On Wednesday, May 24, 2023 the Harvard Kenneth C. Griffin Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS) presented the Centennial Medal to six distinguished alumni, culminating a year of celebration of the School’s 150th anniversary; Civitella Board Director Du Yun (CRF 2015) was among those honored. The Centennial Medal honors those who have made fundamental and lasting contributions to knowledge, their disciplines, their colleagues, and society. It is the highest honor that the Harvard Griffin GSAS bestows.
The Harvard Music Department announced Du Yun, Ph.D ’06 as a recipient of the 2023 Centennial Medal. Watch a recording of the award ceremony on the School’s YouTube Channel.
Du Yun, Ph.D ’06, Music (Composition)
Both composer and performer, musician and visual artist, Du Yun is as fluent in the vocabulary of opera and orchestral music as she is in that of theater, cabaret, oral tradition, electronics, and noise—and she brings it all to bear in visceral, collaborative, irrepressible work that has garnered the very highest global acclaim. A professor of composition at the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University and a distinguished visiting professor at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music, she became the first Asian woman to receive the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2017 for her opera Angel’s Bone. She is the youngest person in Harvard’s history to receive a Centennial Medal.
“Du Yun’s new work is some of the most widely performed in her generation of composers,” says Claire Chase, professor of the practice in the Department of Music. “She refuses to fit into any niche, and she playfully but purposely foils categorization of any kind. As a composer, performance artist, curator, educator, beloved collaborator, and fiercely dedicated advocate for her fellow musicians, Du Yun is one of the defining artists of our time.”