Du Yun Awarded 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Music

Angel’s Bone by Du Yun has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

Written By

Frank J. Oteri

Frank J. Oteri is an ASCAP-award winning composer and music journalist. Among his compositions are Already Yesterday or Still Tomorrow for orchestra, the "performance oratorio" MACHUNAS, the 1/4-tone sax quartet Fair and Balanced?, and the 1/6-tone rock band suite Imagined Overtures. His compositions are represented by Black Tea Music. Oteri is the Vice President of the International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) and is Composer Advocate at New Music USA where he has been the Editor of its web magazine,, since its founding in 1999.

Angel’s Bone by Du Yun has been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music. The annually awarded $10,000 prize is for a distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the previous year. Angel’s Bone, which features a libretto by Royce Vavrek, received its premiere on January 6, 2016, at the Prototype Festival, 3LD Arts and Technology Center, New York City. The Pulitzer jury described it as “a bold operatic work that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world.”

Here is Abigail Fischer singing Mrs. X.E.’s Mirror Scene from the opera:

Here is what Du Yun posted on Facebook upon learning she had received the award:

In 2014, NewMusicBox did a Spotlight of Du Yun in which she talked about Angel’s Bone and her other compositions.

Also nominated as finalists for the 2017 music prize were: Bound to the Bow by Ashley Fure which premiered on June 5, 2016 in David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center in New York City; and Ipsa Dixit by Kate Soper which premiered on December 9, 2016 at The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. For the first time in the history of the prizes, all three music finalists were women and all three were under 40 years old.

The jury for the 2017 Pulitzer Prize was: Carol Oja (Chair), William Powell Mason Professor of Music, Harvard University; Jennifer Higdon, composer and recipient of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Music; Evan Ziporyn, composer, clarinetist, and Director, Center for Art, Science & Technology and Kenan Sabin Distinguished Professor of Music, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; John V. Brown, Director of the Jazz Program and Associate Professor of the Practice of Music, Duke University; and Alex Ross, author and Music Critic for The New Yorker.