Composer and School of Music alumnus Andrew Norman ’09AD was named a finalist for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his orchestral work Sustain. The Pulitzer judges described the piece as "an absorbing orchestral work rich with mesmerizing textures and color, including washes of clustered string sounds and cascading winds, creating a virtual sound installation in which perceptions of time are suspended." Sustain was commissioned by the Los Angeles Philharmonic for the opening of the orchestra's centennial season and received its premiere on October 4, 2018, under the baton of Music and Artistic Director Gustavo Dudamel.
The Los Angeles Times' Mark Swed described Sustain as "a near out-of-body acoustic experience that sounds like, and feels like, the future we want, sans dystopia." Sustain, Swed wrote, "has done the most to redefine the modern-day orchestral experience. Its ... composer has already easily become the leading L.A. (and arguably leading American) composer of his generation." The New Yorker's Alex Ross wrote, in November 2018, "Norman has always been a deft orchestrator, but in Sustain he reveals himself as a magician of the art."