The Carmina Burana Choral Project: Thomas Reeves, Composer
This year, Carnegie Hall presents its fourth annual Creative Learning Project, centered around a performance of Orff's Carmina Burana on February 5, 2012. The concert will feature pieces for orchestra and choir written by top high school composers from around the country. Over the summer, these talented students are composing their pieces and attending various programs for music learning. One of them, sixteen-year-old Thomas Reeves from New York City, checks in from Tanglewood below.
I'm writing this in the middle of a short break between sessions. The artistic excellence here at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute has been really motivating. Since the moment I arrived, I've been surrounded by amazing musicians and have been busy with exciting activities.
Just before I sat down to write this, I attended a harp demonstration. I learned about how the instrument works technically, along with the different sounds it can produce. The student composers here will be writing for this instrument in just one week!
Thomas Reeves at Tanglewood.
It will be my first time writing a solo harp piece, so I'm excited. It's a wonderful challenge to immediately put my learning into action. In about an hour, there will be readings of all the composers' wind quintets (there are 10 of us here). I'm very busy in the best possible way, having to work on several projects within the span of a week or so. It feels great to write a lot of music.
I haven't had many opportunities to work on the Carmina Burana piece just yet—but with all the different kinds of music going on here at Tanglewood, I know I will have a lot of inspiration when I get back! I've learned a lot here about the art of making music, and I can't wait to see my piece performed live at Carnegie Hall.
Thomas began studying piano at the age of five and started composing at the age of seven. He currently studies composition with Dr. Ira Taxin and piano with Dr. Ernest Barretta at The Juilliard School, where he is a student in the pre-college division. Thomas has written more than 50 works for piano, chamber ensemble, voice, and orchestra. His composition awards include five ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards; five NYSSMA composition prizes; an honorable mention in 2007 from the Davidson Foundation; Second Prize in the 2008 Music Institute of Chicago Generation Next Young Composer’s Competition; First Place in the Pikes Peak Young Composers Competition; a Winner in the 2008 Ethos New Music Society Young Composer's Competition; Second Prize in the 2009 International Trumpet Guild Composition Competition; and the High School Winner in the 2010 MENC Student Composers Competition. His first string quartet premiered in a recital at New York's Steinway Hall in 2004, and the work's second performance took place on NPR's From the Top in 2005. His Violin Sonata debuted at the Austrian Cultural Forum in June 2005, and in March 2007, the Biava Quartet with Derek Bermel performed his Clarinet Quintet No. 1 at a Brooklyn Friends of Chamber Music concert. In March 2008, Hexapodia, a six-movement work for orchestra, children’s chorus, and violin choir, was commissioned by the Mid-Atlantic Symphony Orchestra and performed by the orchestra, the Peabody Children’s Chorus, and the Peabody Violin Choir. His Quirmlet for flute, clarinet, and piano was performed by members of the US Navy Band at the Kennedy Center in June 2010. A 12th grader at the Dalton School, Thomas Reeves lives in Manhattan. He enjoys mathematics, board games, and swimming in his spare time.