Ellen Reid, composer of “p r i s m”, wins Pulitzer Prize

Have you heard the news? Ellen Reid, composer of “p r i s m” which had its world premiere at LA Opera Off Grand last year, won this year’s Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Photo courtesy of James Matthew Daniel

Photo courtesy of James Matthew Daniel

Established in 1917 by Joseph Pulitzer, the annual award recognizes achievements in newspaper, magazine/online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States.

Set to the libretto written by Roxie Perkins, “p r i s m” had its world premiere in November 2018 at the Roy and Edna Disney/CalArts Theater (or REDCAT) in a production directed by James Darrah and produced by Beth Morrison Projects. Per the Pulitzer committee, “p r i s m” was hailed 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.”

Reid shares her award with the Aretha Franklin, who was recognized posthumously for her achievements in American music.

Anna Schubert as Bibi (center) in the world premiere of Ellen Reid's "p r i s m" (Photo: Larry Ho/LA Opera)

Anna Schubert as Bibi (center) in the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s “p r i s m” (Photo: Larry Ho/LA Opera)

“I am blown away and incredibly honored to receive this year’s Pulitzer Prize in music. Composing “p r i s m” was a challenging, rewarding and deeply personal experience, and I hope this opera will help shed light on the experience of surviving sexual assault. While Roxie and I did not plan for the timeliness of the subject matter, I am so grateful that it has resonated with audiences,” Reid told LA Opera.

She continued: “A massive thank you to the collaborators who are central to this work: Roxie Perkins, Beth Morrison and everyone at BMP, James Darrah, Julian Wachner and the folks at Trinity Church Wall Street, Chris Bordenave  Rebecca Jo Loeb, Anna Schubert, Tatiana Barber, Charbel Rohayem, Gigi Todisco, Christopher Koelsch & LA Opera, Daniela Candillari, PROTOTYPE, Choir of Trinity Wall Street, Garth MacAleavey, Adam Rigg, Molly Irelan, Pablo Santiago, Eclipse Projects, Adam Lesser, Karen & Randy Reid.”

Reid also stated she would celebrate by “listening to some Aretha.”

Christopher Koelsch, LA Opera’s Sebastian Paul and Marybelle Musco President and CEO, also extended his congratulations, saying: “Few things are more gratifying than supporting the emergence of an exciting, exceptional and bold voice in the operatic scene,” said  “We are so proud to have partnered with Beth Morrison for the world premiere of Ellen Reid’s insightful, incisive, wrenching, knowing, erudite ‘p r i s m,’ and thrilled that the piece resonated with the Pulitzer Prize committee. We can’t wait for her return to the LAO family.”

Congratulations, Ellen!

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