Ivory and Ebony

Joan Tower
Advanced
8 min

Ivory and Ebony was commissioned by the 2009 San Antonio International Piano Competition in Memory of Andrew Russell Gurwitz and is dedicated to the wonderful pianist Blair McMillen.

The black and white keys provide the thematic basis for this piece. When they are separate, they offer different but (mostly) consonant pitch collections of various color combinations, but when they are together, the dissonance increases.

This piece tries to use those separate and together color combinations as a narrative throughout the piece.

It was also intended to be virtuosic to provide a challenge for the wonderful competitors in the competition.