Joan Tower's 'Purple Rhapsody'

by Joan Tower. Associated Music Publishers, $29.99.

One of the preeminent American contemporary composers, Joan Tower has enjoyed a career spanning more than 50 years. Major ensembles, soloists, and orchestras—such as the Emerson, Tokyo, and Muir Quartets—have commissioned Tower’s works. Purple Rhapsody was premiered in 2005, in Columbus, Ohio, by the Omaha Symphony with violist Paul Neubauer as the soloist. Interestingly, this is not the only piece in which Tower evokes the color purple. She previously wrote “Wild Purple” (also for Neubauer) in 1998. Later, in 2008, she once again waxed poetic on the color purple for Neubauer with a three-minute work titled “Simply Purple.”

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*This article appeared in Strings March 2011
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