The New York Philharmonic Premieres Joan Tower's '1920/2019'

The New York Philharmonic Premieres Joan Tower's '1920/2019'
Women Marching in Suffrage Parade, Washington, DC, in 1913
© National Archives and Records Administration
These two years, 1920 and 2019, are formidable years for the empowerment of women. They changed the whole landscape. — Joan Tower


More than a year has passed since the planned premiere date of 1920/2019, a work by Joan Tower commissioned for the New York Philharmonic’s Project 19 initiative. And more than a century has passed since 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was ratified, granting women the right to vote. Tower is one of nineteen composers chosen by the orchestra for its commissioning project celebrating the 19th Amendment’s 100th anniversary.

Tower, who dedicated the work to Deborah Borda, the New York Philharmonic’s President and CEO, explains the titular palindrome: “1920 was the year when the amendment was ratified and adopted — an important and long sought-after achievement. I began writing this music in 2019 as the #MeToo movement continued to grow. Victims of sexual abuse, assault, and harassment are ending their silence, finding strength by sharing their experiences and beliefs.”

The New York Philharmonic will give the European premiere of 1920/2019 at Germany’s Usedom Music Festival in May 2022.

During the summer of 2021, A New Day — Tower’s newest cello concerto — premiered at the Colorado Music Festival, where soloist Alisa Weilerstein and music director Peter Oundjian joined the orchestra and composer in a standing ovation under the evening sky. The work’s commissioners, the Colorado Music Festival, the Cleveland Orchestra, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the National Symphony Orchestra, are presenting the concerto with Weilerstein throughout the 2021-22 season.

Also premiering this season is Tower’s Purple Rain, a viola quintet for the Boston Chamber Music Society and its artistic director, Marcus Thompson. Why purple? “The titles of my viola pieces have included the word ‘purple.’ This is the color — in all its various hues —that most reminds me of the viola,” she reveals.

December 3-4 2021 world premiere
New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Alice Tully Hall, New York, NY

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman
January 27-29 2022
New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Rose Theater, New York, NY

Purple Rain
February 13 2022 world premiere
Boston Chamber Music Society
Boston, MA

A New Day
March 11-13 2022
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Peter Oundjian, conductor
Orchestra Hall, Detroit, MI

A New Day
May 19-21 2022
Alisa Weilerstein, cello
National Symphony Orchestra, Louis Langrée, conductor
Kennedy Center, Washington, DC

May 21 2022 European premiere
New York Philharmonic, Jaap van Zweden, conductor
Usedom Music Festival, Peenemünde, Germany

For more information, please contact your local Wise Music Promotion Team. See Contact Us.

Related News