January 31, 2010

Jennifer Higdon Takes Grammy Award Over Cornell Prof. Roberto Sierra

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At the 52nd annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last night, Prof. Roberto Sierra, chair of the Department of Music, lost out to “Percussion Concerto,” written by Jennifer Higdon, in the category of Best Classical Contemporary Composition. Sierra was nominated for “Missa Latina Pro Pace,” a 75-minute orchestral composition.

Sierra’s composition, which translates as “Latin mass for peace,” met with critical acclaim in its 2006 premier at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., The Sun reported earlier this month. Sierra had previously received a Latin Grammy nomination for a piano concerto, he said.

“Percussion Concerto,” which won the Grammy, is a 25-minute piece for solo percussion and orchestra, according to Higdon’s website. Its recording was performed by the London Philharmonic Orchestra.

Higdon is “one of the most successful composers in America,” according to the London Philharmonic Orchestra’s website. Her compositions include “traces of American classical, rock and folk music,” the website says, “together with the influence of great classical orchestrators.”

“I’m very happy for [Higdon] that she won [the Grammy award],” Sierra said. “She’s a very good composer.”

Original Author: Michael Linhorst