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Joan Tower

Publisher: AMP

For the Uncommon Woman (1992)
Associated Music Publishers Inc
Year Composed
5 Minutes
Programme Note
Joan Tower For the Uncommon Woman (1992)
Composer Note:

All four fanfares are dedicated to women who are adventurous and take risks. The first Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman was inspired by Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man and is scored for the same instrumentation of 3 trumpets, 4 horns, 3 trombones, tuba and percussion. This fanfare was premiered by the Houston Symphony as part of their Fanfare Project in 1987 with Hans Vonk conducting.

The second fanfare, which is the same instrumentation as the first with one added percussion, was commissioned by Absolut Vodka and premiered by the Orchestra of Saint Luke’s at Lincoln Center in 1989.

The third was commissioned by Carnegie Hall in commemoration of their 100th anniversary on May 5, 1991. Scored for double brass quintet, the ensemble was the Empire Brass and members of the New York Philharmonic brass section with Zubin Mehta conducting.

The fourth fanfare is scored for full orchestra and was commissioned by The Kansas City Symphony with funding from AT&T.

—Joan Tower

Note: This piece, originally called “Fourth Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman,” was re-named “For the Uncommon Woman.”

  • Ensemble
    Colorado Symphony Orchestra
    Marin Alsop
    Koch Intl. Classics:
  • G. Schirmer / AMP:
The [Kansas City Symphony's] season-opening concert began with a "Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman," a brand-new piece by Joan Tower proving that a composer needn’t be dead, European and male to be heard in a symphony hall. …No "mere" fanfare, it might better be called an overture. In any case, it’s a brilliant orchestra showpiece compacted within a 4 ½-minute span. Great slabs of dissonant brass chords crunch up against each other, and then chattering figurations run their way through the whole orchestra until a sonorous apotheosis is reached.
Scott Cantrell, The Kansas City Star,17/10/1992
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