Partita for 8 Voices

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Partita for 8 Voices
by Caroline Shaw
Performed4 November 2013 (2013-11-04): (Le) Poisson Rouge
Published30 October 2012 (2012-10-30)

Partita for 8 Voices is an a cappella composition by American composer Caroline Shaw. It was composed from 2009 through 2012 for the vocal group Roomful of Teeth and was released on their Grammy Award-winning self-titled debut album on 30 October 2012.[1][2][3] The piece was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Music on 15 April 2013, making Shaw the youngest recipient of the award.[4][5][6][7] The work was not premiered in full until 4 November 2013, at (Le) Poisson Rouge in New York City.[8]


Movements Partita for 8 Voices has a duration of roughly 25 minutes and is composed of four movements named for Baroque dances:

  1. Allemande
  2. Sarabande
  3. Courante
  4. Passacaglia


At the premiere of the complete Partita for 8 Voices, Justin Davidson of New York wrote that Shaw had "discovered a lode of the rarest commodity in contemporary music: joy."[9]

In October 2019, several performers of katajjaq, including Canadian Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, accused Caroline Shaw and Roomful of Teeth of having engaged in cultural appropriation and exoticism for the perceived uncredited quotation of a katajjaq song in the third movement of Partita.[10][11][12] In a public statement released by Caroline Shaw and artistic director Brad Wells, Roomful of Teeth acknowledged that they had hired and studied with Inuit singers in 2010 and that techniques learned from those studies had been used in Partita; they further stated that they believed those "patterns to be sufficiently distinct from katajjaq."[13][14]

In media[edit]

The third movement of Partita, "III. Courante", is can be heard throughout the soundtrack of the Netflix show Dark.


  1. ^ Deemer, Rob (19 April 2013). "Caroline". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  2. ^ "A Moment With Pulitzer-Winning Composer Caroline Shaw". Deceptive Cadence. NPR. 20 April 2013. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  3. ^ Huizenga, Tom (27 January 2014). "New Music Shines at Classical Grammy Awards". Deceptive Cadence. NPR. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  4. ^ Tsioulcas, Anastasia (15 April 2013). "Caroline Shaw, 30, Wins Pulitzer For Music". Deceptive Cadence. NPR. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  5. ^ Fetters, Ashley (16 April 2013). "Hear the Weird, Lovely A Cappella Suite That Won the Pulitzer Prize for Music". The Atlantic. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  6. ^ Lowder, J. Bryan (17 April 2013). "The Strange, Beautiful Music That Won the Pulitzer This Year". Slate. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  7. ^ Woolfe, Zachary (17 April 2013). "With Pulitzer, She Became a Composer: Caroline Shaw, Award-Winning Composer". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  8. ^ Tommasini, Anthony (5 November 2013). "The Pulitzer Prize Was Nice and All, but a Work Is Finally Fully Heard: Caroline Shaw's 'Partita' Has Premiere by Roomful of Teeth". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 June 2015.
  9. ^ Davidson, Justin (10 November 2013). "An Avant-Garde That's Easy to Love: Three heartening moments from the new-music scene". New York. Retrieved 7 June 2015.
  10. ^ DeGeorge, Krestia (23 October 2019). "Acclaimed American choir slammed for use of Inuit throat singing". Arctic Today. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  11. ^ News, Nunatsiaq (23 October 2019). "Acclaimed American choir slammed for use of Inuit throat singing". Nunatsiaq News. Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  12. ^ "'Roomful Of Teeth' On Experimenting With The Human Voice, Refocusing Their Mission". Retrieved 7 February 2020.
  13. ^ Wells, Brad; Shaw, Carolin. "Public Statement". Scribd. Retrieved 26 October 2019.
  14. ^ dubuquecello (30 November 2019). "What's mine is mine, what's yours is …". Classical Dark Arts. Retrieved 7 February 2020.