Catching up with Caroline Shaw

Posted on: February 5, 2021

“When Caroline Shaw became, at the age of 30, the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for music, she described herself as ‘a musician who wrote music’ rather than as ‘a composer,’ ” writes Erica Jeal in Tuesday’s (2/2) Guardian (U.K.). “Eight years on, she’s still wary of defining herself too narrowly. ‘Composer, for some people, can mean something very particular,’ she says, ‘and I’m trying to make sure I don’t get swallowed up into only one community.’ Not that Shaw’s range shows any sign of narrowing: even a small sample of her work over the past few years throws up an array of names not often seen together: rappers Kanye West and Nas, soprano Renée Fleming, mezzo-soprano Anne Sofie von Otter, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, pianist Jonathan Biss. She has written film scores, sung on others, was the soloist in her own violin concerto … A year ago, Orange, a recording of her string quartets, won the Attacca Quartet a Grammy. This year brings three more recordings. Narrow Sea, just released, is the first of two featuring four-piece ensemble Sō Percussion, teaming them with two contemporary classical stalwarts, soprano Dawn Upshaw and pianist Gilbert Kalish.”