Congratulations to Joan Tower who will be awarded the Golden Baton at this year’s League of American Orchestras Conference in Nashville, TN (June 3-5)!  The Golden Baton is organization’s highest honor.

One of Tower’s most well known works, Made in America, was commissioned by a consortium of 65 orchestras throughout the country through the League of American Orchestra’s Ford Made in America project.  The resulting piece remains the largest orchestra commissioning consortium in the United States.

The Golden Baton  was first established in 1948 and is given in recognition of distinguished service to America’s orchestras, either to individuals or institutions “whose far-reaching contributions to the field serve to champion and advance the cause of orchestras and symphonic music throughout the country.”

Previous award winners include Yo-Yo Ma, Ann Hobson Pilot, Pierre Boulez, Leonard Bernstein, Beverly Sills, and  (in 1962) The Women’s Associations of Symphony Orchestras.  Tower is the first woman composer to receive the award, and the first musician whose primary activity is composition to receive the award since Robert Ward in 1991.  The complete list of winners can be found here.

Read the full press release from the League of American Orchestras and read more about Tower’s career and most recent premieres at the League of American Orchestra conference website.  Tower, who lives in Red Hook and teaches at Bard College, was also interviewed about the award by Hudson Valley One:

“It’s the music that drives your life,” Tower told me, “not the awards. Awards are very nice, and sometimes they are financially helpful. It’s a wonderful kind of present to get. But the music is most important. This award is pretty interesting, though, because they usually give it to soloists, orchestra managers and conductors. In that context, this is an amazing honor. And at my age, being a woman composer, it’s a nourishing event.”

Listen in to some of Tower’s best known orchestral works:

And be sure to let us know what your favorite Tower piece is!