OAK RIDGE, Tennessee — The composer of an opera described by the Pulitzer Prize Board as "a bold new operatic work" has won the 2019 Pulitzer Prize in Music. And she happens to have grown up in East Tennessee.
36-year-old Ellen Reid, of Oak Ridge, won the award for her debut opera, "p r i s m," which has received nationwide praise, a news release from the City of Oak Ridge said.
The Pulitzer Prize Board said the opera "uses sophisticated vocal writing and striking instrumental timbres to confront difficult subject matter: the effects of sexual and emotional abuse.”
Reid, a 2001 graduate of Oak Ridge High School, was very excited to receive the award.
“I am blown away and incredibly honored to receive this year’s Pulitzer Prize in music,” Reid said on her Facebook page. “Composing p r i s m was a challenging, rewarding and deeply personal experience, and I hope this opera will help shed light on the experience of surviving sexual assault.”
Reid went to Columbia University, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and then went on to get her masters at the California Institute of Arts, the release said.
“I never dreamt that writing music could be a viable career path, but I started composing my sophomore year of college and haven’t stopped since,” Reid stated in the biography on her website. “As a kid, I casually sang in choir, played piano and percussion.”
According to the City of Oak Ridge's release, Reid has been an Artist in Residence at National Sawdust, University of California Irvine, University of Tennessee Knoxville, and Opera Omaha.
She'll start a three-year appointment as Creative Advisor and Composer-in-Residence for the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra in the fall.