March is Women’s History month. WUOL will take this opportunity to present a blog series on women composers, beginning with Jennifer Higdon.
Jennifer Higdon is one of the most-performed American composers in concert halls today – male or female. In the 2008-09 season, Ms. Higdon had 49 performances of her large-scale orchestral works, putting just behind John Adams. Her Concerto for violin and orchestra won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in music. Her orchestral work blue cathedral is one of the most performed contemporary orchestral works and has received more than 400 performances worldwide since its premiere in 2000. The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia have recently commissioned Higdon to write an opera based upon the best-selling novel, “Cold Mountain”, by Charles Frazier.
Born in Brooklyn in 1962, Higdon spent her first 10 years in Atlanta before moving to Tennessee. She took up the flute and was largely self-taught. In college she majored in flute performance but her interest quickly turned to composing. Higdon’s musical stylings could be referred to as neo-romantic. Her works are mostly tuneful with a bit of atonality at times. Musicians and audiences seem to appreciate her music as it is well-represented in concerts all over the world.
Enjoy this performance of Jennifer Higdon’s most popular work blue cathedral: