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While continuing to compose and teach in earnest, Tower has lately also been busy helping to care for her 65-year-old brother, who suffered a debilitating stroke seven years ago. "He's at Northeast Center for Special Care, which is an amazing rehabilitation facility in Lake Katrine for traumatic brain injury," explains Tower. "He can't walk at all or speak well, so that's been tough. It gives you an increased sense of how blessed you are, just being able to do things like walking or eating."
But, as heartbreaking as seeing a loved one endure such hardships must be, does the satisfaction of being a triple Grammy winner at least help to offset the difficulties? "Oh sure, it's great, the Grammys are the most-known award in the world," Tower says. "But, at the same time, like I tell my students, awards are short-lived. What really gets you moving is your music. If you write good music, it will have a life of its own and take you much farther than any credentials ever will."
A concert celebrating Joan Tower's 75th birthday will take place in the main hall of the Laszlo Z. Bito '60 Conservatory Building on September 7 at 7:30pm on the campus of Bard College in Annandale-on-Hudson. Tickets for the Bard College Conservatory of Music Composers Scholarship Fund benefit are $75 (75 cents for students). Bard.edu/conservatory.