Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman No I

From Wind Repertory Project
Joan Tower

Joan Tower

General Info

Year: 1987
Duration: c. 2:45
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Associated Music Publishers, Inc.
Cost: Score & Parts - Rental   |   Score Only - $29.95


Full Score
C Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II-III
Percussion I-II, including:

  • Bass Drum (medium and large)
  • Cymbals (5)
  • Gong (or Tam-tam) (high, medium and large)
  • Snare Drum
  • Temple Blocks (medium)
  • Tom-toms
  • Triangle


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman, No. 1 was inspired by Copland's Fanfare for the Common Man and employs, in fact, the same instrumentation. In addition, the original theme resembles the first theme in the Copland. It is dedicated to women who take risks and who are adventurous. Written under the Fanfare Project and commissioned by the Houston Symphony, the premiere performance was on January 10, 1987, with the Houston Symphony, Hans Vonk, conductor. This work is dedicated to the conductor Marin Alsop.

- Program Note by Joan Tower

Across her enduring and celebrated career, Fanfare for the Uncommon Woman has become something of a calling card for composer Joan Tower. The fanfare is actually a series of five fanfares written between 1986 and 1993 that Tower revised and collected into a single piece in 1997. Each of her fanfares, which playfully riff on the name of Aaron Copland’s Fanfare for the Common Man, are dedicated to noteworthy women who are “risk-takers and adventurers.” (Ricky O’Bannon, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, May 18, 2016)

“This was after the ‘60s and ‘70s when the consciousness-raising was happening and all these feminists were lashing out about women not having enough power or income, and I was reading a lot of the feminist books. I was really on board with that. And then the Houston Symphony came along and said, “We’d like you to write a fanfare.” And I said, “OK, a fanfare, what the hell is a fanfare? Oh yeah, it has a lot of brass, I think.” [Laughs]

So then I started thinking about [Aaron] Copland and the only fanfare I knew, Fanfare for the Common Man, and the title really bothered me. For the “common man?” What the hell is that? It’s kind of elitist. So, I had to turn that one around. An “uncommon woman” means a woman who takes risks, who is adventurous. That was the first one -- dedicated to Marin Alsop, and then along came Absolut Vodka [who commissioned a piece], so I wrote the second one; and then the third one was Carnegie Hall’s 100th anniversary, that was a big deal; the fourth one was Orchestra of Kansas City’s 50th Anniversary; the fifth one was for four trumpets in Aspen; the sixth one started as a piano piece written for the teen-aged pianists of the Music Teachers’ Association of California. I wanted to write a piece for teenagers because I hadn’t, and I thought this would be a good chance. And then Baltimore wanted a fanfare, so I orchestrated that, so there’s one for orchestra and one for piano, the sixth one. And they’re all dedicated to Uncommon Women. (Joan Tower, posted in MusicWorld on September 19, 2018 by Abby White)

“Some have spoken of the American Century. I say that the century on which we are entering – the century which will come out of this war – can be and must be the century of the common man.” (Vice President Henry Wallace, 1942)

- Program Note from University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble concert program, 11 March 2020



State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • University of Oklahoma (Norman) Wind Symphony (Andrew Smith, conductor) - 16 April 2023
  • Eastman School of Music (Rochester, N.Y.) Wind Ensemble (Mark Scatterday, conductor) - 21 September 2022
  • United States Army Field Band II (Fort Meade, Md.) (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 15 December 2021 (2021 Midwest Clinic)
  • University of Minnesota (Minneapolis) Wind Ensemble (Emily Threinen, conductor) – 1 October 2021
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) - 28 May 2021
  • Marshall University (Huntington, W. Va.) Wind Symphony (Adam Dalton, conductor) - 19 November 2020
  • West Chester (Penn.) University Wind Ensemble (Andrew Yozviak, conductor) - 1 November 2020
  • University of Nebraska (Lincoln) Wind Ensemble (Carolyn Barber, conductor) – 11 March 2020
  • Texas Tech University (Lubbock) Concert Band (Ryan Smith, conductor) – 25 February 2019
  • Oklahoma State University (Stillwater) Wind Ensemble (Joseph Missal, conductor) – 12 February 2019
  • University of Georgia (Athens) Hodgson Wind Ensemble (Cynthia Johnston Turner, conductor) – 18 January 2019
  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) - 15 November 2018
  • University of Colorado Boulder Wind Symphony (Donald J. McKinney, conductor) – 15 November 2018
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) College-Conservatory of Music Wind Symphony (Kevin Michael Holzman, conductor) – 31 October 2018
  • Wheaton College (Wheaton, Ill.) Symphonic Band (Timothy Yontz, conductor) –14 April 2018
  • University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Wind Symphony (John R. Stewart, conductor) – 13 October 2017
  • Northwestern University (Evanston, Ill.) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (Mallory Thompson, conductor) – 3 February 2017
  • University of Houston (Tex.) Moores School of Music Wind Ensemble (David Bertman, conductor) – 13 July 2015 - WASBE Conference, San Jose, Calif.
  • 207 Wind Orchestra (Timothy Burns, conductor) - July 1, 2015
  • Texas Tech University Wind Ensemble (Sarah McKoin, conductor) - 3 November 2009

Works for Winds by This Composer


None discovered thus far.