American Composers Orchestra will present its next Composer to Composer Talk online with Joan Tower and Conor Brown on Wednesday, FEBRUARY 24, 2021 at 5pm ET. The talk, which will be hosted by ACO Artistic Director Derek Bermel, will be live-streamed and available for on-demand viewing for seven days. Tickets are free; registration is highly encouraged. Registrants will receive links to join the event, as well as to recordings of featured works in advance.
ACO's Composer to Composer series features major American composers in conversation with each other about their work and leading a creative life. The intergenerational discussions begin by exploring a single orchestral piece, with one composer interviewing the other. Attendees will gain insight into the work's genesis, sound, influence on the American orchestral canon, and will be invited to ask questions of the artists.
On FEBRUARY 24, Conor Brown talks with Joan Tower about her work Sequoia. Sequoia was commissioned by ACO with support from the Jerome Foundation, and was first performed on MAY 18, 1981 in Alice Tully Hall by ACO with ACO co-founder, conductor Dennis Russell Davies. The piece is dedicated to the concertmaster and first horn player of the orchestra at the time, Jean and Paul Ingraham, respectively. Sequoia was Tower's first major orchestral composition and remains one of her most performed works.
Tower writes of the piece, "I think most composers would have to admit that they live, to various degrees, in the sound-worlds of other composers both old and new, and that what they consciously or unconsciously take from them enables them to discover what they themselves are interested in. Long ago, I recognized Beethoven as someone bound to enter my work at some point, because for many years I had been intimately involved in both his piano music and chamber music as a pianist. Even though my own music does not sound like Beethoven's in any obvious way, in it there is a basic idea at work which came from him. This is something I call the "balancing" of musical energies. In Sequoia, that concept is not only very much present in the score but it actually led to the title (which is meant in an abstract rather than a pictorial sense). What fascinated me about sequoias, those giant California redwood trees, was the balancing act nature had achieved in giving them such great height."
ACO's Composer to Composer Talks will be archived by Oral History of American Music (OHAM) within Yale University's Irving S. Gilmore Music Library.
Upcoming Professional Development Panels:
ACO also continues its series of free Professional Development Panels co-presented with the American Composers Forum, featuring panel discussions by esteemed professionals in the industry about topics including Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Entrepreneurship and Creating an Ensemble; Film Composition; Fundraising via Supportive Individuals; Programming and Digital Curation; Publishing, Self-Publishing, and Management; Recording Law and Practice; Project Production and Recording; and more. All panels are free and open to the public; registration is required.