Joan Tower is Musical America's 2020 Composer of the Year

Joan Tower is Musical America's 2020 Composer of the Year
Joan Tower
credit: Bernie Mindich

Musical America Worldwide revealed today that Joan Tower will be its 2020 Composer of the Year. This prestigious honor follows others announced or awarded during this banner year for her, including the League of American Orchestras' Gold Baton, Chamber Music America's National Service Award, and induction into the American Classical Music Hall of Fame.

The Musical America Directory and its online news, publications, and web site provide connections for those involved in the performing arts community. Among its composer-of-the-year honorees are John Adams, John Luther Adams, Milton Babbitt, Elliott Carter, John Corigliano, Morton Gould, David Lang, Kaija Saariaho, Gunther Schuller, Tan Dun, Julia Wolfe, and Ellen Taaffe Zwilich. The award will be presented in a special ceremony at Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Read William Robin's engaging biographical article at

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. From 1969 to 1984, she was pianist and founding member of the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players, which commissioned and premiered many of her most popular works. Other chamber works have been commissioned by the Boston Chamber Music Society, Chamber Music Monterey Bay, St. Timothy's Summer Music Festival, Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival, La Jolla Music Society for SummerFest, Music from Angel Fire, Chamber Music Northwest, and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, among many others. She has received honorary doctorates from Smith College, the New England Conservatory, and Illinois State University. She is the Asher Edelman Professor of Music at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.

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