Tag: awards

Going Beyond the Headlines from the 65th Annual Grammy Awards

Lots of Grammy Awards

The big headlines from the 65th Annual Grammy Awards, which were announced yesterday in Los Angeles, are mostly either about Beyoncé now being the recipient of the greatest number of awards in Grammy history (a total of 32) or the surprise win of Harry Styles (beating out Beyoncé) for “Album of the Year.” But there are many other significant wins from last night, many of which, frustratingly, were given before the televised portion of the ceremony began.

Over at New Music USA, we are particularly happy that composer/percussionist/bandleader Terri Lyne Carrington, the artistic director of our Next Jazz Legacy program, received the award for “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” for New Standards Vol. 1 on which she is joined by pianist Kris Davis, bassist Linda May Han Oh, trumpeter Nicholas Payton, and guitarist Matthew Stevens in interpretations of 11 compositions from Carrington’s pioneering collection of 101 lead sheets by women composers published by Berklee Press last year. (Click here to listen to and or read a 2021 conversation with Carrington recorded for NewMusicBox’s SoundLives podcast.) Interestingly, Carrington was competing against herself for the “Best Jazz Instrumental Album” award since she also appears on a nominated live quartet set from the Detroit Jazz Festival alongside Wayne Shorter, Esperanza Spalding, and Leo Genovese. The other nominees in that category were albums by the Peter Erskine Trio, The Joshua Redman Quartet, and the Yellowjackets. Spalding, who famously received the 2011 Grammy Award for Best New Artist, beating out Justin Bieber, seems to have set a very welcome trend: another jazz artist, vocalist Samara Joy, won the 2023 Best New Artist award.

We were also thrilled to see that the New York Youth Symphony’s recording of works by Florence Price, Jessie Montgomery, and Valerie Coleman (the latter two of whom are part of New Music USA’s Amplifying Voices program) received the award for “Best Orchestral Performance.” It seems that the days when all the classical awards went to the umpteeth recording of music by a long-dead European composer from the past are finally over. As a result, thankfully these awards are now as relevant to the present moment as the awards in all the pop music genres generally are. To wit, the winner for “Best Opera Recording” was for the Metropolitan Opera’s extraordinary performance of Terence Blanchard’s Fire Shut Up In My Bones, the first opera by a Black composer ever staged at the Met. (What’s perhaps even more amazing is that both of the other nominees in this category were also contemporary American operas: Matthew Aucoin‘s Eurydice and Anthony Davis‘s X.) The Attacca Quartet received “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” for their performances of three hefty instrumental works by Caroline Shaw as well as a few of Shaw’s songs for which she joined them as vocalist. The winner of “Best Choral Performance” went to the Philadelphia-based chorus The Crossing, under the direction of Donald Nally, for Born, a disc featuring a 13-movement choral cycle by Edie Hill and two somewhat shorter works by Michael Gilbertson. “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” was awarded to the polystylistic string trio Time for Three for their album Letters For the Future containing two concertos written expressly for them by Jennifer Higdon and Kevin Puts which they performed with the Philadelphia Orchestra under the direction of Xian Zhang. “Best Classical Compendium” was awarded to An Adoption Story, a collection of pieces by Oklahoma-based composer Kitt Wakeley. Admittedly, the recipient of the award for “Best Classical Solo Vocal Album,” an album of art songs performed by soprano Renée Fleming and pianist Yannick Nézet-Séguin called Voice of Nature: The Anthropocene, is primarily devoted to mélodies by Gabriel Fauré and Reynaldo Hahn. But it also contains some more recent fare by, again, Caroline Shaw and Kevin Puts, as well as Nico Muhly.

An award that is always of great significance to the composer community is the award for “Best Contemporary Classical Composition.” And this year, as per usual, the stakes were high. The nominees were Andy Akiho (for his Ligneous Suite for marimba and string quartet), Derek Bermel (for his string quartet Intonations), New Music USA Program Council member Carlos Simon (for his 45-minute hip-hop oratorio Requiem for the Enslaved), 91-year-old Russian émigré Sofia Gubaidulina (the one non-American, for her orchestral work The Wrath Of God), and Kevin Puts, who was the winner, for the triple concerto Contact recorded by Time for Three on their aforementioned “Best Classical Instrumental Solo”-winning album. This has been an extraordinary year for Puts whose most recent opera The Hours received its world premiere at the Metropolitan Opera earlier this season. (Puts is the guest on our next episode of SoundLives, which is currently in production, and in our conversation he talked about how during the pandemic he was working on Contact and The Hours at the same time even though his usual method in the past was to focus on one piece at a time.)

There are actually two composition awards among the categories. There’s additionally an award called “Best Instrumental Composition” for which apparently so-called contemporary classical composers are not eligible (and vice versa). Considering the multiple genres that informed this year’s “classical” nominees as well as the “non-classical” ones, siloing the composition award seems anachronistic. Still, it is great that two composers were honored in this year’s proceedings and it would not benefit anyone to reduce awards for composers down to only one. The honor for “Best Instrumental Composition” went to jazz pianist Geoffrey Keezer for the somewhat “classical”-influenced Refuge, from his album Playdate, which combines his septet with a 17-member string orchestra plus harp and French horn.  The other composers nominated in this category, though also nominally categorized as jazz artists, mix a great variety of styles in their work as well: Paquito D’Rivera (for African Tales), New Music USA Advisory Council member Miguel Zenón (for El País Invisible), Danilo Pérez (for “Al-Musafir Blues” from his Fronteras (Borders) Suite), and Pascal Le Boeuf (for Snapshots).

The 2022 revival cast album of the late Stephen Sondheim’s 1987 musical Into The Woods received the nod for Best Musical Theater Album. (The original cast album of the show picked up the award back in 1989.) But what is perhaps of greater historic significance is that Germaine Franco, who was the first woman to score a Disney animated feature film in 2021 with Encanto, received “Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media” for her efforts.

All in all a total of 91 awards were given last night, far too many to enumerate here, so apologies that this essay written in haste inevitably missed some important ones. You can explore the complete list of nominees and winners here.

Raven Chacon Wins 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Music

Raven Chacon and a segment of one of his musical scores.

Raven Chacon has been awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Voiceless Mass. The annually awarded $15,000 prize is for a distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the previous year. The work, which premiered on November 21, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was commissioned by WI Conference of the United Church of Christ, Plymouth Church UCC, and Present Music and composed specifically for the Nichols & Simpson organ at The Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee. The Pulitzer citation describes it as a “mesmerizing, original work for organ and ensemble that evokes the weight of history in a church setting, a concentrated and powerful musical expression with a haunting visceral impact.”

“I’m absolutely honored that this work was awarded,” said Chacon (b. 1977), a Diné artist born in Fort Defiance, Navajo Nation, Arizona, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He is the first Native American composer ever to receive the prize. Chacon also serves as a member of New Music USA’s Program Council. “Thank you to Present Music of Milwaukee for commissioning Voiceless Mass, and making a live performance and recording possible when the relentless obstacles of the pandemic were preventing collaborations across all communities. The composition was a site-specific commission for Present Music’s annual Thanksgiving concert. As an Indigenous artist, I make a point not to present my work on this holiday, but in this case I made an exception.”

Also nominated as finalists for the 2022 music prize were: Seven Pillars, an 11-movement evening-length work for percussion quartet by Andy Akiho created for Sandbox Percussion which received its premiere at Emerald City Music in Seattle, Washington, and with eyes the color of time, a 32-minute work for string orchestra by Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti, which was commissioned by the String Orchestra of Brooklyn which premiered on August 6, 2021 at the Tenri Cultural Institute in New York, N.Y. (You can watch and read a NewMusicBox conversation with Akiho here and read a series of NewMusicBox articles written by Lanzilotti here.)

The jury for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Music was: Alex Ross (chair), Patrice Rushen, and previous Pulitzer Prize winners John Luther Adams, Du Yun, and Tania León.

The announcement of this year’s Pulitzer Prizes was made online by Pulitzer Administrator Marjorie Miller via a stream posted on the Pulitzer website which can also be streamed on YouTube.

2021 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards Announced

The ASCAP Foundation has announced the 21 recipients and 17 honorable mentions of the 2021 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, which encourage talented young creators of concert music ranging in age from 13 to 30.

Established as The ASCAP Foundation Young Composer Awards in 1979 with funding from The ASCAP Foundation Jack and Amy Norworth Fund, the program grants cash prizes to concert music composers up to 30 years of age whose works are selected through a juried national competition. These composers may be American citizens, permanent residents or students possessing U.S. student visas. The annual ASCAP Foundation Young Composer program was renamed to honor the memory of Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Morton Gould, who served as President of ASCAP and The ASCAP Foundation from 1986 to 1994, following his death in 1996 to honor his lifelong commitment to encouraging young creators and his own start as a child prodigy. The 2021 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards composers/judges were: Chen Yi, Anthony Cheung, Jonathan Bailey Holland, Caroline Mallonee, James Matheson, Matt Van Brink, and Dalit Warshaw.

The 21 recipients of the 2021 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards and their award-winning works are listed below with the composers’ place of origin and current residence. Recipients under the age of 18 are listed by state of residence:

Alex Berko (b. 1995 in Solon, OH) of Houston, TX: Among Waves for full orchestra [12′]
Paul Berlinsky (b. 1994 in North Miami Beach, FL) of Kansas City, MO: The Inner Light for wind quintet [9′]
Alistair Coleman (b. 1998 in Washington, D.C.) of Philadelphia, PA: Sonata for trombone and piano [16′]
Julián Fueyo (b. 1996 in Tampico, Mexico) of New Haven, CT: Serpiente de Turquesas for violin and orchestra [12′]
Brittany J. Green (b. 1991 in Raleigh, NC) of Durham, NC: Rencontras for string quartet [8′]
Moni Guo (b. 1993 in Taiyuan, Shanxi, China) of Los Angeles, CA: Rays of the After-rain Evening Sun for full orchestra [8′]
Patrick Holcomb (b. 1996 in Fairfax, VA) of Ocean View, DE: The Harvest of the Amulet of the Deer for mezzo-soprano and sinfonietta [11′]
Soomin Kim (b. 1995 in Uijeongbu, South Korea) of New Haven, CT: THE EIGHTH SONG for three violas [13′]
Chelsea Komschlies (b. 1991 in Appleton, WI) of Montreal, Canada: Hexactinellida for chamber orchestra [8′]
Piyawat Louilarpprasert (b. 1993 in Bangkok, Thailand) of Ithaca, NY: scattered bones for full orchestra [13′]
Wenbin Lyu (b. 1994 in Liaoning, China) of Cincinnati, OH: Germination for chamber orchestra [10′]
Jorge Machain (b. 1993 in Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico) of Henderson, NV: The Espresso Express, a drum set concerto with wind orchestra [17′]
Christopher O’Brien (b. 2002 in Los Angeles, CA) of Pacific Palisades, CA: LETHE for full orchestra [17′]
Marco-Adrián Ramos (b. 1995 in Springdale, AR) of Gravette, AR: Guadalupe o Retablo for chamber orchestra [18′]
Ben Robichaux (b. 1991 in Thibodaux, LA) of Thibodaux, LA: As the Lights Go Out for wind ensemble and quadrophonic electronics [15′]
Ari Sussman (b. 1993 Elkins Park, PA) of Ann Arbor, MI: Higaleh Nah for solo soprano, solo viola, SATB chorus, and piano [8′]
Siqi Wang (from Henan Province, China) of Kansas City, MO: Three Bagatelles for wind quintet [11′]
Emily Webster-Zuber of Los Angeles, CA: Ocean Waves for string quartet [9′]
Brady Wolff (from Kansas City, MO) of Lake Winnebago, MO: String Quartet [32′]
Elizabeth Younan (b. 1994 in Sydney, Australia) formerly from Philadelphia, PA and currently in Australia: Woodwind Quintet No. 2 ‘Kismet’ [6′]
Hao Zou (from Huaibei, Anhui, China) of Kansas City, MO: Song on the Wind for full orchestra [6′]

Photos of all the composers who have either won or received an honorable mention in the 2021 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards.

The following 16 composers received Honorable Mention (recipients under the age of 18 are listed by state of residence):

Hannah A. Barnes (b. 1997 in Geneva, IL) of Chicago, IL: five images for clarinet/bass clarinet, violin/viola, harp, and percussion [9′]
Olivia Bennett (b. 2002 in Springfield, MO) of Houston, TX: Mass for string quartet [7′]
Luke Blackburn (b. 1992 in Ocala, FL) of Seattle, WA: Menagerie of Spectacular Creatures: Insecta for flute (doubling piccolo and alto flute), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), violin, violoncello, and harp [25′]
Lucy Chen of MD: The Magic Forest at Night for 14 musicians [8′]
Emily DeNucci (from Springfield, MA) of Somers, CT: The Evolution of Climate Change for trombone, tuba, and piano [12′]
Joe Jaxson (b. 2000 in New York, NY) of Staunton, VA: Perservering for flute, clarinet, violin, violoncello, piano, and percussion [10′]
Marco Jiminez (from Miami, FL) of St. Petersburg, FL: Requiem Mass “de Angelis” for large mixed ensemble [28′]
Quinn Mason (b. 1996 in Dallas, TX) of Dallas, TX: A Joyous Trilogy for full orchestra [17′]
Sophie Mathieu (from Bedford, TX) of Austin, TX: moons for full orchestra [12′]
Celka Ojakangas (b. 1992 in Springfield, MO) of Los Angeles, CA: Sploopy for sinfonietta [29′]
Luca Pasquini (b. 2004) of CO: Danse Orphique for string quartet [16′]
Yash Pazhianur of NJ: Impulses for orchestra [17′]
Aaron S. Ricucci-Hill (b. 1992 in Troy, MO) of Kansas City, MO: Colors of Pride for wind quintet [10′]
Daniel Sabzghabei (b. 1992 in Denton, TX) of Ithaca, NY: At any rate II. “what remains” for singing string quartet and record player [9′]
Winston Schneider of NE: Expiculating Quintet for clarinet, bassoon, violin, viola, and violoncello [8′]
Sami Seif (b. 1998 in Keserwan, Lebanon) of Cleveland, OH: Orientalism for string quartet [14′]
Danae Venson (from Austin, TX) of Houston, TX: Riot! I. Peace for 2 pianos, contrabass, Drums, Congas, Rainstick, Shaker, Tambourine, Den-Den, Daiko, and drums [4′]

Additionally, Paul Berlinsky was recognized by the panel with the 2021 Leo Kaplan Award created in memory of the distinguished attorney who served as ASCAP Special Distribution Advisor. The award is funded by the Kaplan Family.

In addition to The ASCAP Foundation Jack and Amy Norworth Fund, The ASCAP Foundation Irving Caesar Fund also provides financing for the Morton Gould Young Composer Awards. Caesar was best known as the lyricist of “Tea for Two” and “Swanee,” while Jack Norworth wrote such standards as “Shine On Harvest Moon” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

2019 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Awards Announced

ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams today announced the recipients of the 2019 ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, which encourage talented young creators of concert music ranging in age from 10 to 30. The 2019 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards composer/judges were: Timo Andres, Martha Mooke, Tamar Muskal, Jeffrey Scott, Robert Sirota, and Edward Smaldone.

ASCAP 2019 Morton Gould Young Composer Award Winners

The 21 recipients of the 2019 Morton Gould Young Composer Awards are listed with their age, current city and state of residence, and the titles of their award-winning compositions which are linked, where possible, to audio recordings of them (for the youngest winners, only the state of residence is given):

In addition, 9 composers received Honorable Mention:

Established in 1979 with funding from the Jack and Amy Norworth Fund, The ASCAP Foundation Morton Gould Young Composer Awards grant cash prizes to concert music composers up to 30 years of age whose works are selected through a juried national competition. These composers may be American citizens, permanent residents, or students possessing US Student Visas. To honor his lifelong commitment to encouraging young creators, the program was dedicated to Morton Gould’s memory following his death in 1996. Gould himself was a child prodigy whose first composition was published by G. Schirmer when he was only six years of age; he later became a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer. He served as President of ASCAP and The ASCAP Foundation from 1986 – 1994.

New Music USA announces $530,000 in awards to 108 projects

New Music USA announced today its eighth round of project grants, totaling $530,000 in funding to support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music. The 108 awarded projects include concerts and recordings, as well as support for dance, theater, opera, and more, all involving contemporary music as an essential element. Of the newly awarded projects, 44% feature people of color and 63% feature female or non-binary project organizers or main collaborators. Explore and follow the newly awarded projects to receive email updates as they unfold.

To date, an additional $80,205 over the program’s original annual budgets were made available through the actions of New Music Connect: The Network for Friends of New Music. This additional investment adds support to projects that qualified for funding as part of our grant program’s panel process. New Music Connect is designed to link and engage individuals from across the United States who advocate for and financially support the new music field.


‘Amplified’ — Tigue Commissions three electroacoustic works for 2018-2019
[Switch~ Ensemble] Commissions Katharina Rosenberger
{RE}Happening 2018 featuring Roomful of Teeth
15 Photos for extended technique vocalist
20 Minutes of Action
20th Anniversary MATA Festival
25 Minutes of New Music*
A New Work by Che Chen
Ain’t I a Woman
Alturas Duo: Vox Americana with Gwyneth Walker*
And so the heavens turned
Auxiliary Superpower
Bel Canto: A Symphonic Canvas
Body, the Shrine
Bravo! Vail’s 2018 New Works Project*
Carolyn Dorfman Dance Commissions New Work by Carolyn Dorfman and Renée Jaworski of Pilobolus
Color Theory 2.0
Conference of the Birds*
Dark Matter: A Tribute to Vera Rubin*
David Froom Commission for the 33rd Annual Irving M. Klein International String Competition*
David Sanford: Black Noise
Demon in the Heart (DH)
Deviant Septet Summer Composition Intensive
Documenting Three New Works
Ecstatic Music Festival 2018
Edgefest 2018: Chicago-Out Kind of Town
Eko Nova: Tornado
Fanm d’Ayiti
Filigree in Textile
Four Quartets: Residency and Commission for Pam Tanowitz and The Knights
Four Strings Around the World*
Fragility : An Exploration of Polyrhythms
From Out a Darker Sea
Gather Hear Alaska*
Giselle by Post:Ballet + The Living Earth Show*
Glass Works: new music inspired by the stained-glass artistry of Judith Schaechter*
Golden Hornet presents The Sound of Science*
Grackle Call
Hardness 10
Have You Seen Me*
Helga Davis Debut Album*
Hudson Valley Philharmonic Classroom to Concert Workshops & Young People’s Concerts*
I LAND 2018*
If You Listen
Inheritance – A Chamber Opera
Intricate Machines: Rising American Composers team up with Aizuri Quartet*
Invisible Anatomy’s debut album Dissections*
Iron Jane*
Jeffrey Brooks: The Passion
Joseph Daley’s Tuba Trio
Jukebox: Unplugged*
Living Voices*
Lucy Negro Redux
Madame Ovary
Michael Gordon’s Anonymous Man, Performed by The Crossing
Music in the American Wild: Soundscapes
Musical Creativity and Artistic Exploration in Puppet Theater*
Musical Crossroads: Classical and Jazz
Neil Feather Box Set*
New American Music for Violin and Voice*
New music and dance collaboration commission by Julianna Barwick and Jodi Melnick
New Work by Eve Beglarian for Roomful of Teeth
New Work Celebrates Seasons of the Catskill Mountains*
New work for orchestra by Gabriella Smith for Kaleidoscope*
Primero Sueño
Reading the Landscape
Recording Project: Music of Kotoka Suzuki*
Restagings No. 2: Of Serra (to movement)
Rivers Empyrean
RoseAnne Spradlin Project
Samuel Adler @90: Composer in the Community
Second Inversion – 2017/2018 On-Demand Videos
Solo Works for Prepared Soprano Saxophone
Songs of Protest*
Stray Bird*
STREYA – Album of new works for solo Violin
Symphony of Hawaiian Birds
Taina and Veena Music Collaboration*
TENDER (n): a person who takes charge
The 4th Annual New Music Gathering*
The All Around Us Project
The Darkest Light in the Heart
The Future is Bright: for soloist, film, and percussion ensemble*
The Jazz Gallery Mentoring Series: Vol.5
The Oversoul
Veils and Vesper*
Vinkensport, or The Finch Opera
VocalEssence WITNESS: Of Such I Dream
What will we be like when we get there
Whole Sol Festival: Commissioning New Works
YDC Choreographer/Composer Project*

*indicates first-time awardee


Stefanie Batten Bland · Brian Baumbusch · Susanna Bolle · Amy Briggs · Kate Campbell · Katherine Ciesinski · Daniel Thomas Davis · Lorne Dechtenberg · Claire DiVizio · Tiffany Du Mouchelle · Kevin Ernste · James Falzone · Terry Fox · La Tanya Hall · Brian Harnetty · Liz Harris · Rennie Harris · Mila Henry-Moore · James Holt · Aurie Hsu · Ayako Kato · Lorna Krier · Carolyn Kuan · JoAnn Kulesza · Anna Kuwabara · Megan Kyle · Richard Montalto · Kristin Norderval · Elizabeth Ogonek · Monica Ohuchi · Forrest Pierce · Jane Rigler · Matana Roberts · Baljinder Sekhon · Sarah Silver · Lauren Snelling · Derrick Spiva Jr · Maya Stone · Molly Sturges · Timothy Sullivan · Mihoko Suzuki · Courtney Swain · Mazz Swift · Ashley Kelly Tata · Carmen-Helena Téllez · Suzanne Thorpe · Fay Victor · Anna Webber · Marcus White · Rain Worthington · Giselle Wyers

With a continued desire to support the greatest possible breadth of artists and informed by the valuable feedback we’ve received from the field, the eighth round continued to include a special focus on requests of $3,000 and below. Approximately 46% of grants awarded were in this category. The next round of project grants will open for requests in Fall 2018.

Including the awards announced today, New Music USA’s project grants program, launched in October 2013, has now distributed $2,866,978 in support of 558 projects in 36 states. Of these projects, 50% were for the creation of new work. The public-facing gallery of projects from all eight rounds and the ability for artists to update their progress and interact with followers are important promotional tools that extend the program’s service to artists beyond financial support. The overarching goal of project grants is to reach and aggregate the communities of new music enthusiasts, irrespective of genre preferences, and allow the public to discover new artistic work.

Ed Harsh, president and CEO, comments: “We’re awestruck by the diversity of projects created by artists across the United States that are part of each round. It’s the strongest motivation we can imagine to find new ways to support and serve, both through seeking more funds and developing new ways for our online platform to deliver value to our nationwide community.”

INDEXED: What we’re reading when we read about Lamar’s Pulitzer Win

Ever since Pulitzer Prize Administrator Dana Canedy announced Kendrick Lamar’s win in the music category a bit after 3 p.m. on Monday, news outlets and social media have been alight with hot takes and existential reflections. As the first artist working outside the classical-ish field (with a couple more recent nods to jazz) to snag the prize, the selection of Lamar’s album DAMN. seems to have signaled a lot, both in terms of the parameters of the Pulitzer itself going forward and regarding some larger cultural shifts when it comes to art and gatekeeping.

For those looking for drama, the anxiety and the undercutting were quickly found in the expected Facebook feeds and comments sections. The background on how DAMN. came to be considered among the submitted entries came to light before the day was done.

Nearly 48 hours later, it remains a hot topic in newsrooms across the country, despite being crowded into the chaos that is the daily political news cycle in 2018. We’ve indexed some highlights below.

Kendrick Lamar and the Shell Game of ‘Respect’ (The Atlantic)
The first non-classical, non-jazz winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music needs the accolade less than the accolade needs him.

With Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Win, The World May Finally Be Catching Up to Rap (Pitchfork)
Rappers usually speak of the Pulitzer facetiously…boys from the hood are never Pulitzer winners. Well, until [Monday].

What Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Means for Hip-Hop (The New Yorker)
Doreen St. Félix considers how Lamar’s historic milestone—becoming the first hip-hop artist to win a Pulitzer Prize for music—figures in the grander, affected consecration of blackness within élite spaces.

What the classical-music world can learn from Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize (The Washington Post)
Alyssa Rosenberg chats with composer, writer, and performer Alex Temple.

This Year’s Other Two Pulitzer Finalists on Losing to Kendrick Lamar (Slate)
Some classical fans are furious that the rapper won. The guys he beat are thrilled.

Kendrick Lamar Shakes Up the Pulitzer Game: Let’s Discuss (The New York Times)
Zachary Woolfe, the classical music editor of The New York Times, and Jon Pareles, the chief pop music critic, discuss the choice.

Personally, while assembling this index I got the biggest boost out of just spinning the album again—in reverse this time. David Lang, can you tell us which version jurors were listening to?

Did we miss a good take? Drop a link below.

Kendrick Lamar Awarded 2018 Pulitzer Prize for DAMN.

Kendrick Lamar has been awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize in Music for DAMN.. The annually awarded prize is for a distinguished musical composition by an American that has had its first performance or recording in the United States during the previous year. This year the award includes a $15,000 cash prize.


DAMN., by Kendrick Lamar

Recording released on April 14, 2017, a virtuosic song collection unified by its vernacular authenticity and rhythmic dynamism that offers affecting vignettes capturing the complexity of modern African-American life.

Also nominated as finalists for the 2018 music prize were:

Quartet by Michael Gilbertson

Premiered on February 2, 2017, at Weill Recital Hall, Carnegie Hall, New York City, a masterwork in a traditional format, the string quartet, that is unconstrained by convention or musical vogues and possesses a rare capacity to stir the heart.

Sound from the Bench by Ted Hearne

Recording released on March 24, 2017, by The Crossing, a five-movement cantata for chamber choir, electric guitar, and percussion that raises oblique questions about the crosscurrents of power through excerpts from sources as diverse as Supreme Court rulings and ventriloquism textbooks.

Last year’s winner in music, composer Du Yun, sent out her congrats to the 2018 winners:

The nominating jury for the 2018 Pulitzer Prize, reviewing 186 music entries, included:

Regina Carter, jazz violinist, Maywood, NJ (Chair)
Paul Cremo, dramaturg/director of opera commissioning program, The Metropolitan Opera
Farah Jasmine Griffin, William B. Ransford Professor of English and Comparative Literature and African-American Studies, Columbia University
David Hajdu, music critic, The Nation and professor of journalism, Columbia University
* David Lang, composer, New York City (*Pulitzer Prize Winner)

This year’s recipients constitute the 102nd class of Pulitzer Prize winners. The prizes will be awarded at a lunch on May 30, 2018, at Columbia’s Low Memorial Library.

New Music USA Announces Nine New Additions to the Impact Fund Cohort

New Music USA has announced nine organizations selected to join the NYC New Music Impact Fund. The Impact Fund cohort consists of 33 New York City-based ensembles, presenters, and venues tackling challenges facing the city’s new music community today, creating a vibrant public identity for the sector, building connections and collaborations, and finding innovative solutions to the need for increased performance and rehearsal space.


The new cohort members were selected by the following panelists:

  • Courteney Casey, Senior Director of Artistic Planning National Sawdust; Managing Director VisionIntoArt
  • Charles Jarden, General Director American Opera Projects
  • Gina Izzo, flutist, Co-Founder RighteousGIRLS, Manager Public Programs Chamber Music America
  • Mari Kimura, violinist, composer
  • Nathalie Joachim, flutist, composer, Flutronix, Eighth Blackbird
  • Robert Reddy, composer, saxophonist

The Impact Fund represents the first major effort to aggregate and amplify the voice of the New York new music community online. The fund launched in 2016 through a $495,000 grant from The Scherman Foundation’s Axel and Katherine Rosin Fund. Now in its second year, the program distributes general operating and residency grants to smaller new music ensembles, venues, and presenters (many of which are artist-led) and uses New Music USA’s web platform to create a home for the community and market their work in new and creative ways. Sign up to have a listing of the cohort’s upcoming events sent to your inbox each week and stay in the know about what they are up to.


And the 89th Academy Award Composer Nominees Are…

The nominees for the 89th Academy Awards have been announced, including nods in the category of best original score to composers Mica Levi, Justin Hurwitz, Nicholas Britell, Thomas Newman, and the team of Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka.

In December 2016 it was noted that scores such as Jóhann Jóhannsson’s notable contribution to Arrival would not be eligible.

Winners will be awarded during a ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Sunday, February 26, 2017.


Mica Levi
Justin Hurwitz
Dustin O’Halloran and Hauschka
Nicholas Britell
Thomas Newman


from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
from Trolls; Music and Lyric by Justin Timberlake, Max Martin and Karl Johan Schuster
from La La Land; Music by Justin Hurwitz; Lyric by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul
from Jim: The James Foley Story; Music and Lyric by J. Ralph and Sting
from Moana; Music and Lyric by Lin-Manuel Miranda


Sylvain Bellemare
Wylie Stateman and Renée Tondelli
Robert Mackenzie and Andy Wright
Ai-Ling Lee and Mildred Iatrou Morgan
Alan Robert Murray and Bub Asman


Bernard Gariépy Strobl and Claude La Haye
Kevin O’Connell, Andy Wright, Robert Mackenzie and Peter Grace
Andy Nelson, Ai-Ling Lee and Steve A. Morrow
David Parker, Christopher Scarabosio and Stuart Wilson
Greg P. Russell, Gary Summers, Jeffrey J. Haboush and Mac Ruth

Julia Wolfe Named 2016 MacArthur Fellow

Julia Wolfe is among the 23 recipients of 2016 MacArthur Fellowships. She was recognized for the creation of music that “combines influences from folk, classical, and rock genres in works that are grounded in historical and legendary narratives. Often described as post-minimalist, Wolfe demonstrates an openness to sonic possibilities, with choral elements and instruments such as the mountain dulcimer, bagpipes, and body percussion often augmenting string and orchestral arrangements.”

The Bang on a Can co-founder and co­–artistic director is noted for the integration of music, movement, and visual elements in her work. Currently associate professor of music composition at the Steinhardt School at New York University, Wolfe won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for her piece Anthracite Fields, which explored the complex history of the coal mining industry.

The MacArthur Fellowship is a “no strings attached” award that comes with a stipend of $625,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years. More information about the 2016 MacArthur fellows and the awarding process is available on the MacArthur Foundation website.