Raven Chacon was born in 1977 in Fort Defiance, Arizona, US within the Navajo Nation. He attended the University of New Mexico, where he obtained his BA in Fine Arts in 2001, then received an MFA in music composition from the California Institute of the Arts. He was a student of James Tenney, Morton Subotnick, Michael Pisaro and Wadada Leo Smith.
Chacon’s visual and sonic artwork has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad. His room-sized sound and text installation, Still Life, #3 (2015), was exhibited in the Transformer: Native Art in Light and Sound exhibition at the National Museum of the American Indian, New York. His collective and solo work has been presented at Sydney Biennale, Kennedy Center, the Whitney Biennial, Documenta 14, Adelaide International, Vancouver Art Gallery, ASU Art Museum, Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, the Heard Museum, Chaco Canyon, and Performance Today.
Chacon also performs in the groups KILT with Bob Bellerue, Mesa Ritual with William Fowler Collins, Endlings with John Dieterich, and collaborations with Laura Ortman. In 2016, he was commissioned by Kronos Quartet to compose a work for their Fifty For The Future project.
Chacon serves as Composer-in-Residence with the Native American Composers Apprenticeship Project. In 2012, he was awarded a Creative Capital Visual Arts grant. In 2014, he was honored with a Native Arts and Cultures Foundation National Artist Fellowship in Music. In 2018, Chacon was awarded the Berlin Prize by the American Academy in Berlin.
In 2022, Chacon became the first Native American to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music, which he received for his composition “Voiceless Mass”.