Michael-Thomas Foumai

headshot from google

Michael-Thomas Foumai is inspired by storytelling, constructing compelling musical journies.  Previous performances have been presented at venues including The Juilliard School, Osaka College of Music, June in Buffalo Festival, Aspen Music Festival and School, and Disney Hall. Michael-Thomas’ music has previously been featured in American Composers Orchestra’s Underwood Readings and EarShot Readings. Michael-Thomas has recorded ‘Momentum 21: Music for a New Century’, ‘In Paradisum’ performed by guitarist Ian O’Sullivan and ‘Auld Lang Syne Fantasy’ by the Royal Hawaiian Band. A forth-coming recording by the Royal Hawaiian Band featuring ‘Spiritus Mundi’ will be released in the 2015-16 season.

He has received numerous awards including a Fromm Foundation Commission, Presser Foundation Award, three BMI composer awards, 2014 Intimacy of Creativity Fellowship at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Music Teachers National Association Composer of the Year. Michael-Thomas holds degrees in composition from the Universities of Hawaii (BM) and Michigan (MM,DMA). Dr. Foumai currently serves on the faculty of the University of Hawaii at Manoa.

The Spider Thread

My piece is inspired by a short tale of morality by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa about a criminal who is given a chance at salvation.As the story unfolds, a spider’s thread is lowered into the darkness of Hell, allowing the criminal an escape into Paradise. As he climbs, his joy is short lived as other sinners have started climbing the thread behind him. Fearing the thread will break, he claims the tread for himself and at this moment the thread breaks casting all back into darkness.

The work is in three parts and follows the narrative of the story. It opens with a murky “paradise” music meant to convey the ethereal realms of Heaven and Hell. A dashing scherzo signifies an exasperating orchestral climb to paradise and builds to a climactic fall with musical gestures stumbling over each other. The music recedes, returning to the murky Paradise music of the beginning.