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Welcome to the web site for Thomas Osborne, composer

Thomas Osborne’s music draws inspiration from a wide variety of sources, places and eras. As a composer interested in the possibilities of both Western and non-Western music, he has written works inspired by African polyphony, Indonesian gamelan, Japanese court music, ancient Persian music and Kentucky country fiddle playing. He has written many works for standard Western orchestral instruments as well as Asian traditional instruments.

January 25, 2012

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Vikings of the Sunrise

The University of Hawaii Contemporary Music Ensemble, a group I direct, is taking on a unique piece this Spring. Stephen Scott‘s Vikings of the Sunrise is a piece written for an ensemble of 10 performers, all playing a single piano. But most of this piece isn’t played on the keys. Instead, the ensemble plays directly on the strings by striking them with piano hammers, plucking with guitar picks and –…

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April 23, 2011

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The Ends of the Earth

Last night pianist Derek Kealii Polischuk premiered my new work “The Ends of the Earth” at Michigan State University (which is not at the end of the earth).  It’s a demanding piece, probably the most difficult piece I’ve written.  The score calls upon the performer to use some unfamiliar techniques – one movement is played almost entirely with piano hammers.  He navigated the unfamiliar territory with grace, and the premiere…

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October 24, 2010

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Shaman Ritual

I recently returned from Korea, where I was fortunate enough to attend a ‘performance’ on Jindo island of a shaman ritual called Ssitkim-gut.  This ritual for the dead is filled with singing (accompanied by percussion instruments), mourning, celebration, and drinking. We were told this may have been the last performance by the shaman (in the foreground in the first photo, with her apprentice singing behind her), who was exhausted by the end…

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