Piano Trio, Craftsbury Chamber Players, Bertram Turetzky, Carson Cooman, Mark Nelson, Pam Guidetti, Marge and Richard Veleta, Michael Arnowitt, Neil Boyer, David Cowley, C. Robert Wigness, Paul Orgel, and many others.
Recent premieres (2007-08) include Piano Partita by Paul Orgel (nominated for Pulitzer Prize, 2007), Night Pageantries by Rachael Elliott and Cynthia Huard, Going On by the Vermont Contemporary Music Ensemble, A Treadmill Of My Own by the Social Band, The Dancing Air by Donna Amato, Three Keyboard Interludes by Carson Cooman, and String Quartet No.3 by the Ukrainian String Quartet, Ostap Shutko, leader. C.F. Peters, Tunbridge Music, Tuba Euphonium Press, the American Composers Edition and Yelton Rhodes Music publish his work.