Composer Jennifer Higdon was awarded a Pulitzer Prize in Music for her Violin Concerto premiered in February 2009 by soloist Hilary Hahn. Describing the piece as "deeply engaging piece that combines flowing lyricism with dazzling virtuosity" the Pulitzer Board makes Ms Higdon only the fourth woman to win the Pulitzer in Music since 1950. The piece was co-commissions by the Indianapolis Symphony and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra.
Other finalists were Fred Lerdahl with his String Quartet No. 3 --"a remarkable work that displays impeccable technical facility and palpable emotion," and "Steel Hammer," by Julia Wolfe, "an innovative composition that, with voices and old-time instruments, turns the old folk tune 'John Henry' into an epic distillation of Appalachia."
Jennifer Higdon also won a 2010 Grammy Award in the category of contemporary classical composition for her Percussion Concerto.