Composer Shulamit Ran became a major presence on the American new music scene as her music found performances from many orchestras and chamber groups.
She is also a noted educator and was just the second woman to win the Pulitzer Prize in composition.
Ran was born October 21, 1949, in Tel Aviv, Israel. She listened with fascination to Jewish cantorial music her father played on the radio, and by the time she was seven, she was writing her own settings of Hebrew-language poetry. Ran studied composition in Israel with Paul Ben-Haim and Alexander Boskovich, and when she was 14, she traveled to the U.S. to enroll on scholarship at the Mannes College of Music in New York. Although she continues to perform in Israel as a pianist, she has lived for the rest of her life in the U.S. Ran studied composition with Norman Dello Joio and Ralph Shapey, and was also influenced by Elliott Carter. She studied piano with Nadia Reisenberg and Dorothy Taubman; a talented pianist, she has often performed her works. Ran's orchestral work Legends was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra to mark the dual centenaries of the orchestra and the University of Chicago in 1992. She has seen her work performed by such major orchestras as the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Israel Philharmonic. In the field of chamber music, the largest single sector of her output, her interpreters have included the Lark Quartet, the Peabody Trio, and the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players.
Some 30 of Ran's works have been recorded, including her Grand Rounds on the Grossman Ensemble's debut release, Fountain of Time, in 2020. Ran is also a noted educator, joining the composition faculty at the University of Chicago in 1973 and remaining there until her retirement in 2015. Among her composition students were Melinda Wagner, Suzanne Sorkin, and Jorge Liderman. Ran won the Pulitzer Prize for music in 1991 for her Symphony (1990); she was the second woman to win the prize, after Ellen Taaffe Zwilich in 1983.