Jennifer Higdon

by M. Sparks

Jennifer Higdon stumbled upon the world of classical music relatively late compared to most performing musicians and composers, but she has achieved much more than many hope to through diligence and hard work coupled with a strong passion and curiosity for discovering more.

Although she began playing flute in her teenage years, it was not until age eighteen that Ms. Higdon had formal classical music training, and it was even later when she became inspired to compose.

With countless commissions and performances, her work has swept across America and around the globe, and she has gained international acclaim as a leading American female composer of the twenty-first century.

J. Higdon,    Percussion Concerto

Currently she holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at the Curtis Institute of Music.


Her innovative use of tonality as well as some smatterings of atonality in addition to her creative use of rhythm and form have garnered her a Pulitzer Prize in 2010 and two Grammy awards. The first for her Percussion Concerto in 2010, and most recently on January 28, 2018 for her Viola Concerto.

Jennifer Higdon is an inspired woman, and in turn, she inspires now generations of audiences and students alike.