Joan Tower

Joan Tower

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Joan Tower is a Grammy-winning contemporary
Contemporary classical music
Contemporary classical music can be understood as belonging to the period that started in the mid-1970s with the retreat of modernism. However, the term may also be employed in a broader sense to refer to all post-1945 modern musical forms.-Categorization:...

 American
American classical music
American classical music is music written in the United States but in the European classical music tradition. In many cases, beginning in the 18th century, it has been influenced by American folk music styles; and from the 20th century to the present day it has often been influenced by folk, jazz,...

 composer
Composer
A composer is a person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition, for interpretation and performance, or through direct manipulation of sonic material through electronic media...

, concert pianist and conductor. Lauded by the New Yorker as "one of the most successful woman composers of all time", her bold and energetic compositions have been performed in concert halls around the world. After gaining recognition for her first orchestral composition, Sequoia (1981), a tone poem which structurally
Structure
Structure is a fundamental, tangible or intangible notion referring to the recognition, observation, nature, and permanence of patterns and relationships of entities. This notion may itself be an object, such as a built structure, or an attribute, such as the structure of society...

 depicts a giant tree from trunk to needles, she has gone on to compose a variety of instrumental works including Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman is a composition by Joan Tower. Parts I, II, III and V were written for brass. Part IV of the piece is for full orchestra. The whole score includes 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, tuba, timpani, snare drum, 2 bass drums, 5 cymbals, 2 gongs, tam-tam, tom-toms, the...

, which is something of a response to Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

's Fanfare for the Common Man
Fanfare for the Common Man
Fanfare for the Common Man is a 20th-century American classical music work by American composer Aaron Copland. The piece was written in 1942 for the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra under conductor Eugene Goossens. It was inspired in part by a famous speech made earlier in the same year where vice...

, the Island Prelude
Island Prelude (Joan Tower)
Island Prelude is a chamber work composed by Joan Tower in 1988. Intended for oboist of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, it is originally scored for solo oboe and string orchestra.- Background :...

, two string quartet
String quartet
A string quartet is a musical ensemble of four string players – usually two violin players, a violist and a cellist – or a piece written to be performed by such a group...

s, and an assortment of other tone poems. Tower was pianist and founding member of the Naumburg Award
Walter W. Naumburg Foundation
The Walter W. Naumburg Foundation sponsors competitions and provides awards for young classical musicians in North America. It was founded in 1925 by Walter Wehle Naumburg, a wealthy amateur cellist and son of noted New York music patron and philanthropist Elkan Naumburg. Elkan Naumburg, owner of...

-winning Da Capo Chamber Players
Da Capo Chamber Players
Da Capo Chamber Players is an American contemporary music "Pierrot ensemble," founded in 1970. Winners of the Naumburg Award in 1973, its founding members included composer/pianist Joan Tower, violinist Joel Lester, Dean of Mannes College of Music, and flutist Patricia Spencer...

, which commissioned
Commission (art)
In art, a commission is the hiring and payment for the creation of a piece, often on behalf of another.In classical music, ensembles often commission pieces from composers, where the ensemble secures the composer's payment from private or public organizations or donors.- Commissions for public art...

 and premiered many of her early works, including her widely-performed Petroushskates.

Biography


Born in New Rochelle, New York in 1938, Tower moved to the South American nation of Bolivia when she was nine years old, an experience which she credits for making rhythm an integral part of her work. For the next decade Tower's talent in music, particularly on the piano, grew rapidly due to her father's insistence that she benefit from consistent musical training. Tower's relationship with her mineralogist father is visible in many aspects of her work, most specifically her "mineral works" (including Black Topaz(1976) and Silver Ladders (1986). She returned to the United States as a young woman to study music, first at Bennington College, in Vermont, and then at Columbia University where she studied under Otto Luening
Otto Luening
Otto Clarence Luening was a German-American composer and conductor, and an early pioneer of tape music and electronic music....

, Jack Beeson
Jack Beeson
Jack Beeson was an American composer. He was known particularly for his operas, the best known of which are Lizzie Borden, Hello Out There! and The Sweet Bye and Bye.-Biography:...

, and Vladimir Ussachevsky
Vladimir Ussachevsky
Vladimir Kirilovitch Ussachevsky was a composer, particularly known for his work in electronic music.-Biography:...

 and was awarded her doctorate in composition in 1968.

In 1969 Tower, along with violinist Joel Lester and flautist Patricia Spencer, founded the New York based Da Capo Chamber Players
Da Capo Chamber Players
Da Capo Chamber Players is an American contemporary music "Pierrot ensemble," founded in 1970. Winners of the Naumburg Award in 1973, its founding members included composer/pianist Joan Tower, violinist Joel Lester, Dean of Mannes College of Music, and flutist Patricia Spencer...

 where she served as the group's pianist. Throughout the late 1970s and early 1980s Tower wrote a number of successful works for the Da Capo Players, including Platinum Spirals(1976), Amazon I (1977) and Wings (1981). Though the group won several awards in its early years, including the Naumburg Award in 1973, Tower left the group in 1984, buoyed by the immediate success of her first orchestral composition, Sequoia (1981). In 1972 Tower accepted a faculty position at Bard College in composition, a post she continues to hold today. Tower received a Guggenheim fellowship in 1976.

In 1985, a year after leaving the Da Capo Players, Tower accepted a position at the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in 1988-1991 where she was a composer-in-residence. During this period Tower produced two of her most significant works, "Amazon" and "Sequoia".

Tower became the first woman recipient of the Grawemeyer Award (Music Composition)
Grawemeyer Award (Music Composition)
The Grawemeyer Award for Music Composition is an annual prize instituted by H. Charles Grawemeyer, industrialist and entrepreneur, at the University of Louisville in 1984. The award was first given in 1985...

, awarded by the University of Louisville for her composition "Silver Ladders", in 1990. In 1993, under commission from the Milwaukee Ballet, Tower composed Stepping Stones, a selection from which she would go on to conduct at the White House. Other compositions from the 1990s include the third Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, several piano concertos (notably 1996's Rapids (Piano Concerto no. 2) and Tambor (1998) written for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. In 1999 Tower accepted a position as composer-in-residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke's and in 1998 she won the Delaware Symphony's prestigious Alfred I. DuPont Award for Distinguished American Composer.

In 2002 Tower won the Annual Composer's Award from the Lancaster (Pennsylvania) Symphony. During the 2003-2004 season two new works were debuted, DNA a percussion quintet commissioned for Frank Epstein, and Incandescent. In 2004 the Pittsburgh Symphony's recording of Tambor, Made in America, and Concerto for Orchestra earned a Grammy nomination. In 2004 Carnegie Hall's "Making Music" series featured a retrospective of Tower's body of work, performed by artists including the Tokyo String Quartet and pianists Melvin Chen and Ursula Oppens
Ursula Oppens
Ursula Oppens is an American classical pianist.-Biography:After earning her master's degree from the Juilliard School of Music, Oppens won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1968. This win led to her New York City debut at Carnegie Hall in 1969...

. In 2005 Tower became the first composer commissioned for the "Ford Made in America" program, the only project of its kind to involve smaller-budget orchestras as commissioning agents of new work by major composers, in which her 15 minute Made in America was performed in every state of the union during the 2005-2007 season. In 2008, Tower's Made in America and the recording of it by the Nashville Symphony conducted by Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Slatkin
Leonard Edward Slatkin is an American conductor and composer.-Early life and education:Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a musical family that came from areas of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine. His father Felix Slatkin was the violinist, conductor and founder of the Hollywood String Quartet,...

 won three Grammy Awards: in the categories Best Orchestral Performance, Best Classical Album and Best Classical Contemporary Composition.

She is currently the Asher B. Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College
Bard College
Bard College, founded in 1860 as "St. Stephen's College", is a small four-year liberal arts college located in Annandale-on-Hudson, New York.-Location:...

 in Annandale-on-Hudson,[5] New York, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and serves on the Artistic Advisory panel of the BMI Foundation.

Work


Tower's early music seems to reflect the influences of her mentors at Columbia University and is rooted in the serialist
Serialism
In music, serialism is a method or technique of composition that uses a series of values to manipulate different musical elements. Serialism began primarily with Arnold Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique, though his contemporaries were also working to establish serialism as one example of...

 tradition, whose sparse texture complimented her interest in chamber music. As she developed as a composer Tower began to gravitate towards the work of Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen
Olivier Messiaen was a French composer, organist and ornithologist, one of the major composers of the 20th century. His music is rhythmically complex ; harmonically and melodically it is based on modes of limited transposition, which he abstracted from his early compositions and improvisations...

 and George Crumb
George Crumb
George Crumb is an American composer of contemporary classical music. He is noted as an explorer of unusual timbres, alternative forms of notation, and extended instrumental and vocal techniques. Examples include seagull effect for the cello , metallic vibrato for the piano George Crumb (born...

 and broke away from the strict serialist model. Her work became more colorful and has often been described as impressionistic. She often composes with specific ensembles or soloists in mind, and aims to exploit the strengths of these performers in her composition.

Among her most notable work is Tower's five part Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, each dedicated to 'women who are adventurous and take risks'. Inspired by Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland
Aaron Copland was an American composer, composition teacher, writer, and later in his career a conductor of his own and other American music. He was instrumental in forging a distinctly American style of composition, and is often referred to as "the Dean of American Composers"...

's Fanfare for the Common Man, the fanfares are scored for 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, tuba and percussion. The first fanfare was debuted in 1987 and conducted by Hans Vonk. For the second fanfare, which premiered in 1989, Tower added one percussion while the third, debuted in 1991 was scored for a double brass quintet, and the fourth was scored for a full orchestra. The fifth, and final, portion of Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman was commissioned for the Aspen Music Festival in 1993 and was written specifically for Joan Harris.

Ballet

  • Stepping Stones (1993), commissioned by the Milwaukee Ballet
    Milwaukee Ballet
    The Milwaukee Ballet is a professional ballet company located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. It was founded in 1969 by Roberta Boorse and held its first performance on April 24, 1970. It is currently ranked among the top twelve ballet companies in the United States...

    • Choreographed by Kathryn Posin

Orchestral

  • Sequoia (1981)
    • commissioned by the Jerome Foundation
      Jerome Hill
      Jerome Hill was an American filmmaker and artist. He was born into the family of Louis W. and Maud Van Corlandt Hill, one of the prominent families of Saint Paul and heirs to the railroad fortune of James J. Hill, the famed “Empire Builder.”He attended St...

       for the American Composers Orchestra
      American Composers Orchestra
      The American Composers Orchestra is an American orchestra based in New York City. It is the only orchestra in the world dedicated solely to the creation, performance, preservation, and promulgation of music by American composers...

      , who gave the work's première with Dennis Russell Davies
      Dennis Russell Davies
      Dennis Russell Davies is an American conductor and pianist. He studied piano and conducting at the Juilliard School where he received his doctorate...

       conducting in New York City
      New York City
      New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

  • Music for Cello and Orchestra (1984)
    • written for André Emelianoff
  • Island Rhythms (1985)
    • commissioned by the Florida Orchestra (with a grant from the Lincoln Properties Company), who gave the work's première under Irwin Hoffman
      Irwin Hoffman
      Irwin Hoffman is an American conductor, born in New York. He was a protege of Serge Koussevitsky. He conducted the Vancouver Symphony from 1952 to 1964, after which he became Associate Conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. He was Acting Music Director of the Chicago Symphony for one...

       on 29 June 1985.
  • Homage to Beethoven (Piano Concerto No. 1) (1985), for piano & orchestra
    • co-commissioned by the Hudson Valley Philharmonic
      Hudson Valley Philharmonic
      The Hudson Valley Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in Poughkeepsie, New York in the United States. The Hudson Valley Philharmonic also known as HVP began in 1932 and it serves the Hudson Valley region....

      , the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
      Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra
      The Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra , based in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is the United States' only full-time professional chamber orchestra...

       and the Philharmonia Virtuosi
      Philharmonia Virtuosi
      The Philharmonia Virtuosi is a chamber orchestra that first performed in 1974. It was founded by Richard Kapp, who conducted the orchestra until the time of his death in 2006....

      , with a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts
      National Endowment for the Arts
      The National Endowment for the Arts is an independent agency of the United States federal government that offers support and funding for projects exhibiting artistic excellence. It was created by an act of the U.S. Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. Its current...

      .
  • Silver Ladders (1986)
    • commissioned by the Saint Louis Symphony, and dedicated to Leonard Slatkin
      Leonard Slatkin
      Leonard Edward Slatkin is an American conductor and composer.-Early life and education:Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a musical family that came from areas of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine. His father Felix Slatkin was the violinist, conductor and founder of the Hollywood String Quartet,...

      , who conducted the première. The work was a prize winner in the 1988 Kennedy Center Friedheim Awards, and in 1990 won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award
      Grawemeyer Award
      The Grawemeyer Awards are five awards given annually by the University of Louisville in the state of Kentucky, United States. The prizes are presented to individuals in the fields of education, ideas improving world order, music composition, religion, and psychology...

      .
  • Clarinet Concerto (1988), for clarinet & orchestra
    • commissioned by the Naumburg Foundation for clarinettist Charles Neidich
      Charles Neidich
      Charles Neidich is an American classical clarinetist, composer, and conductor.-Early career:A native New Yorker of Russian and Greek descent, Charles Neidich began his clarinet studies with his father, Irving Neidich, at the age of eight, and continued them with the renowned teacher Leon Russianoff...

      , who gave the work's première with the American Symphony Orchestra
      American Symphony Orchestra
      The American Symphony Orchestra is a New York-based American orchestra founded in 1962 by Leopold Stokowski, then aged 80. Following Maestro Stokowski's departure, Kazuyoshi Akiyama was appointed Music Director of the American Symphony Orchestra from 1973-1978. Music Directors during the early...

       under Jorge Mester
      Jorge Mester
      Jorge Mester is a Mexican conductor of Hungarian ancestry.-Biography:He studied conducting with Jean Morel at the Juilliard School in New York, and worked with Leonard Bernstein at the Berkshire Music Center and with Albert Wolff...

       in 1988
  • Flute Concerto (1989), for flute & orchestra
    • written for Carol Wincenc, who gave the work's première.
  • Island Prelude (1989), for oboe & string orchestra
    • written for oboist Peter Bowman, who premièred the work with the Saint Louis Symphony under Leonard Slatkin
      Leonard Slatkin
      Leonard Edward Slatkin is an American conductor and composer.-Early life and education:Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a musical family that came from areas of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine. His father Felix Slatkin was the violinist, conductor and founder of the Hollywood String Quartet,...

       on 4 May 1989.
  • Concerto for Orchestra (1991)
    • co-commissioned by the Chicago Symphony, the Saint Louis Symphony and the New York Philharmonic
      New York Philharmonic
      The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

      .
  • Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1987–1992)
    • commissioned by Absolut Vodka
      Absolut Vodka
      Absolut Vodka is a brand of vodka, produced near Åhus, Skåne, in southern Sweden. Since July 2008 the company has been owned by the French firm Pernod Ricard who bought V&S Group from the Swedish government....

       for the Houston Symphony, the New York Philharmonic
      New York Philharmonic
      The New York Philharmonic is a symphony orchestra based in New York City in the United States. It is one of the American orchestras commonly referred to as the "Big Five"...

      , the Orchestra of St. Luke's
      Orchestra of St. Luke's
      The Orchestra of St. Luke's is an American chamber orchestra based in New York City.It was founded in the summer of 1979 at the Caramoor International Music Festival in Katonah, New York....

       and the Kansas City Symphony
      Kansas City Symphony
      The Kansas City Symphony is a United States symphony orchestra based in Kansas City, Missouri. The current music director is conductor Michael Stern. The current home of the Symphony is the Lyric Theatre, located in Downtown Kansas City on 11th Street between Wyandotte and Central Streets...

      . The world première was given by the Houston Symphony with Hans Vonk
      Hans Vonk
      Hans Vonk was a Dutch conductor.Vonk was born in Amsterdam, the son of Franciscus Cornelis and Wilhemina Vonk. His father was a violinist in the Concertgebouw Orchestra, and died when Vonk was age three. Vonk studied piano with Jaap Spaanderman at the Amsterdam Conservatory and law at Amsterdam...

       conducting.
  • Violin Concerto (1992), for violin & orchestra
    • commissioned by the Snowbird Institute and the Barlow Endowment
      Barlow Endowment
      The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition is a scholarship established in September 1983 through the generosity of Milton A. and Gloria Barlow. Motivated by their love of music, the Barlows presented a substantial gift to Brigham Young University, engendering and supporting excellence in musical...

  • Stepping Stones (1993)
    • commissioned by the Milwaukee Ballet
      Milwaukee Ballet
      The Milwaukee Ballet is a professional ballet company located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States. It was founded in 1969 by Roberta Boorse and held its first performance on April 24, 1970. It is currently ranked among the top twelve ballet companies in the United States...

  • Duets (1994), for chamber orchestra
    • written for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
      Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra
      The Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra is a 40-member American chamber orchestra based in Los Angeles, California, considered by music critic Jim Svejda as "America's finest chamber orchestra".-History:...

  • Paganini Trills (1996)
    • premièred in Powell Symphony Hall
      Powell Symphony Hall
      Powell Symphony Hall is the home of the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra. It was named after Walter S. Powell, a local St. Louis businessman, whose widow donated $1 million towards the purchase and use of this hall by the symphony...

      , Saint Louis
      St. Louis, Missouri
      St. Louis is an independent city on the eastern border of Missouri, United States. With a population of 319,294, it was the 58th-largest U.S. city at the 2010 U.S. Census. The Greater St...

       on 19 May 1996.
  • Rapids (Piano Concerto No. 2) (1996), for piano & orchestra
    • commissioned by the University of Wisconsin for pianist Ursula Oppens
      Ursula Oppens
      Ursula Oppens is an American classical pianist.-Biography:After earning her master's degree from the Juilliard School of Music, Oppens won the Young Concert Artists International Auditions in 1968. This win led to her New York City debut at Carnegie Hall in 1969...

  • Tambor (1998)
    • commissioned by Mariss Jansons
      Mariss Jansons
      Mariss Ivars Georgs Jansons is a Latvian conductor, the son of conductor Arvīds Jansons. His mother, the singer Iraida Jansons, who was Jewish, gave birth to him in hiding in Riga, Latvia, after her father and brother were killed in the Riga Ghetto...

       and the Pittsburgh Symphony, who gave the work's première on 7 May 1998.
  • The Last Dance (2000)
    • written for the Orchestra of St. Luke's
      Orchestra of St. Luke's
      The Orchestra of St. Luke's is an American chamber orchestra based in New York City.It was founded in the summer of 1979 at the Caramoor International Music Festival in Katonah, New York....

      , who premièred the work under Alan Gilbert
      Alan Gilbert
      Alan David Gilbert AO, was a historian and academic administrator who was until June 2010 the President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Manchester....

       at Carnegie Hall
      Carnegie Hall
      Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

      , New York
      New York
      New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

       on 24 February 2000.
  • Fascinating Ribbons (2001), for concert band
    • commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association and was given its première at the CBDNA Conference in 2001.
  • Strike Zones (2001), concerto
    Concerto
    A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

     for percussion & orchestra
    • written for Evelyn Glennie
      Evelyn Glennie
      Dame Evelyn Elizabeth Ann Glennie, DBE is a Scottish virtuoso percussionist. She was the first full-time solo percussionist in 20th-century western society.-Early life:Glennie was born and raised in Aberdeenshire...

       and the National Symphony Orchestra
      National Symphony Orchestra
      The National Symphony Orchestra , founded in 1931, is an American symphony orchestra that performs at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.-History:...

      , who gave the work's première under Leonard Slatkin
      Leonard Slatkin
      Leonard Edward Slatkin is an American conductor and composer.-Early life and education:Slatkin was born in Los Angeles to a musical family that came from areas of the Russian Empire now in Ukraine. His father Felix Slatkin was the violinist, conductor and founder of the Hollywood String Quartet,...

       at the Kennedy Center, Washington D.C. in October 2001.
  • In Memory (2002), for string orchestra
    • transcription of a string quartet Tower wrote for the Cavani String Quartet
      Cavani String Quartet
      The Cavani String Quartet is an American string quartet based in Cleveland, Ohio. The group was established in 1984 and has been the Quartet-in-Residence at the Cleveland Institute of Music since 1988...

  • Made in America (2004), for chamber orchestra
    • commissioned by Ford Made in America in partnership with the League of American Orchestras
      League of American Orchestras
      The League of American Orchestras, known until Fall 2007 as the American Symphony Orchestra League , is an association of U.S. and Canadian orchestras. Over 950 orchestras are members, including youth, community, and professional orchestras....

       and Meet the Composer
      Meet the Composer
      Meet the Composer is an American organization founded in 1974 by the composer John Duffy as a project of the New York State Council on the Arts. It seeks to assist composers in making a living through writing music by sponsoring commissioning, residency, education, and audience interaction...

      , for a consortium of over 60 amateur orchestras across the USA. The world première was given by the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra in October 2005.
  • Purple Rhapsody (2005), concerto
    Concerto
    A concerto is a musical work usually composed in three parts or movements, in which one solo instrument is accompanied by an orchestra.The etymology is uncertain, but the word seems to have originated from the conjunction of the two Latin words...

     for viola & chamber orchestra
    • co-commissioned by the Omaha Symphony Orchestra
      Omaha Symphony Orchestra
      The Omaha Symphony Orchestra is a community-based orchestra performing numerous concerts annually in Omaha, Nebraska and throughout the region. Originally established in 1921, the orchestra has continued yearly.-About:...

      , the Buffalo Philharmonic, the Virginia Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony
      Kansas City Symphony
      The Kansas City Symphony is a United States symphony orchestra based in Kansas City, Missouri. The current music director is conductor Michael Stern. The current home of the Symphony is the Lyric Theatre, located in Downtown Kansas City on 11th Street between Wyandotte and Central Streets...

      , the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra (Columbus
      Columbus, Ohio
      Columbus is the capital of and the largest city in the U.S. state of Ohio. The broader metropolitan area encompasses several counties and is the third largest in Ohio behind those of Cleveland and Cincinnati. Columbus is the third largest city in the American Midwest, and the fifteenth largest city...

      ), the Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra (Door County, Wisconsin
      Door County, Wisconsin
      Door County is a county in the U.S. state of Wisconsin. As of 2000, the population was 27,961. Its county seat is Sturgeon Bay. Door County is a popular vacation and tourist destination, especially for residents of Wisconsin and Illinois....

      ), and the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra
      Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra
      The Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra is an American orchestra, the resident summer orchestra of the Chautauqua Institution in western New York State. Founded in 1929, the ensemble plays concerts on most Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights throughout the Institution's nine-week season. The CSO...

      , with a grant from the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation
      Serge Koussevitzky
      Serge Koussevitzky , was a Russian-born Jewish conductor, composer and double-bassist, known for his long tenure as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924 to 1949.-Early career:...

       in the Library of Congress
      Library of Congress
      The Library of Congress is the research library of the United States Congress, de facto national library of the United States, and the oldest federal cultural institution in the United States. Located in three buildings in Washington, D.C., it is the largest library in the world by shelf space and...

      . The work was premièred by the violist
      Violist
      -Notable violists:A* Julia Rebekka Adler * Sir Hugh Allen , conductor* Kris Allen * Johann Andreas Amon * Paul Angerer , composer* Steven Ansell * Atar Arad * Cecil Aronowitz...

       Paul Neubauer
      Paul Neubauer
      Violist Paul Neubauer was the youngest principal player for the New York Philharmonic at 21 years of age, and currently teaches at the Juilliard School, and Mannes College The New School for Music. He performs with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center...

       (to whom the work is dedicated) and the Omaha Symphony Orchestra
      Omaha Symphony Orchestra
      The Omaha Symphony Orchestra is a community-based orchestra performing numerous concerts annually in Omaha, Nebraska and throughout the region. Originally established in 1921, the orchestra has continued yearly.-About:...

       in 2005.
  • Chamber Dance (2006), for chamber orchestra
    • written for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
      Orpheus Chamber Orchestra
      The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra is a Grammy Award-winning classical music chamber orchestra based in New York City. It is known for its collaborative leadership style in which the musicians, not a conductor, interpret the score....

      , who premièred the work at Carnegie Hall
      Carnegie Hall
      Carnegie Hall is a concert venue in Midtown Manhattan in New York City, United States, located at 881 Seventh Avenue, occupying the east stretch of Seventh Avenue between West 56th Street and West 57th Street, two blocks south of Central Park....

       in May 2006.
  • Stroke (2010)
    • commissioned by the Pittsburgh Symphony, who première the work under Manfred Honeck
      Manfred Honeck
      Manfred Honeck is an Austrian conductor, the son of Otto and Frieda Honeck, from a family of nine children. One of his brothers is the Vienna Philharmonic leader Rainer Honeck....

       on 13 May 2011 at Heinz Hall, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
      Pennsylvania
      The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

      .

Chamber

  • Breakfast Rhythms I. and II. (1974), for clarinet solo, flute, percussion, violin, cello & piano
  • Black Topaz (1976), for flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone & two percussion
  • Amazon I. (1977), for flute, clarinet, violin, cello & piano
  • Petroushkates (1980), for flute, clarinet, violin, cello & piano
  • Noon Dance (1982), for flute, clarinet, percussion, piano, violin & cello
  • Fantasy... Harbour Lights (1983), for clarinet & piano
  • Snow Dreams (1983), for flute & guitar
  • Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1986), for eleven brass & three percussion
  • Island Prelude (1989), for oboe solo & string quartet/quintet or wind quintet
  • Second Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1989), for eleven brass & three percussion
  • Third Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1991), for brass dectet
  • Celebration Fanfare (1993), for eleven brass & three percussion
  • Elegy (1993), for trombone solo & string quartet
  • Fifth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1993), for four trumpets
  • Night Fields (String Quartet No. 1) (1994), for string quartet
  • Très lent (Hommage à Messiaen) (1994), for cello & piano
  • Turning Points (1995), for clarinet & string quartet
  • And...they're off (1997), for piano trio
  • Rain Waves (1997), for violin, clarinet & piano
  • Toccanta (1997), for oboe & harpsichord
  • Big Sky (2000), for piano trio
  • In Memory (String Quartet No. 2 (2002), for string quartet
  • Incandescent (String Quartet No. 3) (2003), for string quartet
  • For Daniel (2004), for piano trio
  • DNA (2005), for percussion quintet
  • A Little Gift (2006), for flute & clarinet
  • Copperwave (2006), for brass quintet
  • A Gift (2007), for flute, clarinet, bassoon, horn & piano
  • Trio Cavany (2007), for piano trio
  • Angels (String Quartet No. 4) (2008), for string quartet
  • Dumbarton Quintet (2008), for piano quintet
  • Rising (2009), for flute & string quartet
  • White Granite (2010), for piano quartet
    • 17-minute work, co-commissioned by the St Timothy's Summer Music Festival, Montana
      Montana
      Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

      , the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival
      Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival
      The Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival is an annual summer classical music festival located in Vail, Colorado. The festival was founded in 1987 by violinist Ida Kavafian and attorney John Giovando with the initial purpose of presenting a concert series of chamber music...

      , Colorado
      Colorado
      Colorado is a U.S. state that encompasses much of the Rocky Mountains as well as the northeastern portion of the Colorado Plateau and the western edge of the Great Plains...

      , and the LaJolla Music Society for SummerFest, California
      California
      California is a state located on the West Coast of the United States. It is by far the most populous U.S. state, and the third-largest by land area...

      . Premièred in Georgetown Lake, Montana
      Montana
      Montana is a state in the Western United States. The western third of Montana contains numerous mountain ranges. Smaller, "island ranges" are found in the central third of the state, for a total of 77 named ranges of the Rocky Mountains. This geographical fact is reflected in the state's name,...

       on 11th July 2010.

Vocal

  • Can I (2007), for S.S.A.A. choir & two percussion
    • written for the Young People's Chorus of New York City, who premièred the work under Francisco J. Nuñez at the Miller Theater
      Miller Theater
      The Miller Theater is a former movie theater located in Augusta, Georgia. The Miller was built by architect Roy A. Benjamin utilizing the Arte Moderne style of architecture and was owned by Frank Miller. Due to an economic downturn in the 1980s in downtown Augusta, the theater was forced to close...

      , New York
      New York
      New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...

       on 27 April 2008.

Solo

  • Platinum Spirals (1976), for violin
  • Wings (1981), for clarinet or alto saxophone
  • Clocks (1985), for guitar
  • Or like a...an engine (1994), for piano
  • Ascent (1996), for organ
  • Holding a Daisy (1996), for piano
  • Valentine Trills (1996), for flute
  • Wild Purple (1998), for viola
  • Vast Antique Cubes/Throbbing Still (2000), for piano
  • Simply Purple (2008), for viola
  • Ivory and Ebony (2009), for piano
  • For Marianne (2010), for flute
  • String Force (2010), for violin

Interviews

  • Private Interview with Joan Tower, February 23, 1988, Saint Louis, MO, in "An Analysis of Joan Tower's Wings for Solo Clarinet", August 1992, by Nancy E. Leckie Bonds
  • Private Interview with Joan Tower, May 21, 1988, Saint Louis, MO, in "An Analysis of Joan Tower's Wings for Solo Clarinet", August 1992, by Nancy E. Leckie Bonds,
  • Joan Tower: Made in America Joan Tower in conversation with Frank J. Oteri
    Frank J. Oteri
    Frank J. Oteri born May 12, 1964 is a composer based in New York City.Oteri's musical works have been performed in venues from Carnegie's Weill Recital Hall to the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art...

    , NewMusicBox
    NewMusicBox
    NewMusicBox is an e-zine launched by the American Music Center on May 1, 1999. The magazine includes interviews and articles concerning American Contemporary Music, composers, improvisers, and musicians....

     September 15, 2005
  • The composer in conversation with Bruce Duffie, published in New Music Connoisseur Magazine, Spring, 2001.

Discography


Further Reading


Jeoung, Ji-Young. An analysis of Joan Tower's solo keyboard works. 2009.

External links


Listening