Strike Zones was commissioned by the National Symphony Orchestra with a grant from the June and John Hechinger Commissioning Fund and premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC with solo percussionist Evelyn Glennie on October 4, 2001. Leonard Slatkin conducted.
I have always loved percussion and was honored to be asked to write a percussion concerto for the extraordinary Evelyn Glennie. Most percussion instruments are struck (hence the word “strike” in the title) and I decided to have the percussion placed across the front of the stage with the soloist moving from one “zone” to another — starting with the more fragile vibraphone and ending with a tour de force of drums. The other “zones” include a marimba solo, a cymbal/hi-hat group, an ensemble of smaller/softer instruments (like the maraca, piccolo woodblock, castanet), a xylophone solo, and a trio with two other players placed in the hall echoing/“reverberating” the glockenspiel (with crotales) and the castanets (with more castanets).
The orchestra provides support and amplification of color and rhythm for the particular DNAs of the instruments.
— Joan Tower
- Explore music by women for dance
- In response to requests from choreographers, dance and ballet companies we invite you to explore music in multiple styles and genres by women at the height of their composing game. From Missy Mazzoli, Maja Ratkje and Helen Grime, to Joan Tower, Kaija Saariaho, Gloria Coates and the new generation Hania Rani and Lisa Morgenstern, we are sure there’s something for everyone in this first in a series of specially curated features.