Boston University Center for New Music Hosts Artist in Residence Joan Tower

in Music
March 14th, 2014

Residency with lauded Grammy Award-winning composer to include 75th Birthday Celebration Portrait Concert by the Muir String Quartet — March 28

Boston, MA – The Center for New Music at the Boston University College of Fine Arts welcomes Grammy Award-winning composer Joan Tower for the second of season’s three residencies — March 25–29, 2014. The Muir String Quartet will perform, Joan Tower at 75, a portrait concert in celebration of the lauded American composer’s 75th birthday — March 28th at the CFA Concert Hall.

This concert will feature major chamber works from Tower’s illustrious career, performed by Boston University College of Fine Arts Artist in Residence, Muir String Quartet, the group with which she has collaborated most closely.

“This is a rare occasion to hear a creator performed by her muses,” said Joshua Fineberg, Director of the Center for New Music at Boston University College of Fine Arts. “The Muir String Quartet and Joan Tower have a multi-decade close collaboration and it is a fitting tribute to this very important composer. We are honored to have Joan visit Boston University three times this season, working with students and faculty, and bringing her music and ideas to the greater Boston community.”

Joan Tower at 75
Residency and 75th Birthday Celebration Portrait Concert with the Muir String Quartet
Mar 28, 8pm
with CFA Faculty Members Peter Zazofsky (violin), Lucia Lin (violin), Steven Ansell (viola), and Michael Reynolds (cello). Pieces to include:
String Quartet No. 5
“Rising” for Flute and String Quartet
String Force for Solo Violin
Piano Quartet
CFA Concert Hall

Joan Tower will return to Boston University for her final residency this season, April 23–25, hosting a lecture in Composer’s Forum, as well as a public masterclass, and closing with a concert at Boston University’s Tsai Performance Center.

Located within a thriving music school, the Boston University Center for New Music seeks to enhance the presence of cutting edge music within the curriculum while encouraging awareness of new music to the BU arts community. To widen the conversation within the greater university, the Center hosts lectures, demonstrations, and performances that are open to the public, providing a forum for broader interdisciplinary involvement. To that end, the Center also hosts several institutional collaborations, including a partnership with the Boston-based contemporary music sinfonietta Sound Icon, and selected concerts that are staged at off-campus venues.

Joan Tower is widely regarded as one of the most important American composers living today. During a career spanning more than fifty years, she has made lasting contributions to musical life in the United States as composer, performer, conductor, and educator. Her works have been commissioned by major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras, including the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and Washington DC, among others. Tower was the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of sixty-five orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and Nashville Symphony recorded Made in America in 2008 (along with Tambor and Concerto for Orchestra). The album collected three Grammy Awards: Best Classical Contemporary Composition, Best Classical Album, and Best Orchestral Performance. 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 (2010–11). She is in residence as the Albany Symphony’s Mentor Composer partner in the 2013–14 season.

In its 35th season, the Muir String Quartet has long been acknowledged as one of the world’s most powerful and insightful ensembles, distinguishing itself among audiences and critics with its “exhilarating involvement” (The Boston Globe), “impeccable voicing and tonation” (San Francisco Examiner), and “unbridled musicality” (American Record Guide). Winner of the 1981 Naumburg Chamber Music Award and 1980 Evian International String Quartet Competition, the Muir String Quartet first appeared on the scene in 1980, and was greeted with rave reviews and an extensive feature in The New Yorker. The Muir String Quartet has been in residence at Boston University College of Fine Arts since 1983, and gives annual summer workshops at the Boston University Tanglewood Institute (BUTI). The Muir String Quartet has also given masterclasses at schools worldwide, including the Eastman School of Music, the Curtis Institute, Oberlin Conservatory, the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and conservatories in Beijing, Shanghai, and Xian, China. Since 1989, the quartet has presented the Emerging Quartets and Composers Program in Utah, with eminent composer, Joan Tower. The program is now part of the Muir String Quartet’s role as resident chamber ensemble with the Deer Valley Festival, in partnership with the Utah Symphony/Opera.