Alumni News, Awards and Honors

Tower '61 Wins Three Grammy Awards

 Joan Tower '61,  one of America’s preeminent composers won three Grammy Awards for her orchestral composition "Made in America."

The Grammy Awards

Recorded on the Naxos label by the Nashville Symphony, Leonard Slatkin conducting, the CD, Joan Tower: Made in America received awards for best Classical Album, best Orchestral Performance, and her composition “Made in America” received the Grammy for best Classical Contemporary Composition.

Speaking with the Hillsdale Independent, Tower called the 14-minute long piece her "first statement about what's happening in this country.” Based on “America the Beautiful,” Tower explained that the recognizable song gave her a “way in” with “Made in America” audiences. “I knew its success was going to depend on how it related to people." Opening with a variation on the familiar melody, “Made in America” eventually "caves in and leaves one screaming note, by itself." Tower says the solitary note is a statement on the overreaching government powers that came in the wake of September 11, 2001.

“Made in America was an amazing project, with 65 community orchestras in 50 states, performing the work from 2005 through 2007,” Tower explained to the Daily Mail. “I was the first lucky composer to be chosen for this project. I attended 20 of these performances and conducted eight of them. It was an extraordinary experience; all of these orchestras really got involved with the project and the music, performing with a great deal of passion and commitment.”