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Tower of Jewels

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William Tong

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General Info

Year: 1933
Duration: c. 4:15
Difficulty: (see Ratings for explanation)
Original Medium: Cornet and piano
Publisher: Mansucript?
Cost: Score and Parts - Unknown


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None discovered thus far.

Program Notes

Named after the structure found in the center of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition World’s Fair at San Francisco, the Tower of Jewels was the central building that dominated the scene with its staggering height of 435 feet. Built on a frame of steel and wood and covered with a mixture of plaster and burlap to give it an appearance akin to marble, it was outfitted with 102,000 shards of colored glass crystals, each varying in color, and illuminated the night with 50 spotlights to create a visual display befitting of its monicker. When the World’s Fair concluded, the building was stripped of the shards of glass before its demolition, and the shards were boxed, tagged with a medallion, and sold for one dollar each.

William Tong composed this solo for his teacher, Herbert L Clarke, Sousa’s cornet soloist during the band’s residency at the 1915 San Francisco World’s Fair, where Clarke performed both The Debutante and Showers of Gold. Tong himself was not mentioned on the program at this point, but would be in the same band his teacher was once in from 1924 to 1930. We do not know if Tong was in the audience during Clarke’s 1915 performances or simply heard the tales, but he was clearly inspired enough by the occurrence to compose and dedicate this solo to his teacher.

- Program Note from State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Symphony concert program, 21 February 2019

Commercial Discography

None discovered thus far.


State Ratings

None discovered thus far.


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  • State University of New York, Fredonia, Wind Symphony (Donna Dolson, conductor; David Duro, cornet) – 21 February 2019

Works for Winds by this Composer


  • Donna Dolson, personal correspondence, February 2019