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Local Connection to the Pulitzer Prize Winners – Updated


by Jerome Weeks 12 Apr 2010

… no, no, not the Dallas Morning News‘ threesome that just won for editorial writing. It’s the composer Jennifer Higdon, who won a Pulitzer for her Violin Concerto. It just so happens, the concerto is scheduled to be performed by the Dallas Symphony on May 13, with soloist Hilary Hahn. And as the Fort Worth […]

CTA TBD

… no, no, not the Dallas Morning News‘ threesome that just won for editorial writing. It’s the composer Jennifer Higdon, who won a Pulitzer for her Violin Concerto.

It just so happens, the concerto is scheduled to be performed by the Dallas Symphony on May 13, with soloist Hilary Hahn.

And as the Fort Worth Symphony has just reminded me, Higdon is their composer-in-residence for 2009-2010. I knew I’d heard her name in some recent connection.

The full press release is below the fold.

FORT WORTH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA

COMPOSER-IN-RESIDENCE RECEIVES 2010 PULITZER PRIZE

FORT WORTH — Jennifer Higdon, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra’s 2009-10 Composer-in-Residence, has been awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music. She received the award for her Violin Concerto, written for and premiered by Hilary Hahn and the Indianapolis Symphony in 2009, “a deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity.” The piece was commissioned by the Indianapolis Symphony, Toronto Symphony, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, and Curtis Institute Symphony Orchestra. This work was recorded during the 2008-09 season by the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic.

A Grammy Award winning composer, Higdon (b. Brooklyn, NY, December 31, 1962) started late in music, teaching herself to play flute at the age of 15 and then beginning formal musical studies at 18, with an even later start in composition at the age of 21. Higdon makes her living from commissions and her music is known for its technical skill and audience appeal. Hailed by the Washington Post as “a savvy, sensitive composer with a keen ear, an innate sense of form and a generous dash of pure esprit,” the League of American Orchestras reports that she is one of America’s most frequently performed composers. Higdon’s list of commissioners is extensive and include the Philadelphia Orchestra, Chicago Symphony, Atlanta Symphony, National Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra,  Pittsburgh Symphony, Indianapolis Symphony, Dallas Symphony and Oregon Symphony.

She has received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts & Letters (two awards), the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ASCAP. In addition she has received grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.

Higdon has been a Featured Composer at festivals including Tanglewood, Vail, Norfolk, Winnipeg and Cabrillo. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (2005-06 season), the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra (2006-07 season), and the Philadelphia Orchestra (2007-08) as well as the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra (2009-10).

Higdon enjoys more than two hundred performances a year of her works. Her orchestral work blue cathedral is one of the most performed contemporary orchestral works in the United States, having been performed by more than 200 orchestras since its premiere in 2000.

Her works have been recorded on over two dozen CDs. In 2003 Telarc released blue cathedral with the Atlanta Symphony, Robert Spano, conducting, on a disc that made the Classical Billboard charts. In 2004 the Atlanta Symphony released the Grammy-winning Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra/City Scape. December 2006 saw the release of a compact disc of Higdon’s chamber music on Naxos, as well as a Grammy-winning recording with eighth blackbird. During the 2008-09 season, the London Philharmonic released Higdon’s Percussion Concerto with Colin Currie, soloist, and Marin Alsop, conducting. That same season featured a release by Naxos of Higdon’s Short Stories performed by the Ancia Saxophone Quartet and a release by Koch of Higdon’s flute and chamber works. The 2009-10 season will feature two releases from Telarc, Higdon’s Dooryard Bloom and The Singing Rooms.

Higdon received a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto. She currently holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

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  • nmlhats

    Jennifer Higdon will be the guest speaker at the May 14th luncheon of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Guild at Tower Club. I can tell people that, based on my previous experience, Higdon is an engaging and witty speaker. Non-members are welcome and may attend for $50 (advance).
    More info at http://www.dsoguild.com