Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon has been awarded the 2018 Nemmers Prize in Music Composition, bestowed by Northwestern University’s Bienen School of Music. The biennial honor, which comes with an award of $100,000 and celebrates contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement, was announced April 11.
Higdon, whose works include the CSO-commissioned Low Brass Concerto, which had its world-premiere performances Feb. 1-3 at Symphony Center, has received commissions from many of the world’s leading ensembles. A two-time Grammy Award winner, she is widely regarded as one of the most frequently performed living American composers.
Established in 2003, the Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize honors classical music composers who have significantly influenced the field of composition. Along with the cash award, the prize includes a performance by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and residencies at the Bienen School in October 2018 and February 2020. Previous Nemmers winners are John Adams (2004), Oliver Knussen (2006), Kaija Saariaho (2008), John Luther Adams (2010), Aaron Jay Kernis (2012), Esa-Pekka Salonen (2014) and Steve Reich (2016).
“I am extremely honored to be the recipient of Northwestern University’s 2018 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize, and to be included in this list of previous winners, is truly humbling,” Higdon said in a statement. “It will be a pleasure to spend time with the students and faculty sharing experiences and making music. I am deeply appreciative of this opportunity in such a prestigious school of music.
Toni-Marie Montgomery, dean of the Bienen School said in a statement, “[Jennifer] Higdon is a prolific and widely performed American composer who has written in a wide range of musical styles for both instruments and voice. She will bring a multi-faceted perspective to her work with our performance and composition students. The Bienen School faculty and students look forward to many exciting and enriching activities during Jennifer Higdon’s residencies over the next two years.”
TOP: Jennifer Higdon speaks with Jeff Alexander, president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, at a reception following the world premiere of her Low Brass Concerto on Feb. 1 at Symphony Center. | ©Todd Rosenberg Photography 2018