This semester, Kyle Swanson, flute; Kelsey Chan, clarinet, and Christine Zheng, piano, coached by Jean Rife in the Chamber Music Society are studying Dash, a piece by Jennifer Higdon. They analyzed the piece and created the roadmap shown on these images and will perform it in December in a concert series in Killian Hall along with other ensembles in the Chamber Music Society.
Many of Jennifer Higdon’s pieces are considered neo-romantic and tend to use octatonic scales. They display a freedom of form, intense dynamic changes and dense textures. Although Higdon’s pieces are mostly tonal, some atonality is still present. Her musical style is said to emphasize interesting color combinations.
Jennifer Higdon is an American composer who has received many awards including a Pulitzer Prize for Music for her Violin Concerto which premiered in 2009, a Guggenheim, a 2010 Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Classical Composition for her Percussion Concerto, two awards from the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ASCAP.
A flutist, Higdon earned an Artist’s Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, where she studied with David Loeb. She then obtained a master’s and a doctoral degree in composition from the University of Pennsylvania under the tutelage of George Crumb.
Higdon teaches composition at the Curtis Institute where she holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Compositional Studies. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Philadelphia and Fort Worth Symphony orchestras and has also received commissions from others, including the Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta, National, Minnesota, Indianapolis, and Dallas Symphony Orchestras.