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Joan Tower

Publisher: AMP

Made in America (2004)
Publisher
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Category
Orchestra
Sub Category
Chamber Orchestra
Year Composed
2004
Duration
13 Minutes
Purchase CD
Programme Note
Joan Tower Made in America (2004)
Composer Note:

I crossed a fairly big bridge at the age of nine when my family moved to South America (La Paz, Bolivia), where we stayed for nine years. I had to learn a new language, a new culture, and how to live at 13,000 feet! It was a lively culture with many saints' days celebrated through music and dance, but the large Inca population in Bolivia was generally poor and there was little chance of moving up in class or work position.

When I returned to the United States, I was proud to have free choices, upward mobility, and the chance to try to become who I wanted to be. I also enjoyed the basic luxuries of an American citizen that we so often take for granted: hot running water, blankets for the cold winters, floors that are not made of dirt, and easy modes of transportation, among many other things. So when I started composing this piece, the song "America the Beautiful" kept coming into my consciousness and eventually became the main theme for the work. The beauty of the song is undeniable and I loved working with it as a musical idea. One can never take for granted, however, the strength of a musical idea — as Beethoven (one of my strongest influences) knew so well. This theme is challenged by other more aggressive and dissonant ideas that keep interrupting, unsettling it, but "America the Beautiful" keeps resurfacing in different guises (some small and tender, others big and magnanimous), as if to say, "I'm still here, ever changing, but holding my own." A musical struggle is heard throughout the work. Perhaps it was my unconscious reacting to the challenge of how do we keep America beautiful.

—Joan Tower



  • Ensemble
    Nashville Symphony
    Conductor
    Leonard Slatkin
    Naxos:
Performances
Date
Title
  • 09 OCT 2013
    Made in America Country Premiere
    Germany
    Philharmonisches Orchester Altenburg-Gera

    Other Dates:
    10,11 October - Germany
  • 04 APR 2013
    West Hartford, CT
    Hartt School of Music
    Daniel D'addio, conductor
  • 01 DEC 2012
    Albany, NY
    Albany Symphony
    Daniel Hege, conductor
  • 18 NOV 2012
    Rochester, MI
    Oakland University
    Gregory Cunningham, conductor
  • 15 NOV 2012
    Made in America Country Premiere
    Linköping Concert and Congress
    Linköping, Sweden
  • 15 NOV 2012
    Made in America Country Premiere
    Denmark
    Studerende fra Linkopings Universitet
  • 14 OCT 2011
    Rantoul, IL
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Donald Schleicher, conductor
  • 17 SEP 2011
    Flagstaff, AZ
    Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra
    Elizabeth Schulze, conductor
  • 08 JAN 2011
    Columbus, OH
    ProMusica Chamber Orchestra
    Timothy Russell, conductor

    Other Dates:
    9 January - Columbus, OH
  • 21 OCT 2010
    Pittsburgh, PA
    Pittsburgh Symphony
    Leonard Slatkin, conductor

    Other Dates:
    24 October - Pittsburgh, PA
  • 11 JUL 2010
    Brevard, NC
    Brevard Music Center
    Keith Lockhart, conductor
  • 27 APR 2010
    Philadelphia, PA
    Temple University
    Jay Krush, conductor
  • 12 FEB 2010
    Baltimore, MD
    Peabody Conservatory
    Hajime Teri Murai, conductor
  • 05 DEC 2009
    Livermore, CA
    Livermore-Amador Symphony
    Arthur Barnes, conductor
  • 21 NOV 2009
    Woodbridge, VA
    Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra
    Dana Echensburg McCarthy, conductor
  • 21 NOV 2009
    Woodbridge, VA
    Old Bridge Chamber Orchestra
    Dana Echensburg McCarthy, conductor
  • 10 OCT 2009
    Claremont, CA
    Pomona College
    Eric Lindholm, conductor

    Other Dates:
    11 October - Claremont, CA
  • 24 SEP 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Syracuse Symphony Orchestra
    Daniel Hege, conductor

    Other Dates:
    25,26 September - Syracuse, NY
  • 06 AUG 2009
    Los Angeles, CA
    Los Angeles Philharmonic
    Leonard Slatkin, conductor
  • 02 AUG 2009
    Boulder, CO
    Colorado Music Festival
    Alondra de la Parra, conductor
  • 28 MAR 2009
    Monroe, LA
    Monroe Symphony Orchestra
    Clay Couturiaux, conductor
  • 28 MAR 2009
    Peoria, IL
    Peoria Symphony
    Jr. Carlo Ponti, conductor
  • 21 MAR 2009
    Naperville, IL
    Dupage Symphony
    Barbara Schubert, conductor
  • 21 MAR 2009
    Naperville, IL
    Dupage Symphony
    Barbara Schubert, conductor
  • 21 MAR 2009
    Naperville, IL
    Dupage Symphony
    Barbara Schubert, conductor
  • 08 MAR 2009
    Oakland, CA
    Community Women's Orchestra
    Kathleen McGuire, conductor
  • 05 MAR 2009
    New York, NY
    Philharmonic Orchestra of the Americas
    Alondra de la Parra, conductor
  • 05 DEC 2008
    New Brunswick, NJ
    Rutgers University
    Kynan Johns, conductor
  • 21 OCT 2008
    Manhattan, KS
    Kansas State University Orchestra
    David Littrell, conductor
  • 27 SEP 2008
    Houston, TX
    University of Houston
    Franz Anton Krager, conductor

Reviews
...a sort of theme and variations on 'America the Beautiful,' with the theme peeking out from behind clouds of striking rhythm and stringent dissonance.
Andrew Druckenbrod, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,10/23/2010
Made in America World Premiere recording Tambor World Premiere recording Concerto for Orchestra Nashville Symphony/Slatkin Naxos CD 8559328 Made in America resulted from a commissioning project involving 65 smaller-budget American orchestras; it was designed to challenge without intimidation, and to be accessible as opposed to simplistic. The work typifies Tower’s splendid ear for sonority and her subtle harmonic sense, not to mention her ease and authority operating within the American symphonic syntax as defined by Copland and his circle… More virtuosic demands permeate Tower’s 1991 Concerto for Orchestra, where soloists and smaller instrumental groups assert both their individual profile and facility to engage in chamber-like combat with their neighbors. ...the Nashville Symphony boasts lusty strings, hefty brass, and strong, decisive percussion players. The latter, in fact, brilliantly dominate throughout Tambor, and will prove hard to beat (pun intended) should another maestro dare to challenge this premiere recorded version. Naxos’ first-rate engineering mirrors the music’s excitement and immediacy. Enthusiastically recommended!
Jed Distler, ClassicsToday.com,6/12/2007
A landmark moment in American music came during the Sunday afternoon concert of the Glens Falls Symphony. Joan Tower's new composition, Made in America, saw its world premiere.

It will soon be taken up by more than 60 other small orchestras around the country. The project...is the largest consortium commission in the history of American orchestras.

One of today's most widely performed composers, Tower has a well-established style — propulsive rhythmic landscapes with vibrant orchestration. Made in America hewed closely to that model but with an added element. Fragments of the melody of "America the Beautiful" are subtly woven throughout the piece. The familiar tune gave a thread of beauty, possibly hope, to Tower's tense and edgy sounds...The score's feeling of industry and striving made it very American.

Joseph Dalton, Albany Times Union,1/1/0001
Joan Tower's Made in America is a piece jointly commissioned by and for smaller American orchestras, with substantial support from such blue-chip operations as the American Symphony Orchestra League, Meet the Composer, and the Ford Motor Company Fund.

...The piece came home to the Pro Arte [Chamber Orchestra] and it is terrific. Tower uses the opening of "America the Beautiful" as her basic thematic material, and in a way the piece is allegory — the tune meets many hostilities and challenges but never gives in; instead it assimilates everything it encounters. The style lies somewhere between Copland and Stravinsky, and the music is written by a master orchestrator who knows how to make an ensemble sound good. And while the design may appear schematic as one describes it, Tower is too experienced, gifted, and cagy to fall into that trap: It functions according to a purely musical logic as well.

Richard Dyer, Boston Globe,1/1/0001
Made in America Santa Barbara Symphony/Kabaretti 11 November 2006; Santa Barbara, CA ...Ms. Tower’s piece is a marvel of evolving orchestral textures and shapes, tension and release. Harmonically, the score oscillates between consonance and dissonance, but never dryly or schematically....This is exciting stuff — a celebration of the power of the orchestra as a medium and, somehow, a particularly American vernacular.
Josef Woodward, Santa Barbara News Press,1/1/0001
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