‘Become Ocean’ by John Luther Adams wins Pulitzer Prize for music


John Luther Adams won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for music for his composition “Become Ocean,” an orchestral work that premiered last year with the Seattle Symphony, which commissioned the piece.

“Become Ocean” is a sonic work that is intended to evoke the landscapes and waters of the Pacific Northwest. The piece will be performed at Carnegie Hall in New York next month with the Seattle Symphony, conducted by Ludovic Morlot.

Adams, who is a resident of Alaska, studied at CalArts in the ‘70s and has had his music performed around the world. In 2012, the Ojai Music Festival presented his piece “Inuksuit.”


An ardent environmentalist, the composer has devoted himself to various conservation causes in Alaska and elsewhere, and has made nature a recurring motif in his music.

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The two finalists in the music category both had their debuts in Los Angeles. “The Gospel According to the Other Mary,” an oratorio by John Adams and Peter Sellars, was performed by the L.A. Philharmonic at Walt Disney Concert Hall in 2012 and again in a slightly different stage version last year. (John Adams and John Luther Adams aren’t related.)

Invisible Cities,” by Christopher Cerrone, was produced by the groups the Industry and L.A. Dance Project as a site-specific performance at Union Station in downtown L.A.

Last year’s winner in the category was the a cappella work “Partita for 8 Voices” by Caroline Shaw.


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