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Recording of Bard Professor Joan Tower's Composition Made in America Receives Three Classical 2008 GRAMMY® Awards

Emily Darrow

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—“I am honored to receive these Grammys as a living composer who is almost seventy years old!” exclaims Joan Tower, one of America’s preeminent composers and Asher B. Edelman Professor in the Arts at Bard. Tower received a GRAMMY® Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition (awarded to composer) for Made in America. The Naxos recording Joan Tower: Made in America (that also includes Tower’s compositions Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra received GRAMMY® Awards for Best Classical Album (awarded to artists and producer) and Orchestral Performance (awarded to conductor and orchestra). “I am thrilled that the ambitious Made in America project as well as the Nashville Symphony, with Leonard Slatkin conducting, were given the recognition they so deserve.” Tower states.


Made in America was an amazing project, with 65 community orchestras in 50 states, performing the work from 2005 through 07,” explains Tower. “I was the first lucky composer to be chosen for this project. I attended 20 of these performances and conducted eight of them. It was an extraordinary experience; all of these orchestras really got involved with the project and the music, performing with a great deal of passion and commitment. The work itself is based on ‘America the Beautiful,’ and one can hear this melody laced throughout the piece in tender, lyrical, bold, and aggressive guises.”


This work was commissioned by the Meet the Composer/League of American Orchestras/Ford Made in America project, made possible by the American Symphony Orchestra League, Meet the Composer, National Endowment for the Arts, and Ford Motor Company Fund.


Joan Tower earned a B.A. from Bennington College and M.A. and D.M.A. degrees from Columbia University. She has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Guggenheim Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, Koussevitsky Foundation, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and Meet the Composer/Reader’s Digest. She won the prestigious Grawemeyer Award in 1990 and has received commissions from the New York Philharmonic; St. Louis, Chicago, Pittsburgh, and National Symphonies; Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir Quartets; Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio; and Carnegie Hall, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Aspen, and LaJolla Summerfest, among many other festivals. Her CDs have been released on Naxos, Koch International, Delos, and d’Note Records. Tower was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1998 and the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2004. She was composer in residence with the St. Louis Symphony, with conductor Leonard Slatkin, from 1985 to 1988, and has been composer in residence with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s since 1997. She was named the first composer for a major orchestral consortium project, sponsored by the American Symphony Orchestra League and Meet the Composer; the resultant work, Made in America, has been released on CD by Naxos. Last summer Scarecrow Press published Joan Tower: The Comprehensive Bio-Bibliography by Ellen K. Grolman. Tower, who is also on the faculty of The Bard College Conservatory of Music, has taught at Bard since 1972.


Tower is available for interviews and can be reached through Emily Darrow in the Public Relations Office at Bard College by calling 845-758-7512 or by e-mailing


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Editor's Note: To download high-resolution (300 dpi jpeg) press photos, click on thumbnail images below.

Images of Joan Tower, credit Noah Sheldon.

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This event was last updated on 10-27-2008