Tyshawn Sorey Wins 2024 Pulitzer Prize for Music

Tyshawn Sorey, Presidential Assistant Professor of Music

Presidential Assistant Professor of Music Tyshawn Sorey, a multi-instrumentalist and composer who has performed around the world, won the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in Music for “Adagio (For Wadada Leo Smith).” The saxophone concerto was commissioned by the Lucerne Festival and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and premiered on March 16, 2023, at Atlanta Symphony Hall. Winners in this Pulitzer category are honored for “distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the year.”
“Adagio (For Wadada Leo Smith)”—which Sorey calls an “anti-concerto”—is dedicated to Smith, a trumpeter with whom Sorey has performed and recorded. As Sorey himself describes the concerto, “it is more about introversion than extroversion … the work unfolds slowly and quietly with beautiful, sustained harmonies and only slightly less sustained melodies introduced via the orchestra or intermittently by the saxophone soloist. This stately but understated work is a welcome respite from the chaos and intrusiveness of modern life.”
In 2023, Sorey’s composition “Monochromatic Light (Afterlife)” was a finalist for the 2023 Pulitzer Prize in Music. That same year, he and Brooke O’Harra, a senior lecturer in creative writing debuted a musical collaboration with percussion ensemble Yarn/Wire titled “Be Holding,” a multimedia adaptation of the book-length poem by Ross Gay about Julius Erving’s momentous sky hook dunk during the 1980 NBA Finals. Sorey was a 2018 United States Artists Fellow and a 2017 MacArthur Fellow. He has released 13 critically acclaimed recordings as a composer and bandleader, and has received support for his creative projects from The Jerome Foundation and The Shifting Foundation, among others.


Arts & Sciences News

Marlyse Baptista Named President’s Distinguished Professor of Linguistics

Baptista directs the Language Contact and Cognition Lab in the Department of Linguistics and is a faculty member in MindCORE.

View Article >
Andrew Zahrt Receives Scialog Funding for Automating Chemical Laboratories

Scialog: Automating Chemical Laboratories aims to accelerate innovation and broaden access within the chemical enterprise through advances in automated instrumentation and artificial intelligence.

View Article >
Chatelain, Mani, Marteleto, and Mattern Named Presidential Penn Compact Professors

The professors are conducting innovative research in Africana Studies, English, Sociology, and Cinema & Media Studies.

View Article >
Simon Richter Named Class of 1965 Term Professor of German

An environmental humanist, Richter’s research focuses on cultural aspects of the climate emergency in Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and the United States.

View Article >
Peter Struck Named Stephen A. Levin Family Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences

Struck, a distinguished classicist, award-winning teacher, and innovative program leader, starts the new appointment on Aug. 1, 2024.

View Article >
Ala Stanford, National Leader in Health Equity, Joins Penn

Stanford is now a Professor of Practice in the School of Arts & Sciences Department of Biology, with additional appointments in the Penn Institute for RNA Innovation and Annenberg School for Communication.

View Article >