A top composer's Ohio connection

Tom Jackson
Apr 13, 2010

If the best-known composers in the country are still men such as Philip Glass, John Adams, Steve Reich and John Corigliano, the next big name on that list is likely to be a woman, Jennifer Higdon. She just win the Pulitzer Prize for music for her Violin Concerto, and that follows the Grammy Award for "Best Contemporary Classical Composition" for her Percussion Concerto.

Higdon teaches at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia and grew up in the South, but she has an Ohio connection, too. She studied flute at Bowling Green State University, where she met conductor Robert Spano, who has conducted and recorded much of her work.

One more Ohio connection: eighth blackbird, a chamber music group formed from Oberlin College alums, won a Grammy in 2007 for the group's "Strange Imaginary Animals" album, which features a Higdon piece, "Zaka."

The 2008 Pulitzer winner, David Lang, is the current composer in residence at Oberlin.