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Made in America

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Joan Tower

Joan Tower (trans. Donald Patterson)

General Info

Year: 2004 / 2017
Duration: c. 13:00
Difficulty: VI (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Orchestra
Publisher: Associated Music Publishers
Cost: Score and Parts - Rental


Full Score
C Piccolo
Flute I-II
Oboe I-II
Bassoon I-II
E-flat Soprano Clarinet
Solo B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II
B-flat Soprano Clarinet I-II-III
B-flat Bass Clarinet
E-flat Contra Alto Clarinet
B-flat Soprano Saxophone
E-flat Alto Saxophone
B-flat Tenor Saxophone
E-flat Baritone Saxophone
B-flat Trumpet I-II-III
Horn in F I-II-III-IV
Trombone I-II
Bass Trombone
String Bass
Percussion, including:

  • Bass Drum
  • Egg Maraca
  • Maracas
  • Marimba
  • Sleigh Bells
  • Suspended Cymbal, large, medium and low
  • Tambourine
  • Vibraphone
  • Wood Block
  • Xylophone


None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Made in America is an orchestral composition in one movement by the American composer Joan Tower. The work was jointly commissioned by the League of American Orchestras and Meet the Composer. It was first performed in Glens Falls, New York, by the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra in October 2005.

Made in America is composed in a single movement and has a duration of roughly 13 minutes. The main theme of the work is based on the song America the Beautiful. Tower described the inspiration for the piece in the score program notes, writing:

I crossed a fairly big bridge at the age of nine when my family moved to South America (La Paz, Bolivia), where we stayed for nine years. I had to learn a new language, a new culture, and how to live at 13,000 feet! It was a lively culture with many saints' days celebrated through music and dance, but the large Inca population in Bolivia was generally poor and there was little chance of moving up in class or work position.

When I returned to the United States, I was proud to have free choices, upward mobility, and the chance to try to become who I wanted to be. I also enjoyed the basic luxuries of an American citizen that we so often take for granted: hot running water, blankets for the cold winters, floors that are not made of dirt, and easy modes of transportation, among many other things. So when I started composing this piece, the song America the Beautiful kept coming into my consciousness and eventually became the main theme for the work. The beauty of the song is undeniable and I loved working with it as a musical idea. One can never take for granted, however, the strength of a musical idea — as Beethoven (one of my strongest influences) knew so well. This theme is challenged by other, more aggressive and dissonant ideas that keep interrupting, unsettling it, but America the Beautiful keeps resurfacing in different guises (some small and tender, others big and magnanimous), as if to say, "I'm still here, ever changing, but holding my own." A musical struggle is heard throughout the work. Perhaps it was my unconscious reacting to the challenge of how do we keep America beautiful.

- Program Note from Wikipedia


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State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


To submit a performance please join The Wind Repertory Project

  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Ensemble (Paula Holcomb, conductor) – 28 April 2019
  • United States Marine Band (Washington, D.C.) (Michelle Rakers, conductor) – 29 April 2018

Works for Winds by This Composer