Caroline Shaw’s unpredictable career path as composer, singer, violinist

Posted on: July 12, 2021

“When Caroline Shaw’s composition Partita for 8 Voices won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013, making her the youngest person to ever win the award, at age 30, it led her to … recognition beyond the classical scene, and the freedom to work on any kind of creative project that interests her,” writes Elena Saavedra Buckley in Tuesday’s (7/6) National Public Radio. “In the years since, she has collaborated with Kanye West, written for film, guest acted in Mozart in the Jungle and been anointed one of the modern figures making classical music ‘cool.’ Through her rise, though, Shaw has … neither settled into a traditional composer’s path of hunting for prestigious commissions, nor swerved strongly toward pop. She continues, instead, to seek intimate, amorphous musical experiences where composing and performing overlap, and where the boundaries of classical blur beyond recognition. Let the Soil Play Its Simple Part, released June 25 on Nonesuch Records, is the composer’s latest attempt to stay true to that compass. [Recorded] in the fall of 2018 … with Sō Percussion … [the] album is a collection of clandestine earworms—nonchalant but generous music whose swarms of percussion and electronics swirl.”