Skip to content

‘Become Ocean’ Honored with Pulitzer for Music

2014 September 29
by Shared by Steve Rust

Alaskan composer John Luther Adams has won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in music for his symphonic masterpiece Become Ocean. The committee that awarded the music prize describe the work as “a haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.” To listen to excerpts of the symphony and an interview with Adams, check out this interview with National Public Radio reporter Tom Huizenga.

Adams is perhaps best know for Inuksuit, a piece he composed specifically to be played by percussionists in outdoor settings. According to the information accompanying the YouTube promotional video for the piece, the New York Times has described Inkusuit as “the ultimate environmental piece.”

For someone like me, who is used to analyzing somewhat more direct visual representations of ecological issues in film and television texts, it is very encouraging to be able to turn to the work of ecomusicologists. For those interested in pursuing work this field, which “considers musical and sonic issues, both textual and performative, related to ecology and the natural environment” (according to the Grove Dictionary of American Music), be sure to check out the wide range of information, calls for papers, and resources available at, an excellent website moderated by Aaron S. Allen.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS