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2014 Pullitzer Prize Winner – Become Ocean

via johnlutheradams.com

via johnlutheradams.com

Congratulations to Alaskan composer John Luther Adams on winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music for his composition Become Ocean for orchestra.


I haven’t gotten to dive into the piece completely yet, but I look forward to the “immersive experience” that Adams describes in his interview with The Seattle Times. Wanting to “evoke light and color” Adams premiered the piece with The Seattle Symphony lit in changing shades of different colors – “the strings in blues, the woodwinds in reds, the brass in yellows.” This brings to mind another major music award given in music where the visual element plays an important role in the experience of the concert goer. You can listen to a stream of the Carnegie performance live, sans the light show, on May 6 at WQXR. I look forward to ‘experiencing’ the piece in its entirety as I’m already impressed by the intentionality of this short documentary covering the premiere. 

John Luther Adams is known as an environmental composer for both the subject matter of his works as well as the sonic environment he creates in his compositions. For another environmental piece written by John Luther Adams check out Inuksuit at the adventurous music-programer Bang On A Can, co-founded by this year’s Pulitzer juror Julia Wolfe. You can also find a recording of fellow juror and last year’s Pulitzer winner Caroline Shaw  there.

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