The Dallas Opera proudly presents “Composing Conversations” with Am. Composer Jennifer Higdon

by christian.anderson

Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Contact: Suzanne Calvin 214.443.1014                            Or Megan Meister 214.443.1071                          



Composing Conversations” with
American Composer Jennifer Higdon
In Partnership with Art&Seek


Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
Hamon Hall, the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center


Admission is FREE at

            DALLAS, MAY 7, 2013 – The Dallas Opera is thrilled to bring Pulitzer Prize-winning American composer Jennifer Higdon to Dallas for our latest “Composing Conversation,” conducted in partnership with Art&Seek, KERA’s arts initiative.

Our one-night-only free public discussion will take place the evening of Tuesday, May 21st beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Nancy B. Hamon Hall in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  Come and join the conversation with one of the hottest, most in-demand classical composers at work today.  The evening will be introduced by Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny and moderated by award-winning Art&Seek Producer-Reporter Jerome Weeks, a longtime observer of the North Texas arts scene, from the visual to theatrical.

Hailed by The Washington Post as “a savvy, sensitive composer with a keen ear, an innate sense of form and a generous dash of pure esprit,” this Brooklyn native and winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize has earned rave reviews from both critics and audiences for her deeply engaging compositions.

“Jennifer is one of the most innovative and successful composers at work today,” explains Dallas Opera General Director and CEO Keith Cerny.  “When she creates something new, she writes in a distinctive musical language that audiences find both inviting and tremendously compelling.  I am delighted to be able to bring her to Dallas to discuss her wide-ranging musical accomplishments and commissions, and to allow her to interact, face-to-face, with some of Dallas’s most passionate music lovers.”

Currently, she is collaborating with librettist Gene Scheer (Moby-Dick) on a new opera based on the best-selling novel, Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier, to star baritone Nathan Gunn as a disillusioned Confederate soldier.  The Santa Fe Opera world premiere of this new work is scheduled for 2015.  Ms. Higdon is represented in this year’s Spring for Music Festival at Carnegie Hall and also serves as Creative Director for Cincinnati Symphony’s 2012-13 Boundless series.

Despite dozens of commissions and an intense schedule of performances and recordings throughout the world, Ms. Higdon has found the time to make herself available, FREE, to music lovers in North Texas—for one night only!

No relevant topic is off-limits and audience questions are highly encouraged.


Seating is limited and RSVPs are strongly recommended.  To secure your free seat for this extraordinary inside look at contemporary composition and opera-making, go to or call the RSVP hotline at 214.443.1000 to reserve your seat now!

Pulitzer-prize winner Jennifer Higdon (b. Brooklyn, NY, December 31, 1962) started late in music, teaching herself to play flute at the age of 15 and then beginning formal musical studies at 18, with an even later start in composition at the age of 21. Despite this late start, Higdon has become a major figure in contemporary classical music and makes her living from commissions, completing between 5-10 pieces a year. These works represent a range of genres, from orchestral to chamber and from choral and vocal to wind ensemble. Hailed by the Washington Post as “a savvy, sensitive composer with a keen ear, an innate sense of form and a generous dash of pure esprit,” the League of American Orchestras reports that she is one of America’s most frequently performed composers.

Higdon’s list of commissioners and performing organizations is extensive and includes The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Chicago Symphony, The Atlanta Symphony, The Baltimore Symphony, The Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, The London Philharmonic Orchestra, The Luzern Sinfonieorchester, The Hague Philharmonic, The Melbourne Symphony, The New Zealand Symphony, The Pittsburgh Symphony, The Indianapolis Symphony, The Dallas Symphony, as well as such groups as the Tokyo String Quartet and the President’s Own Marine Band.

Higdon received the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto, with the committee citing Higdon’s work as a “deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity.” She has also received awards from the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation, the Guggenheim Foundation, the American Academy of Arts & Letters (two awards), the Pew Fellowship in the Arts, Meet-the-Composer, the National Endowment for the Arts, and ASCAP.
Higdon was the University of Wyoming’s Eminent Artist-in-Residence during the 2010-11 season. She has been a Featured Composer at festivals including Tanglewood, Vail, Cabrillo, Grand Teton, Norfolk, and Winnipeg. She has served as Composer-in-Residence with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, the Green Bay Symphony Orchestra, the Philadelphia Orchestra and the Fort Worth Symphony. During the 2012-13 season, she will be the Creative Director for the Cincinnati Symphony’s Boundless Series and Composer-in-Residence with the Arkansas Symphony and the Wheeling Symphony orchestras.

Higdon enjoys several hundred performances a year of her works. Her orchestral work blue cathedral is one of the most performed contemporary orchestral works and has received more than 400 performances worldwide since its premiere in 2000.

Her works have been recorded on over four dozen CDs. Her Percussion Concerto won the Grammy for Best Contemporary Classical Composition in January, 2010. Other CDs including her music that have won Grammys: Higdon: Concerto for Orchestra/City ScapeStrange Imaginary Animals, and Transmigration. Higdon’s most recent releases include a CD of string music by the Seraphin Quartet (2013), works performed by Gary Graffman and the Lark Quartet (2013), and the symphonic band version of Higdon’s Soprano Sax Concerto (2012).

She is currently writing an opera, based on Charles Frazier’s book Cold Mountain, which is scheduled to be premiered in August, 2015, by Santa Fe Opera. Dr. Higdon currently holds the Milton L. Rock Chair in Composition Studies at The Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia. Her music is published exclusively by Lawdon Press.


Jerome Weeks is a producer-reporter for KERA’s “Art&Seek.” His arts reporting and criticism have appeared on KERA FM, KERA TV, and online at
A professional critic for more than two decades, he was the book columnist for The Dallas Morning News for ten years and the paper’s theater critic for ten years before that. His writing has appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle, Los Angeles Times, Newsday, American Theatre and Men’s Vogue magazines. He has won five Katie Awards from the Dallas Press Club, a graduate journalism fellowship from Columbia University and a Knight Digital Media Fellowship to the University of California-Berkeley. In 2012, he received first place for specialty reporting from Texas Associated Press Broadcasters and the John G. Flowers Award for Excellence from The Texas Society of Architects. Jerome has appeared on Studio 360, C-SPAN’s Booknotes and KERA’s national documentary Sweet Tornado: Margo Jones and the American Theater. He is a member of both the National Book Critics Circle and the American Theatre Critics Association, and is a fellow of the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture.


Art&Seek brings North Texans news about arts, music and culture. The team’s arts journalists produce reports, interviews, criticism and video for KERA FM, KERA TV and online at Art&Seek’s calendar hosts profiles and events from more than 3,000 arts groups and venues. Highlights can also be heard on KERA FM and KXT 91.7 FM. Art&Seek is a service provided by KERA/North Texas Public Broadcasting.



For high-resolution, digital photographs suitable for print
To arrange an interview
Or for additional information
Please contact Suzanne Calvin, Manager/Director Media & PR
214.443.1014 or

The Dallas Opera’s 2013-2014 “By Love Transformed” Season
Is Coming to an Opera House Near You





Ticket Information for the 2013-2014 Dallas Opera Season


            All performances are in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center.  Subscriptions go on sale to the general public on May 13, starting at just $76.  Single Tickets starting at $19 and Flex Subscriptions will go on sale July 1.  Family performances are $5 (subs $12 for three family performances) and will go on sale July 1.  For more information, contact The Dallas Opera Ticket Services Office at 214.443.1000 or visit us online at


The Dallas Opera celebrates its Fifty-SeventhInternational Season in the Margot and Bill Winspear Opera House at the AT&T Performing Arts Center in the Dallas Arts District. Evening performances will begin at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. unless otherwise stated.  English translations will be projected above the stage at every performance and assistance is available for the hearing impaired.
CARMEN by Georges Bizet
October 25, 27(m), 30, November 2, 8 & 10(m), 2013
The most irresistible bad girl in opera—How can you possibly say “non”?
An opera in four acts first performed in Paris on March 3, 1875
Text by Henri Meilhac and Ludovic Halévy based on the novella by Prosper Mérimée
Time: 19th century
Place: Seville, Spain
Conductor: Emmanuel Villaume
Stage Director: Bliss Hebert
Scenic Design: Jean-Pierre Ponnelle
Costume Design: Werner Iverke
Lighting Design: Thomas Hase
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Children’s Chorus Master: Melinda Cotten
Starring: Clémentine Margaine**(Carmen), Brandon Jovanovich (Don José Oct. 25, 27, 30), Bruno Ribeiro* (Don José Nov. 2, 8, 10), Mary Dunleavy (Micaëla), Dwayne Croft (Escamillo), Danielle Pastin*(Frasquita), Audrey Babcock*(Mercédès), Kyle Albertson*(Zuniga), Steven LaBrie (Le Dancaïre), Victor Ryan Robertson (Remendado), John David Boehr*(Moralès).

February 12, 14, 15 & 16(m), 2014
Science fiction and poignant family drama combine in a major regional premiere!
An opera in one act first performed in Monte Carlo, Monaco at the Salle Garnier on September X, 2010.
Text by Robert Pinsky, based on a story by Pinsky and Randy Weiner
Time: Unknown time in the future
Place: Earth, the home of billionaire Simon Powers
Conductor: Nicole Paiement
Stage Director: Diane Paulus*
Associate Director: Andrew Eggert*
Scenic Design: Alex McDowell*
Costume Design: David Woolard*
Lighting Design: Don Holder
Choreography: Karole Armitage*
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Starring: Robert Orth (Simon Powers/Robot One), Joélle Harvey (Miranda/Robot Four), Patricia Risley(Evvy/Robot Three), Hal Cazalet*(Nicholas/Robot Two), Frank Kelley*(The United Way), David Kravitz*(The United Nations), Tom McNichols*(The Administration).

DIE TOTE STADT (“THE DEAD CITY”) by Erich Wolfgang Korngold
March 21, 23(m), 26, 29 and April 6(m), 2014
The Hitchcock-like tale of one man’s dark obsession with the woman he loved and lost.
An opera in three acts first performed in Hamburg & Cologne, Germany on December 4, 1920
Text by Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Paul Schott based on a novel by Georges Rodenbach, Bruges la morte
Time: End of the 19th century
Place: The city of Bruges in northwestern Belgium
Conductor: Sebastian Lang-Lessing*
Stage Director: Mikael Melbye
Scenic Design: Mikael Melbye*
Costume Design: Dierdre Clancy*
Video Design: Wendall Harrington*
Lighting Design: Mark McCullough
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Choreography: Matthew Ferraro*
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Anne Petersen**(Marietta) , Jay Hunter Morris (Paul), Morgan Smith (Fritz), Weston Hurt (Frank), Katherine Tier*(Brigitta), Andrew Bidlack (Albert), Jan Lund**(Victorin), Jennifer Chung (Juliette), Angela Turner Wilson (Lucienne).

THE BARBER OF SEVILLE by Gioachino Rossini
March 28, 30(m), April 2, 5, 11 & 13(m), 2014
Figaro, a scheming barber and jack-of-all-trades plots to release a headstrong girl from her gilded cage!
An opera in two acts first performed in Rome on February 20, 1816
Text by Pierre-Augustin de Beaumarchais, from his comedy Le Barbier de Séville
Time: 18th century
Place: Seville, Spain
Conductor: Giuliano Carella*
Stage Director: Herb Kellner
Original Production: John Copley
Scenic Design: John Conklin
Costume Design: Michael Stennet
Lighting Design: TBD
Wig & make-up Design: David Zimmerman
Chorus Master: Alexander Rom
Starring: Nathan Gunn (Figaro), Isabel Leonard*(Rosina), Alek Shrader*(Count Almaviva), Donato DiStefano (Dr. Bartolo), Burak Bilgili*(Don Basilio), Nathan De’Shon Myers (Fiorello), Christian Teague*(Ambrogio).

Jack and the Beanstalk: October 26, 2013 and April 5, 2014
Family Concerts: November 3, 2013 and February 1, 2014
The Elixir of Love: November 9, 2013 and April 12, 2014
* Dallas Opera Debut
** American Debut

The Dallas Opera is supported, in part, by funds from:  City of Dallas, Office of Cultural Affairs; TACA; the Texas Commission on the Arts and The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)American Airlines is the official airline of The Dallas Opera.  Lexus is the official vehicle of The Dallas Opera.  Advertising support from The Dallas Morning News.  A special thanks to Mrs. William W. Winspear and the Elsa von Seggern Foundation for their continuing support.


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