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Classical 101

A Conversation with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Composer Caroline Shaw, Part 1

color photo of composer Caroline Shaw
Kait Moreno
Composer Caroline Shaw

As the saying goes, everything has a price. Had the entry fee for the 2013 Pulitzer Prize competition in music been more than $50, Caroline Shaw might not have become the youngest person ever to win that coveted award.

That win catapulted Shaw overnight from relative obscurity to the top of the classical music A-list as one of the most innovative voices — and one of the busiest composer-performers — in new music today.

While Shaw was in Columbus last fall to perform her work Lo for violin and orchestra with the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, she stopped by the Classical 101 studios for an interview about her work and career.

In part 1 of our interview, Shaw talks about food and music, why she entered her Partita for 8 Voices in the competition for the Pulitzer Prize and what she'd be doing now if she hadn’t become a composer.

Watch for part 2 of the interview, in which we talk about the “Caroline Shaw sound,” the state of new music today, why music by women is so underrepresented on orchestra concert programs and more.

Then join me for a special broadcast of Shaw’s moving and haunting setting of spirituals By and By, as our Women of Note series featuring women composers continues on The American Sound during Women’s History Month. Tune in to The American Sound at 6 p.m. Saturday and 7 p.m. Tuesday on Classical 101.

And while you're here, check out this phenomenal performance of the Pulitzer Prize-winning work Partita for 8 Voices by Shaw and Roomful of Teeth:


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Jennifer Hambrick unites her extensive backgrounds in the arts and media and her deep roots in Columbus to bring inspiring music to central Ohio as Classical 101’s midday host. Jennifer performed with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Civic Orchestra of Chicago before earning a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
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