an blog | AJBlog Central | Contact me | Advertise | Follow me:

An American opera reaches completion

Jennifer Higdon announces that Cold Mountain is complete:

20 months later…8 hours of composing daily …I feel like a need a nap.

When I put the double bar on, it literally felt like Ada was the last to leave the room, and she closed the door behind her as she went out. I was sitting there alone, listening to the silence. Not sure whether to laugh, smile, or weep.

That’s two American operas this year with ‘mountain’ in the title.

Here’s a fuller story.

jennifer higdon

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Alan Penner says:

    Remember when the news was about how good a work was, rather than just being completed?

    • Be patient, Alan, we won’t know until it hits the stage. But so many people were asking about the progress that I needed to post something on social media.

      • Jennifer Higdon says:

        Well, that’s 2 mistaken word uses in 2 days…my brain must be tired. After discussions of the patient scenes in the opera, I should have written “patience” in my note to you, Alan. Sorry about that.

  2. Gene Loves Jezebel. Jezebel Loves Speedmetal says:

    The book is a wreck of authorial good intentions and half-baked themes. I hope the opera focuses on the people and their relationships while leaving out the anemic, white bread, English 101 spiritual metaphors.

    Also, first I learn that Missy Mazzoli is active around Philly and now another composer is getting her work featured here. Philadelphia’s theater/opera community is really getting some high-powered modern talent. I am excited to see this.

    • Jennifer’s work gets featured in Philadelphia often, Jezebel. She lives there, right in Center City. The Philadelphia Orchestra commissioned and premiered her fabulous Concerto for Orchestra; I heard the Tokyo String Quartet play her An Exaltation of Larks (which I describe as “Debussy meets Vaughan Williams and they drink way too much coffee together”) there; I’ve heard the PhilOrch play at least two other of her concertos as well.

      There’s plenty of good contemporary music to be heard there; check out the stuff presented by Network for New Music and by Bower Bird (which presented a very good Morton Feldman festival a couple of summers ago).

      And, Jezebel, do you know about The Crossing? They’re a terrific professional choir that does only contemporary music. (When they sang “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” with the Rolling Stones at the Philadelphia stop on their tour, it was the oldest piece of music they’d ever performed.) Just this past Sunday afternoon, I heard The Crossing give a jaw-dropping performance (the U.S. premiere) of John Luther Adams’s Canticles of the Holy Winds. (The concert was sold out, by the way.)

      • Gene Loves Jezebel. Jezebel Loves Speedmetal says:

        Thanks! After reading the article, I looked up Jennifer and have made a note to pick up some of her stuff and see her works in concert. I am a huge fan of New Amsterdam Records and have only just started discovering that modern classical doesn’t mean “New Age” or the twisted disaster that is Trans Siberian Orchestra.

        • [I] have only just started discovering that modern classical doesn’t mean “New Age” or the twisted disaster that is Trans Siberian Orchestra.

          Oh dear! Well, thank heaven you’ve made the discovery!

          There’s good stuff there – in the US, at least, I think we may be in the healthiest period for new classical music for at least 50 years. It’s not all good, of course, but no period’s never was; we’re doing the same job of weeding for future generations that, say, Mozart’s and Brahms’s contemporaries did for us.

          New Amsterdam Records is very good. (They got really walloped by Sandy; had you heard? You should also investigate Cantaloupe Records.

          And do not miss concerts by The Crossing! And when their concerts get aired on WRTI, be sure to listen.

an ArtsJournal blog