Composers Datebook®

with host John Birge

Wednesday, October 2

Joan Tower's "Made in America"

Synopsis

These days the cost of commissioning a major American composer to write a major orchestral work requires … well, a MAJOR amount of money.

Back in 2001, a group of smaller-budget symphonies around the country decided to pool their resources and commission the American composer Joan Tower to write a new orchestral piece for them. What would have been cost-prohibitive individually proved very do-able when they all chipped in, aided by foundation grant or two. 65 orchestras from all 50 states participated, with the idea being each of them would get first performing rights to Tower's new work.

"When they asked me to do this," Tower said, "they called the project ‘Made in America,’ and that became the work’s title. [Since] it was going across the U.S., this word 'America' kept popping up in my brain. Also, the tune 'America the Beautiful' started to come in, and I thought, 'I really love this tune. It's a beautiful tune, and I think I'll start with this.”

Joan Tower’s “Made in America” received its first performance by the Glen Falls Symphony Orchestra in New York State on today’s date in 2005, then premiered in each of the remaining 49 states over the next two years, ending up in Alaska with the Juneau Symphony in June of 2007.

Music Played in Today's Program

Joan Tower Made in America Nashville Symphony/Leonard Slatkin Naxos 8559328

Additional Information

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