Did you know that there’s Pulitzer Prize for Music?
Joseph Pulitzer didn’t specify this prize in his will, but he did arrange for a music scholarship to be awarded each year. This was eventually converted into a full-fledged prize.
I found a list of recipients, most of them unknown to me. Including Caroline Shaw.
Violinist. Singer. Songwriter. Pulitzer Prize Winner.
Caroline Shaw, 30, is the youngest-ever winner of the music Pulitzer. She wrote “Partita for 8 Voices” for the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth. It’s an inventive a cappella work in four movements that combines harmonies with elements of spoken narration and atonal vocalization patterns like whispers, grunts, croaks, sighs, and gasps. All inspired by the geometrical instruction-based art of Sol LeWitt.
I bet the Pulitzer Foundation was enchanted at first listen.
Curious about what this unconventional music score-thingy looks like?
Hmm. No key, clef or standard notes. Here’s the tempo description ~ silk shoes gliding over marble mosaic. How profusely cool is that?
Roomful of Teeth, when not on tour, is busy rewriting the vocal rulebook. They spent last fall and the early months of this spring performing at places like Yale, Wellesley, and New York’s classical/avant-garde venue, Spectrum. Think: world-music rock-concert high-wire act ~ medieval-ish plainchant, African-like annunciation, faux-electronic timbres and spoken words. Wow. Wow. Wow.
The music is sit-down-and-brace-yourself amazing. Oh, and if you’re in a cubicle, keep some headphones handy.