Joan Tower, Asher B. Edelman Professor in the Arts. Photo by Lauren Lancaster
Asher B. Edelman Professor in the Arts Joan Tower discusses more than 60 years of composing music, her inspirations (including visitations from dead composers), the changing landscape for women in composition, and her long tenure of teaching music at Bard with NPR’s music producer Tom Huizenga. When asked to describe her music, Tower confesses that it is hard to know one’s music but she can describe what she cares about. “My music is about rhythm, predominantly, the rhythm of ideas. And it's also organic, and it has a large-scale narrative. Usually, I only write in one movement, so I try to create an overall architecture for that one moment. It's also very important for me to be clear: I don't think my music ever gets complicated enough that you don't hear everything,” she says.