The artist, composer Diné and graduate of the California Institute of the Arts Raven Chacon (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Music 2004) was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2022 for “Silent Mass”. Diné means “people” in the Navajo language. Chacon is the first Indian to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Music.
Announcing the award, the Pulitzer Prize jury noted: “The Premiere of the Silent Mass, held on November 21, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a fascinating, original work for organ and ensemble that evokes the weight of history in the church environment. concentrated and powerful musical expression with an unpleasant inner impact.
The Pulitzer Prize in Music, awarded on May 9, is one of seven Pulitzer Prizes awarded in the Book, Drama, and Music categories, and is awarded to an outstanding American music composition that was first performed or recorded in the United States. States during the year.
The Silent Mass was written especially for the Nichols & Simpson organ at St. John the Evangelist Cathedral in Milwaukee by order of the Wisconsin Conference of the United Church of Christ, the Plymouth Church UCC and Present Music. However, great ensemble work can be done in any cult place, equipped with an organ and high ceilings.
In the official announcement of the prize, Chacon further discussed the composition:
“This work examines the spaces in which we gather, the history of access to these spaces and the land on which these buildings are located. Although the title mentions “mass”, the play does not contain audible singing voices, instead it uses the openness of a large space to intone the compressed intervals of wind and string instruments. Using the architecture of the cathedral, the “Silent Mass” considers it pointless to give a voice to the silent, if the concession of space is never an option for those in power. “
Chacon joins Pulitzer’s list of famous musicians and composers, most recently CalArtian colleague Ellen Reed (Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Music 2011), who was also awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music in 2019 for her opera work “pris m”.
Other CalArtian winners include John Luther Adams (Music BFA 1973), who won the 2014 Become Ocean Award for his orchestral composition. Mel Powell, dean-founder of the music school, now The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, won in 1990 for
“Duplicates: Concert” and composer Julia Wolfe, winner of the 2015 Herb Alpert Prize in Arts in the field of music, received the Pulitzer Prize the same year for his oratorio “Anthracite Fields.”