Composer Andrew Norman ’09AD is named a 2019 Pulitzer Prize finalist

Andrew Norman

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.”

Read about other Yale-affiliated 2019 Pulitzer Prize awardees.


Published April 18, 2019
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Two Yalies win Pulitzer Prize; finalists include professor, alumni


Yale professors and alumni were among the individuals honored by the 2018 Pulitzer Prize committee for their works. School of Music alumni Michael Gilbertson ’13MM ’21DMA and Ted Hearne ’08MM ’09MMA ’14DMA were named co-finalists for the music category.

Michael Gilbertson

Michael Gilbertson

Gilbertson ’13MM is a 2021 DMA candidate at the music school. “Quartet” premiered February 2, 2017 at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York City. The Pulitzer judges described the work as “a masterwork in a traditional format, the string quartet, that is unconstrained by convention or musical vogues and possesses a rare capacity to stir the heart.”

Ted Hearne

Ted Hearne

The recording of Hearne’s “Sound from the Bench” was released on March 24, 2017 by The Crossing. The Pulitzer judges describe it as “a five-movement cantata for chamber choir, electric guitar and percussion that raises oblique questions about the crosscurrents of power through excerpts from sources as diverse as Supreme Court rulings and ventriloquism textbooks.”

Read on to learn more about other Yale professors and alumni who were honored by the 2018 Pulitzer Prize committee.


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Published April 19, 2018
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Julia Wolfe ’86 MM wins Pulitzer Prize in Music

Julia Wolfe | Photo by Peter Serling


Julia Wolfe ’86 MM has won the Pulitzer Prize for music for her piece Anthracite Fields. The Pulitzer jury described the piece as “a powerful oratorio for chorus and sextet evoking Pennsylvania coal-mining life around the turn of the twentieth century.” The piece was commissioned by the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia through Meet the Composer’s Commissioning Music/USA program.

The Mendelssohn Club and the Bang on a Can All-Stars premiered the work in Philadelphia 2014. The piece was later included in the New York Philharmonic’s inaugural NY Phil Biennial festival.

Wolfe, a co-founder of Bang on a Can, is the second composer from the group to win a Pulitzer. David Lang ’83 MMA, ’89 DMA, another co-founder, won in 2008 for The Little Match Girl Passion. Wolfe’s piece Steel Hammer was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2010. MORE

Published April 21, 2015
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Christopher Cerrone ’10MMA named finalist for Pulitzer Prize

cerroneComposition graduate Christopher Cerrone ’10MMA was recently named as a finalist for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in music. John Luther Adams won the prize for his composition Become Ocean; the other finalist was John Adams, for The Gospel According to the Other Mary. 

Cerrone was recognized as a finalist for his opera Invisible Cities. The citation read, “A captivating opera based on a novel by Italo Calvino in which Marco Polo regales Kublai Khan with tales of fantastical cities, adapted into an imaginary sonic landscape.” MORE

Published April 21, 2014
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Alumna Caroline Shaw wins 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music

Caroline Shaw '07MM

Caroline Shaw ’07MM

Caroline Shaw ’07 MM has been named the winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize in Music. She  receives the prestigious award for her “Partita for 8 Voices,” written for the vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth and released on New Amsterdam Records.

The award citation calls “Partita for 8 Voices” a “highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects.”

The Pulitzer Prize in Music is for a “distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year.” MORE

Published April 15, 2013
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Kevin Puts ’96MM wins 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music

Yale School of Music graduate Kevin Puts ’96MM is the winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music for his opera Silent Night, it was announced today.

The Pulitzer Prize in Music is awarded to a “distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year.” This year’s citation read:

Awarded to Kevin Puts for Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts, commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis on November 12, 2011, a stirring opera that recounts the true story of a spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French and Germans during World War I, displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart.

The opera’s libretto is by Mark Campbell and is based on the 2005 film Joyeux Noël, directed by Christian Carion and produced by Nord-Ouest Production. MORE

Published April 16, 2012
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New Music New Haven features Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Yehudi Wyner April 14

The Yale School of Music presents a New Music New Haven concert on Thursday, April 14, 2011 at 8 pm in Morse Recital Hall in Sprague Hall (470 College Street, New Haven). The concert will feature composer Yehudi Wyner, a graduate of Yale (’50BA, ’51BM, ’53MM) and a former professor at the Yale School of Music. On This Most Voluptuous Night, the piece featured on this concert, is scored for soprano, flute, horn, string quartet, and piano, and was written in 1982 for the composer’s wife.

Wyner’s music, writes the Boston Globe, “revels in the sheer physicality of performance and the rush of communicating with a live audience.” It is “vital and capacious, often finding fresh ways of wedding extremely visceral expression with a refined sense of craft.”

This concert will also present five pieces for unconventional chamber ensembles by up-and-coming composers: Justin Tierney’s Zephyrus for clarinet, viola, and harp; Andy Akiho’s LigNEouS for string quartet and marimba; Jordan Kuspa’s Hit the Spot for steel pan and string quartet; Hannah Lash’s Folksongs for piccolo, harp, and percussion; and Adrian Knight’s The Caligari Project for clarinet, viola, cello, accordion, piano, and percussion. Caligari Project was commissioned by the Red Light Ensemble for the film The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari.

The New Music New Haven concert series is directed by Christopher Theofanidis. This performance is free and open to the public. For more information, visit or contact the Yale School of Music concert office at 203 432-4158. MORE

Published March 21, 2011
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Recording of David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion nominated for Grammy


David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion has already earned him a Pulitzer Prize in Music. Now a recording of the piece on Harmonia Mundi has been nominated for a 2010 Grammy Award. Nominated in the category of Best Small Ensemble Performance, the recording features Ars Nova Copenhagen and the Theatre of Voices, conducted by Paul Hillier. The CD was released in July of 2009. David Lang, a graduate of the School of Music, became a member of the composition faculty in 2008.

Co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall especially for Paul Hillier and Theatre of Voices, The Little Match Girl Passion was awarded the 2008 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work sets Hans Christian Andersen’s fable in the format of Bach’s St. Matthew Passion. According to publicity materials for the recording, Lang elevates the suffering of the little match girl with poignant, evocative music. MORE

Published December 15, 2009
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