2019 Guest Composers


jennifer higdon

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Pulitzer Prize and two-time Grammy-winner Jennifer Higdon (b. Brooklyn, NY, December 31, 1962) taught herself to play flute at the age of 15 and began formal musical studies at 18, with an even later start in composition at the age of 21. Despite these obstacles, Jennifer has become a major figure in contemporary Classical music. Her works represent a wide range of genres, from orchestral to chamber, to wind ensemble, as well as vocal, choral and opera. Her music has been hailed by Fanfare Magazine as having "the distinction of being at once complex, sophisticated but readily accessible emotionally", with the Times of London citing it as "…traditionally rooted, yet imbued with integrity and freshness." The League of American Orchestras reports that she is one of America's most frequently performed composers.

Higdon's list of commissioners is extensive and includes The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony, The Atlanta Symphony, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Pittsburgh Symphony, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, as well such groups as the Tokyo String Quartet, the Lark Quartet, Eighth Blackbird, and the President's Own Marine Band. She has also written works for such artists as baritone Thomas Hampson, pianists Yuja Wang and Gary Graffman, violinists Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg, Jennifer Koh and Hilary Hahn. Her first opera, Cold Mountain, won the prestigious International Opera Award for Best World Premiere in 2016; the first American opera to do so in the award's history. Performances of Cold Mountain sold out its premiere run in Santa Fe, North Carolina, and Philadelphia (becoming the third highest selling opera in Opera Philadelphia's history).

Upcoming commissions include a chamber opera for Opera Philadelphia, a string quartet for the Apollo Chamber Players, a double percussion concerto for the Houston Symphony, an orchestral suite for the Made In America project, and a flute concerto for the National Flute Associations' 50th anniversary.

Higdon received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, with the committee citing the work as "a deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity." She has also received awards from the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, The Independence Foundation, the NEA, and ASCAP. As winner of the Van Cliburn Piano Competition's American Composers Invitational, Higdon's Secret & Glass Gardens was performed by the semi-finalists during the competition.

Higdon has been a featured composer at many festivals including Aspen, Tanglewood, Vail, Norfolk, Grand Teton, and Cabrillo. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with several orchestras, including the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Fort Worth Symphony. She was honored to serve as the Creative Director of the Boundless Series for the Cincinnati Symphony's 2012-13 season. During the 2016-17 and 2017-18 academic years Higdon served as the prestigious Barr Laureate Scholar at the University of Missouri Kansas City.

Most recently, Higdon received the prestigious Nemmers Prize from Northwestern University which is awarded to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition. Beginning in 2018, Higdon will complete two residences at the Bienen School of Music as the Nemmers Prize recipient. Also in the 2018-19 season, Higdon will be in residence at University of Texas, Austin, as part of the Eddie Medora King Award.

Higdon enjoys more than 200 performances a year of her works. Her orchestral work, blue cathedral, is one of the most performed contemporary orchestral works in the repertoire, more than 600 performances since its premiere in 2000.

Her works have been recorded on over 60 CDs. Higdon has twice won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition: first for her Percussion Concerto in 2010 and in 2018 for herViola Concerto.

Dr. Higdon received a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Bowling Green State University, an Artist Diploma from The Curtis Institute of Music, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She has been awarded honorary doctorates from the Hartt School and Bowling Green State University.

Dr. Higdon currently holds the Rock Chair in Composition at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her music is published exclusively by Lawdon Press.

For more information: www.jenniferhigdon.com


andrea clearfield

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Andrea Clearfield (b. 1960) is an award-winning composer of music for chorus, orchestra, opera, chamber ensemble, dance, and multimedia collaborations. Clearfield creates deep, emotive musical languages that build cultural and artistic bridges. She has been praised by the New York Times for her “graceful tracery and lively, rhythmically vital writing”, the Philadelphia Inquirer for her “compositional wizardry” and “mastery with large choral and instrumental forces”, the L.A. Times for her “fluid and glistening orchestration” and by Opera News for her “vivid and galvanizing” music of “timeless beauty”. She was appointed the Steven R. Gerber Composer in Residence with the Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, Dirk Brossé, Artistic Director for the 2018-19 season. Her works are performed widely in the U.S. and abroad. Among her 150 works are ten large-scale cantatas including one commissioned by The Philadelphia Orchestra. Her cantata, Tse Go La, for double chorus, electronics and chamber orchestra is inspired by her music fieldwork documenting Tibetan melodies in the Himalayas. Her first opera, Mila, Great Sorcerer, to libretto by Jean-Claude van Itallie and Lois Walden, commissioned by Gene Kaufman and Terry Eder will be presented at the NYC Prototype Festival in January, 2019, Kevin Newbury, director. She is a recipient of a 2017 Independence Foundation Fellowship in the Arts, a 2016 Pew Fellowship and was awarded fellowships at the American Academy in Rome, the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, The MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, Ucross, Blue Mountain Center, Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico, Djerassi, Montalvo, Civitella Ranieri, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Copland House among others. She has been invited as visiting composer to numerous universities and colleges including Yale-National University of Singapore, Curtis Institute of Music, University of Texas at Austin, Emory University, Indiana University, University of Chicago, College of William and Mary, Michigan State, University of Arkansas and the Rimsky Korsakov Conservatory in St. Petersburg, Russia. She sits on the Board of Directors of the Recording Academy (Grammy’s) Philadelphia Chapter. Her music is published by Boosey & Hawkes, G. Schirmer, Hal Leonard and Seeadot. Dr. Clearfield served on the composition faculty at The University of the Arts from 1986 – 2011. She received a DMA from Temple University where she was awarded the University-wide Presidential Fellowship and was honored as a Distinguished Alumna. A passionate advocate for building community around the arts, she is also the founder and host of the renowned Salon featuring contemporary, classical, jazz, electronic, dance and world music since 1986 and winner of Philadelphia Magazine’s “Best of Philadelphia” award. More at www.andreaclearfield.com


elainie lillios (guest instructor)

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Acclaimed as one of the “contemporary masters of the medium” by MIT Press’s Computer Music Journal, electroacoustic composer Elainie Lillios creates works that reflect her fascination with listening, sound, space, time, immersion and anecdote. Her compositions include stereo, multi-channel, and Ambisonic fixed media works, instrument(s) with live interactive electronics, collaborative experimental audio/visual animations, and installations. Elainie’s work has been recognized internationally and nationally through awards including a 2018 Fromm Foundation Commission, 2017-18 Grammy nomination, 2016 Barlow Endowment Commission, and 2013-14 Fulbright Scholar Award. She won First Prize in the Concours Internationale de Bourges, Areon Flutes International Composition Competition, Electroacoustic Piano International Competition, and Medea Electronique “Saxotronics” Competition. She has also received awards from the Destellos International Electroacoustic Competition, Concurso Internacional de Música Electroacústica de São Paulo, Concorso Internazionale Russolo, Pierre Schaeffer Competition, and La Muse en Circuit. She has received grants/commissions from INA/GRM, Rèseaux, International Computer Music Association, La Muse en Circuit, NAISA, ASCAP/SEAMUS, LSU’s Center for Computation and Technology, Sonic Arts Research Centre, Ohio Arts Council, and National Foundation for the Advancement of the Arts. Reviews of Elainie’s solo electroacoustic compact disc Entre Espaces (Empreintes DIGITALes) praise her work for being “… elegantly assembled, and immersive enough to stand the test of deep listening” and as “…a journey not to be missed.” Additional fixed media and instrumental works are published by Centaur, Innova, MSR Classics, Ravello Records, StudioPANaroma, La Muse en Circuit, New Adventures in Sound Art, SEAMUS, Irritable Hedgehog and Leonardo Music Journal. Elainie serves a Director of Composition Activities for the SPLICE Institute (splicemusic.org) and is Professor of Composition at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. elillios.com