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Jennifer Higdon

Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., but raised in the South, Jennifer Higdon received a Bachelor of Music from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, a diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music in 1988, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition she has studied conducting with Robert Spano and flute with Judith Bentley.

Dr. Higdon is the recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music for her Violin Concerto; a 2009 Grammy Award (Best New Contemporary Classical Recording) for her Percussion Concerto;  Guggenheim, Koussevitzky, and Pew fellowships; and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

Her works are performed around the world, with commissions coming from a variety of ensembles and individuals, such as the Philadelphia and Cleveland orchestras; St. Paul Chamber Orchestra; Gary Graffman; Hilary Hahn; the President's Own Marine Band; Tokyo String Quartet; Time for Three; Philadelphia Singers; Mendelssohn Club; eighth blackbird; and Opera Philadelphia and Santa Fe Opera. She has works on more than four dozen recordings, including the Grammy-winning CD of her Concerto for Orchestra and City Scape.

Dr. Higdon joined the faculty of the Curtis Institute of Music in 1994.


blue cathedral
Curtis Symphony Orchestra, April 25, 2012


Dr. Higdon discusses her Pulitzer Prize–winning Violin Concerto.

Learn more

Jennifer Higdon on her first opera, Cold Mountain, set for its world premiere in Santa Fe.
Opera News, June 2015

Creating Cold Mountain
Overtones, Spring 2014

A Musical Problem Solver: Jennifer Higdon tackles her students' questions and develops a model for publishing
Overtones, Fall 2005