In 1942, composer Aaron Copland gave the world a work called The Fanfare for the Common Man. This work would go on to inspire not only common men, but a few uncommon women.

Hi there – I’m Garrett McQueen, and on this addition of NoteWorthy I’d like to introduce you to an uncommon woman named Joan Tower.

She was born just a few years before the composition of Copland’s famous fanfare, spending a large part of her adolescence in Bolivia. As a young woman, she came back to the United States to study music, and she quickly established herself as a unique talent as both a pianist and as a composer.

By 1987, she had already spent 2 years as the composer in residence for the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. It was that same year when she wrote this work, titled fanfare for the Uncommon Woman.

Joan Tower wrote not one or two, but 5 more fanfares under the same title, and she dedicated them to women who take risks and are adventurous. In addition to her fanfares for uncommon women, Joan celebrates a vastly diverse catalogue of solo, chamber, and orchestral works that shine a light on her lived experiences, her responses to the world, and her uncommon talent as an American composer. These, among her many other accolades, make Joan Tower one of the world’s most NoteWorthy composers.

Pictured: Joan Tower by Bernard Mindich.