Bridging the g a p.

Violinist, vocalist and composer Caroline Shaw has made quite a name for herself in the classical music world as well as in pop music. Her music has been in the spotlight since she won the Pulitzer Prize for her Partita for Eight Voices in 2013. Her achievement drew much attention from prominent musicians and music critics, as she was the youngest ever Pulitzer Prize winner in the music category. She has been called a “modern Mozart” for her skills as a vocalist and violinist, as well as her style of composition, which has a connection to the old classical tradition. In another sense, she is being called “the future of music.” Her early fame has caught the attention of artists in the popular genre. One of these artists, Kanye West, has become a collaborator with Shaw, combining the elements of her music with his to create a completely new sound.

After her Pulitzer was awarded to her, West reached out to her to create a remix of his 2008 song Say You Will, from the album 808s and Heartbreaks. During the Democratic National Committee Fundraiser, Kanye West was scheduled to perform. Shaw appeared on the stage before him, as a sort of surprise for the audience. After she began performing, West then joined her on stage. This was the first public performance of the two together. The composer states that she was excited to work with West because of his artistic approach to music making and his unpredictability. She stated that he likes to try different ideas together and keeps tweaking them until he creates something new and unique.

This first collaboration led to many more. They have now been working together for multiple years, collaborating on both older tracks and creating remixes to create new tracks. Shaw’s arrangements have also been used in live performances. Her vocal writing style is prominent in their collaborations and adds drama to some of his live performances. This has also allowed his audience to be exposed to a new type of classical style, one that is not as traditional but is still smart, creative, and innovative. Her style adds new sounds and textures and helps create a whole new atmosphere for pop artists.

Through these collaborations, Caroline Shaw is bridging a gap between those who enjoy pop music and those who enjoy classical music. Through my own personal experience, I have noticed that once I find something online that interests me, it usually guides me to further research in the topic, or it is recommended to me by other websites based on my interests. Because of these recommendations, Shaw’s music has the ability to expose those who enjoy pop music to the classical world. Her new classical style could be the gate to combining the two genres together.

-Michelle Shaheen

Works cited:
Allen, David. “A Composer Who Finds the Soft Sighs in Haydn.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Dec 08, 2015, (accessed April 29, 2019).

Anderson, Stacey. “Is Caroline Shaw Really the Future of Music?” The Guardian. June 09, 2016. (accessed April 30, 2019).

Articulate. “Caroline Shaw: Of Carnegie and Kanye.” Articulate. April 10, 2018. (accessed April 29, 2019).

Martin, Katherine. “DePauw’s School of Music: Interview with Caroline Shaw.” Youtube, September 29, 2014. (accessed April 29, 2019).

Tommasini, Anthony. “The Pulitzer Prize was Nice and all, but a Work is Finally Fully Heard.” New York Times (1923-Current File), Nov 06, 2013, (accessed April 30, 2019).

Tsioulcas, Anastasia. “Caroline Shaw, 30, Wins Pulitzer For Music.” NPR. April 15, 2013. (accessed April 30, 2019).

One thought on “Bridging the g a p.

Add yours

  1. Hi Michelle,
    I really enjoyed reading your blog on Caroline Shaw. She has been one of my favorite composers for a a long time. I really love all her music for the reason you stated in your blog. Her integration of pop and classical music culture is something else. The way she also integrates these music styles is so modest and has this delicate touch to it. It doesn’t seem forced and fits her personalty. I was shocked to hear Shaw had worked with Kanye West. Having a collaboration with such a popular rapper probably attracted more people to her music. These are great ways to spread awareness to classical music and what all it has to offer. Yes we like to play music by, Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, but we also have this other side that appreciates pop culture. Thank you!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

Create your website with
Get started
<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: