For distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year, Ten thousand dollars ($10,000).
Awarded to Caroline Shaw for "Partita for 8 Voices," recording released on October 30, 2012, a highly polished and inventive a cappella work uniquely embracing speech, whispers, sighs, murmurs, wordless melodies and novel vocal effects. (New Amsterdam Records)
Also nominated as finalists in this category were: Aaron Jay Kernis for "Pieces of Winter Sky," premiered on November 15, 2012 at Lincoln Theater, University of Hartford, CT, a luminous work that takes listeners into a mystical realm marked by taut expressive control and extraordinarily subtle changes of tone, texture and nuance (Associated Music Publishers, Inc.); and Wadada Leo Smith for "Ten Freedom Summers," recording released May 22, 2012, an expansive jazz work that memorializes 10 key moments in the history of civil rights in America, fusing composed and improvised passages into powerful, eloquent music.(Cuneiform Records)