In Sunday’s (3/10) Boston Globe, David Weininger writes, “For Augusta Read Thomas, composition is an active, physical process. She doesn’t sit down to write music; she stands at a drafting table that has an electronic keyboard just below it. As Thomas composes—with pens, paper, rulers, white out, and other old-school tools—she sings, hums, and plays through the music she’s creating. … Her newest work is a cello concerto, her third, titled ‘Legend of the Phoenix.’ It was commissioned for cellist Lynn Harrell and the Boston Symphony Orchestra, who will premiere it next week under the direction of Christoph Eschenbach. It is the third Thomas piece that the BSO has premiered, the most recent being ‘Helios Choros II,’ of which the orchestra gave the first American performance in 2009. … Thomas wrote sections of the piece that involved extensive pizzicato (plucking the strings) and spiccato (bouncing the bow on them), because of Harrell’s proficiency in those areas. ‘But it’s always got a singing quality to it,’ she continued. … That this is her third cello concerto is, to some extent, a matter of chance, since they came about through commissions. But, Thomas said, ‘the commissions very much hit me in my center. I didn’t feel as if I was taking a commission that I was doing for any other reasons than musical ones.’ ”

Posted March 11, 2013