The Miller Theatre Presents TOWER + BACH Tonight
Miller Theatre at Columbia University School of the Arts continues the 2013-14 Bach, Revisited series with Tower + Bach tonight, April 17, 2014. Joan Tower intersperses her chamber music with movements of the 5th Brandenburg featuring the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble.
Miller Theatre at Columbia University (2960 Broadway at 116th Street)
Tickets: $25-$35 • Students with valid ID: $15-$21
From Miller Theatre Executive Director Melissa Smey:
"We had a fantastic time working with Joan Tower and the Curtis 20/21 Ensemble three years ago on our Composer Portraits series, and I'm delighted that they're returning to Miller for this concert. Joan's unique musical voice has earned her a well-deserved place amongst America's most important contemporary composers."
The Bach series has evolved over the years, encompassing both historically informed performances and modern interpretations, and offering listeners a wide variety of musical lenses through which to view Bach's masterful oeuvre. In its current incarnation, the Bach, Revisited series explores Bach's legacy and continuing influence on modern works, pairing Bach's work with that of contemporary composers. The 25th Anniversary Season lineup has a unique twist: three incredible living composers-Kaija Saariaho, Joan Tower, and Steve Reich-will curate programs pairing their own work with related, influential works of Bach. All three will also participate in onstage discussions about their selections.
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8:00 p.m.
Tower + Bach
Miller Theatre (2960 Broadway at 116 Street)
Written around 1720, Bach's Brandenburg concertos remained virtually unknown, tucked away on a library shelf, for more than a century before being published. Today, they number among the crowning achievements of Baroque instrumental writing. For her Bach series program, composer Joan Tower intersperses movements of the fifth concerto-for solo flute, violin, and harpsichord-with her own chamber music, including her trio Big Sky, an evocation of the awe-inspiring experience of riding through the Andes mountain range.
Joan Tower's music is noted by a number of defining qualities: driving rhythms and colorful orchestrations influenced by the sounds and sensations of a childhood spent in South America; approachability for listeners and players alike, resulting from her engagement with the performers of her music (often written with specific musicians in mind); and her own performances as a pianist. Her early works were serial in conception, and in the 1970s she moved toward more tonal, Messiaen-like sonorities. She has written a number of works paying homage to composers such as Beethoven, Stravinsky, and Copland. She was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission, Made in America. Its top-selling recording won three 2008 Grammy awards, including Best Classical Contemporary Composition. In 1990 Tower 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. Other residencies with orchestras include a 10-year residency with the Orchestra of St. Luke's (1997-2007) and the Pittsburgh Symphony (2010-2011). She co-founded the Da Capo Chamber Players in 1969 as pianist-its accolades included the 1973 Naumburg Chamber Music Award-and also wrote several well-received pieces for the ensemble. Tower studied piano and composition at Bennington College and Columbia University. She is currently Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble
Curtis 20/21 Ensemble is the contemporary music ensemble of the Curtis Institute of Music. Flexible in size and scope, the group performs a wide range of music of contemporary composers with guest artists in residence at Curtis. Recent offerings have included centenary programs for Samuel Barber, Elliott Carter, and Olivier Messiaen; a collaborative performance with eighth blackbird; and a tribute concert for resident composer John Corigliano. Curtis 20/21 is committed to performing and commissioning works from Curtis students and alumni.