For Tower, Music Comes in the Risks
Composer Joan Tower ’61 celebrated her 80th birthday in September. The New York Times spoke to her about this milestone and her lifelong journey with music.
From the article:
"When the composer Joan Tower went to Bennington College to study music, her teachers told her she needed to compose something.
"So I wrote a piece," she recalled recently, laughing, “and it was a disaster from beginning to end. I said, ‘I know I can do better than that.’ So I did that for the next 40 years, trying to create a piece that wasn’t a disaster.”
Over the decades-long process of trying to avoid disaster — composition was, she said, “a very, very slow-moving juggernaut” — she became a force in contemporary music. She turned 80 in September, a birthday which will be celebrated on Sunday at National Sawdust in Brooklyn."
What you try to do is write the best piece you can at whatever level of experience and voice that you are at. I know that if I take more risks, I’ll get there. It’s in the risks.
Joan Tower '61