Vancouver Composer-in-Residence and Kanye West collaborator gets props from the Times

Caroline Shaw.

Caroline Shaw.

“25 Songs That Tell Us Where Music is Going,” blares the cover of this past Sunday’s New York Times Magazine against a neon orange-to-pink background.

One of those “songs” – #19, “Partita for Eight Voices” – was written by Caroline Shaw, the current Composer-in-Residence with Vancouver’s premiere presenter of neo-classical music, Music on Main, and composer who collaborated with Kanye West on the pop star’s recent album The Life of Pablo.

A few years ago, at the age of 30, Shaw became the youngest-ever winner of a Pulitzer Prize in music for “Partita for 8 Voices,” which she composed for the vocal group A Roomful of Teeth. The piece also earned a nomination for a Grammy for Best Classical Composition.

Trained primarily as a violinist from an early age in North Carolina, Caroline is also a singer in the group Roomful of Teeth. According to the NYT piece, it was a performance by that group that led to Shaw’s collaborations with Kanye West. After seeing Roomful of Teeth perform “Partita for Eight Voices” in Los Angeles, he went backstage to meet the group.

According to the magazine, “West asked Shaw to produce a new version of his song ‘Say You Will,’ a track from his 2008 album 808s & Heartbreak… West released the remix on SoundCloud and added Shaw to the legion of collaborators on his new project, The Life of Pablo, bringing her to Los Angeles for three weeks of studio work. She ended up co-writing, co-producing or contributing vocals to several songs.”

Shaw, who is now in her second year as the Composer-In-Residence with the Vancouver neo-classical society, has been called “one of today’s essential artistic voices.” Throughout her residency with Music on Main, Shaw has been visiting Vancouver to work with local musicians and perform. Her next Vancouver appearance is on May 10 at the Fox Cabaret (2321 Main St.) and also features local dancer/choreographer Vanessa Goodman and The Emily Carr String Quartet.

Vanessa Goodman.

Vanessa Goodman.

The concert starts at 8 p.m. and is general admission. Visit musiconmain.ca for tickets.

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About the Author: Donald Murphy