Jennifer Higdon

Jennifer received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, with the committee citing Higdon’s work as “a deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity.”  She has also received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, The Independence Foundation, the NEA, and ASCAP.  A winner of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition’s American Composers Invitational, her Secret & Glass Gardens was performed by the semi-finalists.

Higdon has been a featured composer at many festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, Vail, Norfolk, Grand Teton, and Cabrillo. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with half a dozen orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Fort Worth Symphony.  She was also honored to serve as one of the Creative Directors of the Boundless Series for the Cincinnati Symphony’s 2012-13 season. During the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years she served as the Barr Laureate Scholar at UMKC.

Higdon enjoys more than 200 performances a year of her works. Her orchestral work, blue cathedral, is one of the most performed contemporary orchestral works in the repertoire (over 700 performances thus far).  Her music has appeared on ESPN and in theaters across the U.S. in DCI’s World Finals as the Boston Crusaders and the Bluecoats featured several of her works in their shows.

Her works have been recorded on over 70 CDs.  Higdon’s Percussion Concerto won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in 2010, her Viola Concerto won in 2018, and her Harp Concerto won in 2020.  Upcoming releases include her string quartet, Voices, by the Pacifica Quartet.

She received a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Bowling Green State University, an Artist Diploma from The Curtis Institute of Music, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Hartt School and Bowling Green State University. She was recently inducted into the American Philosophical Society (founded by Benjamin Franklin).

Dr. Higdon currently holds the Milton Rock Chair in Composition at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.  Her music is published exclusively by Lawdon Press. For more information:

Photo credit: JD Scott

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