CONSERVATORY

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Jennifer Higdon Named as Conservatory's Next Barr Institute Laureate

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The UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance is pleased to announce that Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon has been named the Barr Institute Laureate, beginning Fall 2016.  Ms. Higdon will work with a variety of Conservatory students and faculty in master classes, rehearsals, and performances, September 27–30, 2016.

Jennifer Higdon is a major figure in contemporary classical music, receiving the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto and a 2010 Grammy for her Percussion Concerto.  Higdon enjoys several hundred performances each year, and blue cathedral is one of America’s most performed contemporary orchestral works, with more than 600 performances world wide since its 2000 premiere.  Her works have been recorded on more than four-dozen CDs.  Higdon’s most current project is an opera based on Charles Frazier’s best-selling novel Cold Mountain.  It was premiered by the Santa Fe Opera, August 2015 and travels to Opera Philadelphia, Minnesota Opera, and North Carolina Opera in the next two seasons.  Higdon holds the Rock Chair in Composition at The Curtis Institute of Music, Philadelphia.  Her music is published exclusively by Lawdon Press.

Higdon holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in Music Composition from the University of Pennsylvania, a B.M. in Flute Performance from Bowling Green State University, and an Artist Diploma in Music Composition from The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.

Curators’ Professor of Music Composition and Barr Institute Chair Paul Rudy notes, “In 2012 The Kansas City Symphony performed On a Wire by Higdon in a fantastic and vibrant collaboration with eighth blackbird. It was inventive, vivid, and stunning. It’s going to be so much fun to bring such a major composer to the Conservatory. Our students will be able to hear directly from someone whose music is in their textbooks.”

The Patricia and Howard Barr Institute for American Composition Studies, launched in 2004, is the fulfillment of a longtime dream of Howard (DMA, UMKC Conservatory of Music, 1971) and Patricia Barr. The Barrs had distinguished careers as pianists and teachers in southern California, often performing and promoting the works of contemporary American composers. The Institute celebrates their love of American music and their dedication to its continuing study and performance.

The most significant activities of the Barr Institute focus on the Laureate Program. Each laureate, selected by the Barr Advisory Board, is a major figure in American music, and returns to campus multiple times for two to three years. Jennifer Higdon joins Steven Stucky (2006–2008), Stephen Hartke (2008–2012), and John Corigliano (2012–2015) as a Barr Laureate Composer. In addition, eighth blackbird was Ensemble Laureate (2013–14) and Carol Oja served as Scholar Laureate 2014–2016. 

All current and future works of each composer become part of the Barr Institute Collection. Laureates visit the UMKC campus several times each year during their tenure to participate in symposia, performances of their work, master classes and lessons, and presentations to public schools and other organizations. The Conservatory also partners with other performing organizations to present the works of the Barr Institute Laureates. For instance, the Kansas City Chorale performed Steven Stucky’s works, and the Kansas City Symphony has performed work by John Corigliano and Jennifer Higdon.

More details on Dr. Higdon’s residency will be forthcoming.

For more information, please contact:

Name: Dana Self
Phone: 816-235-2949
Email: selfdr@umkc.edu