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Joan Tower

Joan Tower (born 1938)

Nationality: American
Born: September 6, 1938, New Rochelle, NY (age 85)

Big Sky for Piano Trio

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