This week’s activity takes a look at Joan Tower and her Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman (1987). Born in New York in 1938, Joan Tower started learning to play the piano at just six years old! At the age of nine, she moved to Bolivia with her geologist father. Tower went on to study composition, conducting, and classical piano, and her experiences in Bolivia influenced much of the music she wrote afterward. Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No. 1 was debuted in 1987. This bold and brassy piece was dedicated to conductor and violinist Marin Alsop. Tower would go on to write five more fanfares dedicated to “women who take risks and are adventurous.”
As You Listen...
- This piece was written as a tribute to Marin Alsop, conductor and violinist. Based on what you hear, what traits would you use to describe the sound of the music? What do those traits say about the person this piece was dedicated to?
- Why might a composer dedicate their music to someone? If you were a composer, who would you write a song about? Why?
Want to hear this piece live? Learn how here!
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The BSO is a proud participant and a founding member of the new Whatcom Arts Project, a group of over 30 community arts nonprofits. The goal of the Whatcom Arts Project is to reach our community during this time of need to provide hope, entertainment, learning opportunities, and a sense of togetherness. Each week during the pandemic, the BSO posted learning activities and videos on our website and to social media as part of the Whatcom Arts Project.