Artist: Caroline Shaw

Caroline Adelaide Shaw is a New York-based musician appearing in many different guises. Trained primarily as a violinist from an early age in North Carolina, she is a Grammy-winning singer in Roomful of Teeth and in 2013 became the youngest ever winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music, for her enigmatic composition Partita for 8 Voices (also nominated for a Grammy for Best Classical Composition). She will make her solo violin debut in 2015 with the Cincinnati Symphony (MusicNOW). She is the inaugural musician in residence at Dumbarton Oaks in the fall of 2014, and she will be the Composer in Residence for two years (through 2016) with Vancouver’s Music on Main. Caroline has also performed with ACME (American Contemporary Music Ensemble), the Trinity Wall Street Choir, Alarm Will Sound, the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble, the Knights, Victoire, the Yehudim, and many others. (And she has appeared incognito as a backup singer or violinist, on Saturday Night Live with Paul McCartney, on Letterman with The National, on The Tonight Show with the Roots.)

Caroline was virtually unknown as a composer before the Pulitzer announcement in 2013, having written only a handful of pieces. While committed to maintaining a busy freelance career as a violinist and singer, performing primarily contemporary classical music, she has taken commissions to create new work for the Carmel Bach Festival, the Cincinnati Symphony, the Guggenheim Museum (FLUX Quartet), The Crossing, and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. Other personal projects include the development of an evening-length theater work, Ritornello, and a slowly-evolving ambient electronic album.

Caroline studied for fifteen years with Suzuki violin pedagogue Joanne Bath before working with Kathleen Winkler at Rice (B.M. violin) and Syoko Aki (M.M. violin) at Yale, and she is currently a doctoral candidate in composition at Princeton. She has been a Rice Goliard Fellow (busking and fiddling in Sweden) and a Yale Baroque Ensemble fellow, and she was a recipient of the infamous Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, to study historical formal gardens and live out of a backpack for a year. As a teenager many years ago, she spent a life-changing summer playing chamber music at Kinhaven Music School in Vermont, which is probably why she would prefer to perform barefoot whenever possible. Caroline loves the color yellow, avocados, otters, salted chocolate, kayaking, Beethoven opus 74, Mozart opera, the smell of rosemary, and the sound of a janky mandolin.

Caroline Shaw by Bjorn Iooss
Greenville, North Carolina

New York City, New York

Partita for 8 VoicesGordon, Lang & Wolfe: ShelterRoomful of Teeth


American Contemporary Music Ensemble (ACME)

Roomful of Teeth

Trinity Wall Street Choir

Alarm Will Sound

Wordless Music Orchestra

Ensemble Signal


The Yehudim


Opera Cabal

the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble

Hotel Elefant

the Oracle Hysterical

Red Light New Music

Robert Mealy's Yale Baroque Ensemble


Pulitzer Prize for Music


Princeton University

2010 – Present | PhD Program in Composition

Yale University

2007 | Masters Violin Performance

Rice University

2004 | Bachelor of Music Violin Performance



Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw 0

I first met Caroline Shaw playing in a string quartet in graduate school, working through Mendelssohn’s tumultuous String Quartet No. 4 in E minor. It was a greatly cathartic experience for us, as twenty-somethings, to emote in Mendelssohn’s wailings for an hour together each day.



An Interview with Caroline Shaw

Caroline Shaw Interview 2

Caroline Shaw was virtually unknown as a composer before she won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for Partita for 8 Voices. Some knew her as a vocalist with the Grammy award-winning Roomful of Teeth, for whom she wrote Partita, others knew her as a violinist, performing with everyone from The Roots on The Tonight Show to the Mark Morris Dance Group Ensemble.