Caroline Shaw | Photo by Dashon Burton/Caroline Shaw

About Open Ears: So many people who made invaluable contributions to classical music have been nearly lost to history or are underappreciated in their time. That’s why KUSC is starting Open Ears, a series of stories about composers, musicians, and conductors who deserve more recognition. You can learn more and explore other articles here.

I first encountered Caroline Shaw at a PBO Sessions event in San Francisco which showcased contemporary women composers. I had a tough time getting her musical contribution to the evening out of my head. And that’s a good thing!

Caroline Shaw is a New York City-based violinist, singer, and composer. She was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2013 for her a cappella piece Partita for 8 Voices which she composed for her vocal group, Roomful of Teeth.

The Grammy-winning vocal project describes itself as being dedicated to re-imagining the expressive potential of the human voice. A native of North Carolina, Shaw began playing the violin at the age of 2, which must have given her parents pause!