Review By Robert Reilly,InsideCatholic.com,August 2008
Joan Towers’ Naxos CD (8.559328) won the Triple Crown—Best Orchestral Performance, Best Classical Contemporary Composition, and Best Classical Album. The Made in America composition, which leads the album, is the result of a neat idea. Sixty-five of the smaller budget orchestras in the US banded together, with help from the NEA (thank you, Dana Gioia), to commission this piece. It is a wonderful reward—a challenging fantasy on America the Beautiful. You may not think anyone has anything new to say on this theme, but Tower does. It is a tour de force, a dizzying dynamo of a piece. The big Concerto for Orchestra that fills most of the CD is like listening to a spring being coiled. The tension keeps ratcheting up, with all the attendant suspense.
Review By ,Salisbury (North Carolina) Post,July 2007
NEW YORK—Naxos has released the first commercial recording of composer Joan Tower’s “Made in America,” featuring the Nashville Symphony conducted by their Music Advisor Leonard Slatkin.
The CD, distributed in the United States and Canada by Naxos of America, also features Tower’s “Tambor” and “Concerto for Orchestra.”
Joan Tower’s work is part of the groundbreaking Ford Made in America program, the largest orchestral commissioning consortium in the country’s history, which involved 65 American orchestras. The Salisbury Symphony was one of the orchestras that took part, performing the work in 2006.
Review By Evanston (IL),Naxos,June 2007
…Quick, name a new piece of classical music by a name composer that received more than 80 performances by orchestras last year. Usually funds are available for premieres and then the music languishes. Not so with Joan Tower’s 13-minute composition “Made in America,” which was played in all 50 of the United States, due to a commission from the American Symphony Orchestra League and a grant from the Ford Motor Company Fund. One of those performances was by the Evanston Symphony Orchestra. Now a CD of “Made in America,” along with other works by Tower has been recorded on the Naxos label by the Nashville Symphony, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. “Made in America” is the first track and it is a fantasy on the theme of “America the
Review By John Fleming,St. Petersburg Times,July 2007
…Made in America, Tower’s fantasy on America the Beautiful, was the most-performed orchestral work by a living American composer in 2006. Commissioned by Ford Motor Co. and a consortium of orchestras, it was heard in all 50 states. (In Florida, the Venice Symphony played it.)…Tower’s 13-minute work receives a sumptuous performance by the Nashville Symphony under Leonard Slatkin. Made in America is not difficult, but she keeps things interesting with superbly crafted orchestration and unpredictable tone colors. The CD also includes Tower’s propulsive concerto for percussion, Tambor (Spanish for “drum”), and her Concerto for Orchestra.
Review By Michael S. Markowitz,Playbillarts.com,June 2007
Joan Tower’s Made in America began as an effort by 65 small orchestras around the U.S. to pool their resources to commission a work from a major American composer. The piece — a colorful fantasy on “America the Beautiful”—premiered in Glens Falls, New York in 2005 and has been played more than 80 times since then in all 50 states. Leonard Slatkin leads the Nashville Symphony Orchestra in the work’s first recording. The disc also includes Tower’s Concerto for Orchestra and Tambor.
Review By David Perkins,The News & Observer (Raleigh, NC),June 2007
Since Joan Tower wrote “Made in America” in 2004, it has been performed in almost every state. That was the idea, to get smaller symphony orchestras to help pay for a major work by a major American composer to juice up their repertoires.
Sixty-five participated, making it the biggest orchestral commissioning consortium ever. Ford Motor Co. supplemented the funds with a major grant, and now Naxos is bringing out a recording by the Nashville Symphony in its “American Classics” series.
Review By Glens Falls,Post-Star,May 2007
Naxos on Tuesday released the first commercial recording of composer Joan Tower’s “Made in America,” which the Glens Falls Symphony Orchestra premiered in October 2005.
“Made in America” is the first composition produced as part of the groundbreaking Ford Made in America program, the largest orchestral commissioning consortium in the country’s history.
In its first program cycle, Ford Made in America has provided 65 American orchestras, at least one from each state across the nation, the opportunity to pool resources and achieve together what not one of them could afford to do individually in their own community.
Review By David Denton, Naxos,June 2007
Joan Tower has been described in The New Yorker as one of the world’s most successful female composers of all time, and certainly she has received more commissions and performances in recent years than any other. Brought up in South America where she was to enjoy the exotic sounds, she was musically educated in the United States, becoming active as a pianist and composer. A reformed serialist, she has in recent years concentrated on compositions that create an audience relationship and was the first choice in an on-going concept that came from small-budget orchestras who are combining with Ford Motors to commission new compositions that will be played throughout the States. As this does involve orchestras of differing ability Made in America was written with the