A Pulitzer Prize and Grammy Award winner, Higdon will be in Chicago for the world-premiere performances Feb. 1-3 of her Low Brass Concerto, commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Philadelphia Orchestra. The work, featuring CSO soloists Jay Friedman, Michael Mulcahy, Gene Pokorny and Charles Vernon in its premiere, will be conducted by Riccardo Muti at Symphony Center. The CSO and Muti also will perform the work on their East Coast tour Feb. 7-17.
The Eddie Medora King Award consists of a cash prize of $50,000 and a weeklong residency at the Butler School. Previous winners include Jake Heggie (2016), Kevin Puts (2013), John Adams (2007), Joan Tower (2005) and John Corigliano (2001).
“The Butler School of Music community is thrilled that Jennifer Higdon will be the next distinguished living composer to be honored with the Eddie Medora King Award,” said Mary Ellen Poole, the school’s director. “Not only is her music powerful, gorgeously evocative and deservedly recognized by the profession’s highest accolades, but she is exactly the kind of example we want to put in front of our students: an authentic, generous, endlessly curious human being who has taken full responsibility for her own professional journey.”
Along with the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, Higdon has been honored by the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts & Letters, the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Independence Foundation, the National Education Association and the American Society of Composer, Authors and Publishers. Cold Mountain, her first opera, won the International Opera Award for best world premiere in 2016, becoming the first-ever American opera to receive this honor. A Grammy recipient for her Percussion Concerto (2010), Higdon also is nominated this year in the category of best contemporary classical composition for her Viola Concerto.