Music News & Reviews

Pulitzer for music goes to Ellen Reid for her opera ‘prism’

Ellen Reid, the Los Angeles composer whose debut opera centered on a young woman's agonizing struggle with the psychological effects of sexual assault, has won the Pulitzer Prize for music.

Reid's opera, "prism," premiered in November as part of Los Angeles Opera's Off Grand series for experimental works. Times critic Mark Swed hailed the piece as brilliant, writing that Reid, who was 35 at the time, is "a maker of wonder, mystery, suspense, fear and glory. Notes slide into one another as if guided by a secret force. Melodies are endless and inventively transformed, the atmospheric pressure ever changing."

Reid, who splits her time between L.A. and New York, has seen her star rise quickly.

The premiere of "prism" made her the first composer to be commissioned by Los Angeles' four major classical music institutions: the Los Angeles Philharmonic, L.A. Master Chorale, Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra and L.A. Opera.