Classical Music

Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto

My taste in classical music is obviously expanding because a year ago, I would never have bothered (or even wanted) to listen to music written within the last 50-100 years – except for Gershwin, of course. Now, I’m trying out music written by people my age or even younger. (I’m, er, 29, in case you were wondering. Yeah. Moving on.)

There actually is an awful lot of good music out there and the composers are still living and they’re still writing more music. Is some of it weird? Oh yeah – for sure. Check out Richard Reed Parry’s Music for the Heart and Breath – weird, but oddly relaxing at the same time. Ian Wilson has some strange stuff and Lera Auerbach – definitely …well… we’ll just call it dissonant.

The other night I decided to download a violin concerto by Pulitzer prize-winning composer Jennifer Higdon.


Photo credit: Candace DiCarlo

Yes, apparently Pulitzers aren’t awarded to just journalists!

I had no idea what to expect when I first hit play, but man is it ever cool! It’s so high-energy and fast-moving. Originally written for violinist Hillary Hahn and premiered with the Indianapolis Symphony a few years ago, it’s a ridiculously fun piece. Though I should admit – I have no idea how the soloist still maintains use of her arms afterwards. Do violinists have to ice them down after such a performance? I’m guessing yes.

I love the first comment on that YouTube page.

Contemporary orchestral music isn’t nearly as bad as I thought!

I agree!

Higdon won her Pulitzer Prize for this very concerto – which I’m going to hear in March (assuming my vacation request is approved!) played by Chattanooga Symphony Orchestra Concertmaster Holly Mulcahy. There are still tickets left – couldn’t believe some sections were already sold out, but happy to already have my ticket! Can’t wait!

I’m kind of glad to be branching out from the Mendelssohn!

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