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Jennifer Higdon Wins Pulitzer Prize

April 26, 2010

Jennifer Higdon has been awarded the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto. The Pulitzer Citation reads: ‘Awarded to “Violin Concerto” by Jennifer Higdon (Lawdon Press), premiered on February 6, 2009, in Indianapolis, IN, a deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity.’

Her music appeals to a wide-ranging audience in both classical experience and age. Matt Groening, creator of the popular The Simpsons series, singled out her disc, the Grammy-award winning Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra/City Scape, as one of his top-ten favorites of 2004. She is on the composition faculty at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Naxos is proud to have released two CDs that feature her chamber music:

Short Stories – Chamber Music for Saxophone Quartet - IVES, HIGDON, STURM, TORKE, BIXLER, MACY
Ancia Saxophone Quartet

Taking its name from Jennifer Higdon’s Short Stories, this album explores stylistically diverse music showcasing the saxophone quartet’s immense expressive potential. The Ancia Saxophone Quartet has delighted audiences throughout North America, Europe, and Asia for more than two decades. The group’s innovative and diverse repertoire stretches traditional boundaries of genre and style, juxtaposing traditional classical repertoire with contemporary works by modern composers.

  • 4 STARS – Audiophile Audition
  • ‘Jennifer Higdon—who is popular now in the orchestral world—wrote the title track, Short Stories, for the Ancia Quartet. Each picturesque movement invokes a film while listening. Higdon knows each instrument, and writes very well for saxophone quartet.’ – Wholenote

HIGDON Piano Trio, Voices, Impressions
Anne Akiko Meyers, violin • Alisa Weilerstein, cello
Adam Neiman, piano
Nicholas Kitchen & Melissa Kleinbart, violins
Hsin-Yun Huang, viola • Wilhelmina Smith, cello
The Cypress String Quartet


Jennifer Higdon’s philosophy in composing is simple: make sure the music communicates. It is her goal to write music that speaks not only to the seasoned professional performer, but also to audiences that come to this music with all types of understanding, from the first-time listener to the most sophisticated Classical connoisseur. For her, music is purely a reflection of life and should be enjoyed as such. In her Piano Trio, Higdon explores the relationship between sound and color, and the potential for such elements to convey different moods. The three movements of Voices depict contrasting states of mind, from highly agitated to serene. In Impressions for string quartet, the composer returns to the world of impressionist painting as her source of inspiration.

  • 5 STARS – Limelight
  • ‘This is an excellent disc of communicative contemporary music from a composer I want to know better.’ – MusicWeb International

Naxos congratulates Jennifer Higdon on winning the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music.


Jennifer Higdon Biography & Discography


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