2020 Convocation Addresses

June 19, 2020

Dean Toni-Marie Montgomery addresses the Class of 2020 and introduces distinguished convocation speaker Jennifer Higdon.

Jennifer Higdon is one of America's most acclaimed and most frequently performed living composers. She is a major figure in contemporary classical music, having received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto and Grammy Awards for her Percussion Concert (2010), Viola Concerto (2018) and Harp Concerto (2020). Higdon also received the 2018 Michael Ludwig Nemmers Prize in Music Composition from the Bienen School of Music at Northwestern University. The prize is awarded to contemporary classical composers of exceptional achievement who have significantly influenced the field of composition.

Higdon enjoys several hundred performances a year of her works. Her orchestral work, blue cathedral, is one of today's most performed contemporary orchestral works, with more than 650 performances worldwide since its premiere in 2000. Her works have been recorded on more than sixty CDs, and her Percussion Concerto recording was recently inducted into the Library of Congress National Recording Registry. Higdon's first opera, Cold Mountain, won the prestigious International Opera Award for Best World Premiere.

Higdon received a Bachelor's Degree in Music from Bowling Green State University, an Artist Diploma from the Curtis Institute of Music, and an MA and PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. She currently holds the Rock Chair in Composition at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia.