Raven Chacon wins 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Music for “Voiceless Mass”

Posted on: May 10, 2022

Composer Raven Chacon at his home in Albuquerque, New Mexico. On Monday, Chacon was announced as winner of this year’s Pulitzer Prize for Music. Photo: Adolphe Pierre-Louis

“Raven Chacon, a composer, performer and installation artist from the Navajo Nation, has won a Pulitzer Prize for music for his composition, ‘Voiceless Mass,’ ” reads an unsigned Monday (5/9) Associated Press article. “Chacon’s work is currently on display at the Whitney Biennial, which is inspired by oil pipeline protestors at the Oceti Sakowin camp near the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota. His 2020 opera, ‘Sweet Land,’ co-composed with Du Yun, was performed outdoors at the Los Angeles State Historic Park and earned critical praise for its revisionist telling of American history using different narratives simultaneously…. Chacon has been mentoring hundreds of Native high school composers in the writing of string quartets through the Native American Composer Apprenticeship Project since 2004.” The Pulitzer jury described Chacon’s Voiceless Mass as “a fascinating original work for organ and ensemble that evokes the weight of history in a church setting, a concentrated and powerful musical expression with an unforgettable visceral influence.” This year’s Pulitzer Prizes, announced Monday, included 15 journalism and seven arts categories, with the Washington Post receiving the public service award for its coverage of the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol.