In surprise win, Caroline Shaw's 'Partita for 8 Voices' takes Pulitzer for music (VIDEO)


Caroline Shaw on Monday won the Pulizer Prize for Music for her "Partita for 8 vioces." Here, musicians warming up for a Boston concert on July 11, 2012.


Michael Dwyer

Caroline Shaw, a 30-year-old experimental composer, violinist and vocalist, on Monday won the Pulitzer Prize for Music for her "Partita for 8 Voices." 

The work was part of a larger set she composed for the young a cappella ensemble Roomful of Teeth, of which she is a member, said NPR. The group released their first album in October.

"[S]ince I'm a violinist, I was drawn to those Baroque forms," Shaw told NPR on Monday. "I played a lot of Bach's partitas and sonatas; I like the way that Bach was abstracting already from these dance forms," she said.

She hopes the publicity generated by the win will attract a dance component for the "Partita" series.

The prestigious $10,000 prize certainly means the composer will receive "plenty of attention," observed the Associated Press, especially with the Pulitzer committee praising her "highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects."

The win also singles out up-and-coming composer Shaw as the youngest to receive the prize in over a half-century, according to NPR

The North Carolina native told NPR she submitted her four-part "Partita" suite because, as she said, "I thought ... Well, I might as well see what they think.'"

Watch as Roomful of Teeth performs Shaw's "Passacaglia," part of a series that includes the winning "Partita:"