The Columbus Symphony's season opener is your only chance this year to hear the orchestra play a piece by a female composer. Make the effort to take in Jennifer Higdon's music live, not only because she's a Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winner, but also because she's one of the few contemporary composers included on the symphony's calendar.

The Columbus Symphony's season opener is your only chance this year to hear the orchestra play a piece by a female composer. Make the effort to take in Jennifer Higdon's music live, not only because she's a Grammy and Pulitzer Prize winner, but also because she's one of the few contemporary composers included on the symphony's calendar.

From its opening with sweet, shimmery bell sounds, Higdon's dozen-minute-long "Blue Cathedral" carries listeners into a pretty dream state. Few works offer a better juxtaposition with the next piece on the program, Carl Orff's dramatic "Carmina Burana." The 25-movement cantata - I promise you'll recognize the first and last one, "O Fortuna" - is both visceral and sensual, and the medieval-era lyrics will pack some serious power when belted by the Columbus Symphony Chorus and Columbus Children's Choir.

Photo by Randall L. Schieber