The 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Music has been awarded to Los Angeles composer Ellen Reid for her debut opera p r i s m. The work, which has a libretto by Roxie Perkins and premiered in November as part of Los Angeles Opera’s Off Grand series for experimental pieces, explores the lingering effects of sexual trauma. Reid receives $15,000 for her win, which brings the Pulitzer Prize for Music back to the classical world after Kendrick Lamar became the first non-jazz or classical artist to receive the award last year.
The Pulitzer jury described the opera as “a bold new operatic work that uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental timbres to confront difficult subject matter: the effects of sexual and emotional abuse.” This year’s finalists included James Romig for his solo piano composition Stilland Andrew Norman for his orchestral work Sustain.
The Los Angeles Timewrote that p r i s mdemonstrated a “sheer incandescence” at its premiere. “[Reid] evokes a world of its own through a chamber orchestra of strings, shimmering percussion, harp, piano, flute, bass clarinet and horn that becomes a maker of wonder, mystery, suspense, fear...