Philadelphia’s Jennifer Higdon is among the most frequently performed living American composers. Now 50, the successful, unpretentious, and endlessly creative Higdon is adding an opera to her extensive repertoire. It’s a joint commission of The Santa Fe Opera and Opera Philadelphia based on Charles Frazier’s Civil War novel Cold Mountain. Higdon’s family moved from Atlanta to east Tennessee when she was an adolescent– about 40 miles, she says, as the crow flies from Cold Mountain. That geographic proximity fueled her insight into the characters she’s recasting in operatic form.
Higdon’s partner, Cheryl Lawson, runs Lawdon Press, the company that publishes and distributes Higdon’s works. Among her most-performed compositions is blue cathedral, a tone poem she wrote after the death, from cancer, of her brother Andrew Blue Higdon. Her works have been recorded on dozens of CDs and performed around the world.
Earlier this year the Temple University Symphony Orchestra was nominated for two Grammy awards. Now, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, the ensemble is preparing to debut a newly commissioned piece by a Grammy-winning composer.
In a program that also features Samuel Barber's Prayers of Kierkegaard, featuring the combined Temple choirs, and Shostakovich's Ninth Symphony, the Temple University Symphony Orchestra conducted by Luis Biava will perform the world premiere of Reflections on the Mississippi by Michael Daugherty at the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall on Sunday, March 24 at 4 pm. Information Here. WRTI will broadcast the concert in the near future.
While there are many concertos for string instruments, fewer works exist for woodwinds, brass or percussion. Yet, as Susan Lewis reports, a previously under-performed work for trumpet from the early 19th century became part of the standard repertoire in the second half of the 20th.
There may be no other historical figure about whom more operas have been written than Francesca da Rimini. The 13th-century Italian aristocrat has been the subject of more than a dozen eponymous works for the opera stage. And, as WRTI’s Jim Cotter reports, most of them get her story wrong.
In the Metropolitan Opera’s revival of the rarely performed Francesca da Rimini, which airs on WRTI on March 16th and will also be transmitted live in HD at movie theaters in our region, tenor Robert Brubaker (a Lancaster, PA native) sings Malatestino, a third brother also in love with Francesca who helps plot her demise.