Philadelphia a hotbed of composing talent

Posted on: May 3, 2010

In Sunday’s (5/2) Philadelphia Inquirer, David Patrick Stearns writes, “The delight and surprise that followed composer Jennifer Higdon’s Pulitzer Prize win April 12 have reached beyond the artistic community to a wider public: We love tangible evidence that Philadelphia originates the better things in life, as well as importing them. … ‘Is this a first for Philadelphia composers?’ some ask. Hardly. Philadelphia has regularly exported important new music—some that won the Pulitzer, and a lot that deserved to—usually in spurts. The prevalence of educational institutions, enlightened philanthropy, and a relatively low cost of living among Northeastern cities has made this a place where composers can try out all sorts of things and not worry too much about consequences. … Philadelphia-born, Montgomeryville-raised Julia Wolfe was two steps behind Higdon in this year’s Pulitzer finalists with Steel Hammer, a Carnegie Hall commission late last year that consolidated her reputation as a radical minimalist, long nurtured by the Bang on a Can Festival. Penn faculty member James Primosch had an up-to-the-minute meeting of artistic minds with Princeton-based poet Susan Stewart, whose Songs for Adam, published in 2008, was heard in late 2009 in a Chicago Symphony Orchestra-commissioned song cycle of the same title.”

Posted May 3, 2010