Composer • Voice • Violin
• Born 1982
Latest albums featuring C. Shaw as composer
Latest albums featuring C. Shaw as artist
Composer Caroline Shaw emphatically announced her arrival onto the classical music scene when she became the youngest-ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for composition. She has written for several high-profile artists and ensembles, plays violin and sings with several ensembles, and has helped produce albums by artists beyond the classical sphere.
Shaw was born on August 1, 1982, in Greenville, North Carolina. She began playing violin at two years old, with her mother as her teacher, and she began composing at ten, though the violin was her focus. She attended Rice University for her bachelor's degree, followed by Yale University for her master's degree, both in violin performance. She went on for further studies at Princeton University in the Ph.D. program for composition. While still in the program at Princeton, Shaw's composition Partita for 8 Voices (2009-2011) earned the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for composition, making Shaw the youngest composer to earn the prize. Written for the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth, of which Shaw is a member, it was part of the group's Grammy Award-winning self-titled debut release in 2012.
Among the performers she's been commissioned by are Renée Fleming, Dawn Upshaw, The Crossing, and Anne Sofie von Otter. Shaw wrote her Can't voi l'aube (2016) for von Otter, and she was subsequently commissioned by the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra to write another work for von Otter, which became Shaw's Three Songs set (2016-2018). Shaw has also composed film music, including the scores for To Keep the Light (2016) and Madeline's Madeline (2018). A 2019 release of her works for string quartet by the Attacca Quartet, Orange, won the 2020 Grammy Award for Best Chamber Music Performance. She performs on the violin with the American Contemporary Music Ensemble and regularly works with other groups, including Alarm Will Sound.
Along with performing and composing, Shaw has worked with several prominent artists from the pop world, including Kanye West (The Life of Pablo and Ye), Nas (Nasir), and the National. She teaches at New York University, is a creative associate at the Juilliard School of Music, and held residencies at Dumbarton Oaks and the Banff Centre, among others.