Congratulations to alumna Jennifer Higdon G’92 Gr’94, whose Percussion Concerto took home the Grammy Award for Best Classical Contemporary Composition last night.
Here is Higdon’s own description of the 23-minute piece for solo percussion and orchestra, culled from her program notes: My “Percussion Concerto” follows the normal relationship of a dialogue between soloist and orchestra. In this work, however, there is an additional relationship with the soloist interacting extensively with the percussion section…I wanted the opening to be exquisitely quiet and serene, with the focus on the soloist. Then the percussion section enters, mimicking the gestures of the soloist. Only after this dialogue is established does the orchestra enter. There is significant interplay between the soloist and the orchestra with a fairly beefy accompaniment in the orchestral part, but at various times the music comes back down to the sound of the soloist and the percussion section playing together, without orchestra.
Hear some of it for yourself in this audio clip from Higdon’s website, or check out this video of percussionist Colin Currie (for whom the piece was written) performing the work’s cadenza: