Yesterday, composer Caroline Shaw won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for her a cappella composition Partita for 8 Voices. At age 30, she is the youngest winner in the prize’s history. The jury described Shaw’s composition as “a highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects.”
The work is in four movements and appears on a New Amsterdam recording by the ensemble for which it was written, Roomful of Teeth. You can see samples of the sheet music here. And listen to the entire piece below. Very cool stuff. I’m particularly fond of the second movement Sarabande.
In a statement, Shaw said: “The four pieces of Partita were inspired by my dear friends in Roomful of Teeth, during our time together each summer in residence at Mass MoCA, where Sol LeWitt’s bright designs overwhelm me every time. Together, in the ensemble, we’ve been exploring and expanding our love of harmony and the human voice. Partita is also a return to some of my musical origins – violin, dance, and the whimsical imagination of Bach.