Jennifer Higdon

Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera

Opera Philadelphia is presenting the East Coast premiere of Jennifer Hidgon's first opera, Cold Mountain. As WRTI's Susan Lewis reports, the opera adds another dimension to the Civil War story from the critically acclaimed novel by Charles Frazier.

Cold Mountain opens Friday, February 5th and runs through Sunday, February 14th at the Academy of Music in Philadelphia.


This year’s One Book One Philadelphia selection is Charles Frazier’s novel Cold Mountain.  From now until March 30th, the Free Library will host a series of reading groups, lectures, cooking classes and more as part of this mass reading event. This year, One Book coincides with the East Coast premiere of the opera, Cold Mountain, adding a musical dimension to its literary litany. 

Candace diCarlo

In between rehearsals for the East Coast premiere of her opera, Cold Mountain, Pulitzer-winning composer Jennifer Higdon is preparing for another big event. At Curtis' Field Concert Hall, on Sunday, January 24th at 3:00 pm, Dolce Suono Ensemble will premiere a new work of Higdon's for flute, cello, and piano. American Canvas is a musical expression of three American painters: Georgia O'Keeffe, Jackson Pollock, and Andrew Wyeth.

As part of the concert, "Women Pioneers of American Music," Dolce Suono commissioned Jennifer Higdon to compose this work. The composer stopped by the WRTI studios to chat about American Canvas with WRTI's Susan Lewis.


Audio Pending...

We're counting down the days on Now Is the Time, Saturday, December 19th at 9 pm. Less Than a Week Before Christmas is David Golub's work for chorus and orchestra: about the cold, about a friend. Morten Lauridsen contemplates the wonder of animals at the nativity manger in one of our time's most-sung pieces, O Magnum Mysterium.

Composer Jennifer Higdon becomes her own poet for Deep in the Night, pondering "this season of love with full brilliant lights." Daron Hagen combines two melodies we recognize with a beautiful one we don't—because he just wrote it—in a work for choir with cello, At Bethlehem Proper. Rounding out the choral works on the program is While All Things Were in Quiet Silence by Ned Rorem.

Two instrumental works find their way in, though. Advent has the same feeling that imbues Yearning, the lovely work for violin and strings by Shulamit Ran, dedicated to Yehudi Menuhin. For solo guitar is the suite of Rick Sowash, helping us count down the days, For an Old Friend at Christmas.

The spirit of Copland looks over Now Is the Time, Saturday, November 14th at 9 pm. It would be the 115th birthday of the son of Lithuanian immigrants, the son of Brooklyn, who, more than any other composer, defined what is “American” in American music. We think that there is at the very least a little of his spirit in the works on today’s show. 

It's a novel, a film, an opera, and now it's the recently announced One Book, One Philadelphia selection for 2016.

The Free Library and the City of Philadelphia officially kicked off the yearly collective read, which will be the National Book Award fiction winner, Cold Mountain.

Ken Howard for Santa Fe Opera


Jennfier Higdon's opera Cold Mountain premiered on August 1st at the Santa Fe Opera to a world that was obviously ready for a masterwork. It was sold out before opening, an extra performance was added, and a major recording company committed to releasing it commercially. The masterwork didn't quite emerge, reports The Philadelphia Inquirer's David Patrick Stearns. But many good things did. 

It's a story that could have been taken from a breaking news report: A soldier, gravely wounded in a brutal battle, flees the fighting to try and make his way home. Only this story is set during the Civil War.

Pulitzer- and Grammy-award winning composer Jennifer Higdon has written for many different instruments, and now has a new concerto for viola. As WRTI’s Susan Lewis reports, with each composition, she explores new musical territory.

Susan Lewis: Jennifer Higdon wrote her Violin Concerto for Hillary Hahn, and a Blue Grass concerto for the musicians of Time for Three – one right after the other. Just one example of how varied her work is.

Join us this Sunday, May 10th, for WRTI's Philadelphia Orchestra in Concert broadcast, which pairs the music of Philadelphia’s own Jennifer Higdon, one of today’s leading composers, with one of her personal favorites: Claude Debussy.

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