Music for Dance: A celebration of John Corigliano, Joan Tower & John Harbison

Music for Dance: A celebration of John Corigliano, Joan Tower & John Harbison
Arne Nordheim and Glen Tetley's 'The Tempest,' © Erik Berg
Class of ’38: John Corigliano, Joan Tower, and John Harbison turn 80
Orchestral works by three American Mavericks available for dance premieres
Three milestone birthdays are just around the corner in 2018: turning 80 are John Corigliano (February 16), Joan Tower (September 6), and John Harbison (December 20), three of the most titanic and beloved figureheads in American composition. Shared between them are multiple Pulitzer Prizes, Grawemeyer Awards, GRAMMY Awards, an Academy Award, and a MacArthur "Genius" Grant.

Here are a few orchestral masterpieces by each composer that have never been previously choreographed. We hope they will ignite your own creativity and inspire new works. Listen on Spotify
John Corigliano
Symphony No. 2 for String Orchestra (2000) 40 minutes
Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Music
str ( players minimum)
…coruscating power, eerie beauty and sheer inventive fantasy.
— John von Rhein, The Chicago Tribune

The Red Violin: Suite for Violin and Orchestra (1999) 24 minutes
solo violin; timp.3perc/hp/str ( players minimum)
Please note that a related work, Concerto for Violin and Orchestra ("The Red Violin"), was choreographed by Peter Martins for New York City Ballet in 2006.
The story of 'The Red Violin' is perfect for a lover of the repertoire and the instrument. It spans three centuries in the life of a magnificent but haunted violin in its travels through time and space.
— John Corigliano
Joan Tower
Stroke (2010) 21 minutes
Tower wrote 'Stroke' in 2010 as a tribute to her younger brother, whose experiences of being stricken and working his way through recovery are depicted in a series of vivid sonic episodes. The music alternates between violent spasms and moments of touching lyricism…
— Donald Rosenberg, Gramophone

Made in America (2004) 13 minutes
Tower uses the opening of 'America the Beautiful' as her basic thematic material, and in a way the piece is allegory — the tune meets many hostilities and challenges but never gives in; instead it assimilates everything it encounters.
— Richard Dyer, Boston Globe
John Harbison
The Most Often Used Chords (Gli Accordi Piu Usati) (1993) 16 minutes
It is a raucous, sometimes thoughtful, consistently brilliant romp through the scales, chords, and other fundamental building blocks of tonal composition…
— Daniel Cariaga, Los Angeles Times

Ulysses (1983) 1 hour, 25 minutes
John Harbison's 'Ulysses' ballet is undoubtedly one of his most colourful, accessible works…Many of the ballet's recurring ideas carry a Stravinskyan harmonic and rhythmic tinge, but the sinulously expressive melodies are Harbison's own, as are the surprising characterisations; the Sirens seduce with a wailing saxophone, Nausicaa and friends toss the beach ball to a wistful waltz, Circe enchants with ondes martenot and metallic percussion. Now that we have a recording, may we finally see one of the 20th century's major ballets on stage?
— Howard Goldstein, BBC Music Magazine

For more information about these pieces or other music for dance, please contact or visit our interactive audio sampler for more inspiration.

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