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Composer Jennifer Higdon Joins Asheville Symphony for Masterworks 3: American Portraits

Pulitzer Prize and three-time GRAMMY-winning composer Jennifer Higdon will attend the Asheville Symphony’s performances of her composition Cold Mountain Suite during Masterworks 3: American Portraits on Saturday, November 18, at the First Baptist Church of Asheville, with performances at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m.

Jennifer Higdon. Photo by J.D. Scott

The Asheville Symphony co-commissioned Cold Mountain Suite along with several orchestras across the nation. The piece is based on Higdon’s opera Cold Mountain which, in turn, is based on the novel of the same name by Charles Frazier, set in Haywood County.

“I deeply believe that it is our responsibility as a professional orchestra to actively contribute to the canon of American symphonic music by commissioning new work,” says Asheville Symphony executive director Daniel Crupi. “And in this case, the story is intimately tied to the culture and history of WNC, lending another exciting intersection for the Symphony’s involvement.”

Bryan Terrell Clark

Higdon will join the Symphony in the week leading up to the performance, attending rehearsals and coaching the orchestra. She will also participate alongside music director Darko Butorac during pre-concert lectures held before both performances.

“Higdon’s multilayered approach to texture makes it sound as if a musical tapestry is being woven before you,” says Butorac. “It is not a simple work, and I am looking very much forward to the challenge of making it all come together with our orchestra.”

The program also features Copland’s Lincoln Portrait, a tribute to Abraham Lincoln that combines orchestral music with spoken narration.

Bryan Terrell Clark, who has played major roles in Broadway shows, including Hamilton and Motown: The Musical, will serve as the vocalist for the performance. The program concludes with Negro Folk Symphony, a transformational work composed by the 20th-century Black composer William Levi Dawson.

Tickets can be purchased online at AshevilleSymphony.org, by calling the box office at 828.254.7046, or in person at 27 College Place, Suite 100, in Asheville.

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