Jennifer Higdon

Candace diCarlo

In between rehearsals for the East Coast premiere of her opera, Cold Mountain, Pulitzer-winning composer Jennifer Higdon is preparing for another big event. At Curtis' Field Concert Hall, on Sunday, January 24th at 3:00 pm, Dolce Suono Ensemble will premiere a new work of Higdon's for flute, cello, and piano. American Canvas is a musical expression of three American painters: Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Andrew Wyeth.

As part of the concert, "Women Pioneers of American Music," Dolce Suono commissioned Jennifer Higdon to compose this work. The composer stopped by the WRTI studios to chat about American Canvas with WRTI's Susan Lewis.


Less Than a Week Before Christmas

Dec 19, 2015

We're counting down the days on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 19th at 9 pm. Less Than a Week Before Christmas is David Golub's work for chorus and orchestra: about the cold, about a friend. Morten Lauridsen contemplates the wonder of animals at the nativity manger in one of our time's most-sung pieces, O Magnum Mysterium.

Composer Jennifer Higdon becomes her own poet for Deep in the Night, pondering "this season of love with full brilliant lights." Daron Hagen combines two melodies we recognize with a beautiful one we don't—because he just wrote it—in a work for choir with cello, At Bethlehem Proper. Rounding out the choral works on the program is While All Things Were in Quiet Silence by Ned Rorem.

Two instrumental works find their way in, though. Advent has the same feeling that imbues Yearning, the lovely work for violin and strings by Shulamit Ran, dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin. For solo guitar is the suite of Rick Sowash, helping us count down the days, For an Old Friend at Christmas.

The Spirit of Copland on Now Is the Time

Nov 13, 2015

The spirit of Copland looks over Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 14th at 9 pm. It would be the 115th birthday of the son of Lithuanian immigrants, the son of Brooklyn, who, more than any other composer, defined what is “American” in American music. We think that there is at the very least a little of his spirit in the works on today’s show. 

Philadelphia is Firing Up for Cold Mountain!

Oct 19, 2015

It's a novel, a film, an opera, and now it's the recently announced One Book, One Philadelphia selection for 2016.

The Free Library and the City of Philadelphia officially kicked off the yearly collective read, which will be the National Book Award fiction winner, Cold Mountain.

COLD MOUNTAIN: First Impressions of Jennifer Higdon's Opera

Aug 7, 2015
Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera


Jennfier Higdon's opera Cold Mountain premiered on August 1st at the Santa Fe Opera to a world that was obviously ready for a masterwork. It was sold out before opening, an extra performance was added, and a major recording company committed to releasing it commercially. The masterwork didn't quite emerge, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns. But many good things did. 

It's a story that could have been taken from a breaking news report: A soldier, gravely wounded in a brutal battle, flees the fighting to try and make his way home. Only this story is set during the Civil War.

Courtesy of the artist

Pulitzer- and Grammy-award winning composer Jennifer Higdon has written for many different instruments, and now has a new concerto for viola. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, with each composition, she explores new musical territory.

Susan Lewis: Jennifer Higdon wrote her Violin Concerto for Hillary Hahn, and a Blue Grass concerto for the musicians of Time for Three – one right after the other. Just one example of how varied her work is.

Join us this Sunday, May 10th, for WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast, which pairs the music of Philadelphia’s own Jennifer Higdon, one of today’s leading composers, with one of her personal favorites: Claude Debussy.

Warming Up for Jennifer Higdon's Cold Mountain

Apr 13, 2015

Operagoers have a number of months to wait for the Jennifer Higdon/Gene Scheer opera, Cold Mountain, which premieres in Santa Fe in August, and then in February 2016 at Philadelphia's Academy of Music. The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns caught a sneak preview at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City, where singers and authors were interviewed and excerpts were performed.

"A fence is a very good thing."

Candace diCarlo

The door closed behind Jennifer Higdon. She was in the office of her college conducting professor, Robert Spano, seeking advice about what to do. She had just heard back from the Curtis Institute of Music - they had accepted her application for graduate studies, but so had other music schools. She needed guidance.  "I'm not letting you out of here," Spano said, until she agreed to accept the spot from Curtis.

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