Joan Tower is regarded as one of the most important American composers living today, making lasting contributions to music as composer, performer, conductor and educator. Her commissioners include the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir quartets; soloists Alisa Weilerstein, Evelyn Glennie, Carol Wincenc, David Shifrin, Paul Neubauer, and John Browning; and the orchestras of Chicago, New York, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Nashville, and Washington DC.

Recently, Chamber Music America honored her with its Richard J. Bogomolny National Service Award, Musical America named her Composer of the Year, and the League of American Orchestras awarded her its highest honour, the Gold Baton. Tower is the first composer chosen for a Ford Made in America consortium commission of 65 orchestras. Leonard Slatkin and the Nashville Symphony’s Made in America recording collected three Grammy awards including Best Contemporary Classical Composition.

She is the first woman to win the Grawemeyer Award, for Silver Ladders, written for the St. Louis Symphony as resident composer. Other residencies include the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and the Pittsburgh Symphony. Tower was co-founder and pianist for the Naumburg Award-winning Da Capo Chamber Players. She is Asher B. Edelman Professor in the Arts at Bard College, where she has taught since 1972.