Born in, in 1938, Joan Tower is one of the leading composers of the modern period. She spent her childhood in South America where her father worked as a mining engineer. She learned to play the piano as a child and when she was 18, returned to the United States to study at Bennington College in Vermont. She then went on to Columbia University, where she received her Masters and Doctorate Degrees in music. In 1969, she founded the Da Capo Chamber Players, which won the Naumburg Award and has premiered many of her works.