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Joan Tower

Joan Tower (born 1938)

Nationality: American
Born: September 6, 1938, New Rochelle, NY (age 82)

Big Sky for Piano Trio

(for violin, cello and piano)
Duration: 7 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 2000 (age 61-62)
3 recordings, 3 videos
7:53
Laura Colgate (violin), Kacy Clopton (cello), and Andrew Welch (piano)
7:11
Chee-Yun, Andre Emelianoff, Joan Tower
7:01
Oberlin Trio
From Joan Tower

Big Sky was commissioned by the La Jolla Chamber Music Society for their "SummerFest La Jolla 2000" music festival.

This slow seven-minute trio for violin, cello and piano was intended as a companion piece to a short and fast trio entitled And… They’re Off (which was commissioned by the Scotia Festival in Canada where I served as composer/conductor-in-residence in 1996). The common subject of these two works is horses—namely race horses. As a young girl—and like many young girls—I had an obsession with horses. When I was growing up in South America, my father bought me a racehorse. This was in Bolivia, where horses, even racehorses, were very cheap. I loved this horse and took very good care of it in our makeshift garage/stable. My obsession with horses continued into my teens when I learned to jump. More recently (and many years later), I found a partner whose main love is playing the horses!

Big Sky is a piece based on a memory of riding my horse "Aymara" around in the deep valley of La Paz, Bolivia. The valley was surrounded by the huge and high mountains of the Andes range; and as I rode I looked into a vast and enormous sky. It was very peaceful and extraordinarily beautiful. We never went over one of these mountains, but if we had, it might have felt like what I wrote in this piece.

© Joan Tower. Used by permission. All rights reserved.