Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral

Notes by composer Jennifer Higdon

Blue . . . like the sky. Where all possibilities soar. Cathedrals . . . a place of thought, growth, spiritual expression . . . serving as a symbolic doorway into and out of this world.

Cathedrals represent a place of beginnings, endings, solitude, fellowship, contemplation, knowledge and growth. These were my thoughts when The Curtis Institute of Music commissioned me to write a work to commemorate its 75th anniversary. Curtis is a house of knowledge—a place to reach towards that beautiful expression of the soul which comes through music. Coming to the writing of this piece at a unique juncture in my life, I found myself pondering the question of what makes a life. The recent loss of my younger brother, Andrew Blue, made me reflect on the amazing journeys that we all make, especially at a place like Curtis, where the pursuit of “the singing soul” is what music and life are all about. This piece represents the expression of the individual and the whole of the group . . . our journeys and the places our souls carry us.

jennifer higdon
Commissioned by The Curtis Institute of Music
Premiered May 1, 2000
by The Curtis Symphony Orchestra
Robert Spano, conducting
Academy of Music
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania