Aspen Music Festival And School

Joan Tower Back To Performers

Instrumental Focus

  • composer

Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than fifty years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator.

In 2020, Chamber Music America honored her with its Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award; Musical America chose her to be its 2020 Composer of the Year; in 2019 the League of American Orchestras awarded her its highest honor, the Gold Baton. Tower is the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of sixty-five orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony recorded Made in America in 2008 (along with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra). The album collected three Grammy awards: Best Contemporary Classical Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance.

Nashville’s latest all-Tower recording includes Stroke, which received a 2016 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Classical Composition. In 1990 she became the first woman to win the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for Silver Ladders, a piece she wrote for the St. Louis Symphony where she was Composer-in-Residence from 1985-88. She was the Albany Symphony’s Mentor Composer partner in the 2013–14 season. Tower was cofounder and pianist for the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players from 1970–85. She is Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.

Robert Spano, Music Director

Alan Fletcher, President and CEO