Caroline Shaw hoped only to introduce her work to industry elites when she submitted for a Pulitzer one of the few compositions she had written. Instead, in 2013, at age 30, she became the youngest winner of the award for music, ever.
"I thought the $50 entrance fee was cheaper than taking people out for drinks," quipped Ms. Shaw, who learned the violin from her mother as a child in North Carolina and later branched out into singing and composing.
She won a Grammy in the best small ensemble category in 2014 as part of the singing group Roomful of Teeth, which recorded her Pulitzer-winning a cappella work, Partita for 8 Voices. The honors led to more prestigious gigs for one of the city's most sought-after talents, whose credits include performing with the Trinity Wall Street Choir and Paul McCartney.
In March, Ms. Shaw, who has a master's in music from Yale and is currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Princeton, performed a violin concerto with the Cincinnati Symphony and rock band the National. The performance, a first for both the symphony and the band, innovatively combined classical music with indie elements and met with rave reviews.
"Shaw is a fascinating composer," wrote one reviewer in the Cincinnati Enquirer, which called her concerto the "highlight of the first half" of the program. "She is clearly an artist with a distinctive voice of her own."