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An Afternoon with Jennifer Higdon, composer

The Cliburn presents "An Afternoon with Jennifer Higdon, composer"

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Recap – An Afternoon with Jennifer Higdon, composer

Posted on April 16, 2014 by The Cliburn

The Cliburn presented “An Afternoon with Jennifer Higdon, composer” on April 5, 2014, at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth for an appreciative and engaged crowd. Shields-Collins Bray served as host and pianist for the event. TheaterJones‘ Gregory Sullivan Isaacs wrote of Ms. Higdon that it was her “charm and surprising honesty that makes her so interesting,” while the Fort Worth Weekly’s Edward Brown wrote that Ms. Higdon “proved herself a lively interviewee, needing only short prompts from Bray to expand on the nuances of composing and realizing artistic self-expression” and that the performance demonstrated “the power of carefully crafted chamber music to convey deeply personal ideas.”

Ms. Higdon presented her compositions Dash, Clarinet Sonata, and Piano Trio; performers engaged were Shields-Collins Bray, piano; Daryl Coad, clarinet; Leda Larson, cello; and Swang Lin, violin. In between performances of each work, Mr. Bray and Ms. Higdon discussed her compositional process and the works themselves. Speaking to her Piano Trio, Ms. Higdon stated “My concern is always balance, and I wondered how to balance three such different instruments [piano, violin, and cello].” TheaterJones’ Mr. Isaacs remarked, “As you could tell in the sensitive performance of the trio at the end of the program, she achieved that ‘balance’ quite beautifully. This trio is one of her most successful pieces…it was the highlight of the afternoon.”

The Cliburn at the Modern series was introduced in 2003 to create understanding and appreciation between audiences and composers. This series celebrates living composers and new trends in classical music, and makes modern classical music accessible to a broad audience by showcasing composers and their works in an intimate and informal setting. The Cliburn has involved living American composers in its programming since the First Van Cliburn International Piano Competition in 1962, commissioning 11 pieces from American composers specifically for competition performances and hosting three American Composer Invitationals in 2001, 2005, and 2009. The Cliburn intends to continue with this well-regarded series as an important facet of carrying out its mission of advancing classical piano music throughout the world.


“There’s something very American in the sound of her music, and something I’m tempted to call joyful—not in terms of what is expressed…but in how it is expressed. She is a composer in love with composing.” –The Baltimore Sun

Pulitzer Prize winner Jennifer Higdon maintains a full schedule of commissions, and her music is known for its technical skill and audience appeal. Hailed by The Washington Post as “a savvy, sensitive composer with a keen ear, an innate sense of form and a generous dash of pure esprit,” she is one of America’s most frequently performed composers.

The Cliburn will present Jennifer Higdon and her works in the Cliburn at the Modern Series on April 5, 2014. This series was created in 2003 to create understanding and appreciation between audiences and composers by showcasing living composers and new works. Hosted by Shields-Collins Bray, the Cliburn’s artistic advisor and principal keyboardist of the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the performances are held in the intimate 250-seat auditorium at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth to encourage an informal and interactive environment.

Gregory Sullivan Isaacs of Theater Jones wrote: “The opportunity to hear a composer talk about his or her music, and then to hear it played, is a rare treat indeed. This is the goal of the Cliburn at the Modern series. Moderated by the effervescent and incredibly knowledgeable Shields-Collins Bray, who knows all the right questions to ask, you can learn about a composer’s thought process, which opens new avenues of understanding. And the small lecture hall at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth creates a salon environment.”

Project Media

Colin Currie – Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto
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Features: Jennifer Higdon

Uploaded on Oct 8, 2009

www.intermusica.co.uk/currie. In an encore following a performance with the Seoul Philharmonic Orchestra, Colin Currie performs the cadenza from Jennifer Higdon’s Percussion Concerto.

Jennifer Higdon: Concerto for Violin and Orchestra III. Fly Forward
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Features: Jennifer Higdon

Uploaded on Feb 26, 2012

Hilary Hahn, Violin. Vasily Petrenko & the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, 2009.

Start and End Dates



Fort Worth, Texas

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Last update on April 16, 2014

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Fort Worth, Texas
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Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


3 responses to “An Afternoon with Jennifer Higdon, composer”

  1. Rebecca Harrold says:

    I enjoy your work! It is distinctly American and joyful as the Baltimore Sun proclaims…Congratulations!

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