Tag: Pulitzer

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.

John Luther Adams Wins 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music

John Luther Adams
Become Ocean by John Luther Adams has been awarded the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music. The work, premiered on June 20, 2013, by the Seattle Symphony and published by Taiga Press/Theodore Front Musical Literature (BMI), was described in the citation as “a haunting orchestral work that suggests a relentless tidal surge, evoking thoughts of melting polar ice and rising sea levels.” The 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 calendar year and comes with a cash award of ten thousand dollars.

“I’m deeply grateful to the Ludovic Morlot and the musicians of the Seattle Symphony for the bold leap of faith they took with Become Ocean,” said John Luther Adams. “It’s ironic, but I still haven’t heard the piece live. (The day of the premiere I was on the operating table, for emergency eye surgery.) So now I’m listening forward to the upcoming performance in Carnegie Hall, even more than ever.”

Also nominated as finalists in this category were: The Gospel According to the Other Mary by John Adams (Hendon Music, Inc., a Boosey & Hawkes company, BMI), staged version premiered on March 7, 2013, by the Los Angeles Philharmonic; and Invisible Cities by Christopher Cerrone (Outburst-Inburst Musics, ASCAP), staged version premiered on October 19, 2013, by The Industry and L.A. Dance Project in Union Station, Los Angeles.

Pulitzer Prizes have been awarded annually since 1917. The Music Prize was added in 1943 when William Schuman’s Secular Cantata No. 2, “A Free Song” received the first honor. Past prize winning works include Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring (1945), Charles Ives’s Symphony No. 3 (1947, awarded 30 years after its composition), Robert Ward’s opera The Crucible (1962), Charles Wuorinen’s electronic music composition Time’s Encomium (1970), David Del Tredici’s In Memory of a Summer DayChild Alice, Part One (1980), Ellen Taaffe Zwilich’s Symphony No. 1 – Three Movements for Orchestra (1983), Wynton Marsalis’s oratorio Blood on the Fields (1997), John Adams’s On The Transmigration of Souls (2003), Ornette Coleman’s recording Sound Grammar (2007), and Jennifer Higdon’s Violin Concerto (2010). Only four composers have ever received the award twice: Walter Piston, for his Third and Seventh Symphonies (1948 and 1961); Gian-Carlo Menotti, for his operas The Consul (1950) and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1955); Samuel Barber, for his opera Vanessa (1958) and his Piano Concerto (1963); and Elliott Carter, for his String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 (1960 and 1973). Additionally, eight musicals have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Drama including: the George Gershwin-scored Of Thee I Sing (1932), which won prior to the existence of the Music award; Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific (1950); Abe Burrows and Frank Loesser’s How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1962); Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Sunday in the Park with George (1985); and, most recently, Brian Yorkey and Tom Kitt’s Next to Normal (2010). Last year’s winner of the Pulitzer Prize in Music was Caroline Shaw’s Partita for Eight Voices.

As is the case with all Pulitzer prize-winners, the awarded pieces of music are chosen through a two panel process. Each year a different jury (consisting of five professionals in the field and which usually includes at least one previous winner of the award) is convened and selects a total of three finalists from works received for consideration. (Anyone—not only the composer or publisher of the work—can submit a work provided it is accompanied by a $50 entry fee and meets the qualifications of being composed by an American and having had its first performance or recording in the United States during the previous calendar year.) The three finalists are then submitted to the Pulitzer’s 19-member board, consisting mostly of major newspaper editors and executives as well as a few academics. (The board elects its own members who individually serve three-year terms.) The winner is determined by a majority vote of the board. It is possible for the jury not to choose any of the finalists—as was the case for the Music award in the years 1964, 1965, and 1981 resulting in no prize being given. The board can also demand that the jury selects a different work, as was the case in 1992 when the only work the jury submitted to the board was Ralph Shapey’s Concerto Fantastique. (The work which was ultimately awarded the prize that year was Wayne Peterson’s The Face of the Night.)
The jurors for the 2014 Pulitzer Prize in Music were: Ara Guzelimian, provost and dean, The Juilliard School, New York, NY (Chair); Justin Davidson, classical music and architecture critic, New York Magazine; Jason Moran, pianist and composer, New York, NY; Caroline Shaw, musician, New York, NY; Julia Wolfe, composer and co-founder, Bang on a Can, New York, NY.
To read, watch and listen to a conversation with John Luther Adams for NewMusicBox (recorded in 2011), click here.

Kevin Puts Wins 2012 Pulitzer Prize

Kevin Puts

Kevin Puts; photo by J. Henry Fair

Silent Night: Opera in Two Acts by Kevin Puts has been awarded the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Commissioned and premiered by the Minnesota Opera in Minneapolis on November 12, 2011, and featuring a libretto by Mark Campbell, the self-published Silent Night was described by the jury as “a stirring opera that recounts the true story of a spontaneous cease-fire among Scottish, French and Germans during World War I, displaying versatility of style and cutting straight to the heart.” The 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 calendar year and comes with a cash award of ten thousand dollars.

Very few operas have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize since the prize was established in 1943. Although Zhou Long’s opera Madame White Snake was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Music last year, an opera had not previously won the Pulitzer since the year 2000 when the prize was awarded to Lewis Spratlan’s Life is a Dream and technically that award was only for the second act which had been performed in concert version. (The opera, which was actually completed in 1978, was not performed in full until the year 2010.) So in reality the previous opera to win the award prior to 2011’s Madame White Snake was Robert Ward’s The Crucible back in 1962. In the 1950s, several now frequently revived American operas were awarded the prize including Samuel Barber’s Vanessa (1958) and two by Gian-Carlo Menotti: The Consul (1950) and The Saint of Bleecker Street (1955). The sole remaining Pulitzer-winning opera was Douglas Moore’s Giants in the Earth (1951), a work which has yet to be commercially recorded.

“I hadn’t really given much thought to whether I had a chance at winning this award,” admitted Kevin Puts in a phone conversation minutes after receiving the news. “But the Minnesota Opera suggested I submit it. As soon as I started Silent Night [which is Puts’s first opera], the medium of writing opera felt really natural and exciting to me and I immediately wanted to write more opera. I would not have won this award without my librettist, Mark Campbell. The prize gives me a sense of validation for the work and I hope it will lead to many other things.”

Also nominated as finalists in for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music were: Tod Machover for Death and the Powers, developed by the MIT Media Lab in partnership with the American Repertory Theatre which received its American premiere in Boston, Massachusetts on March 18, 2011; and Andrew Norman for The Companion Guide to Rome, premiered on November 13, 2011 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The jurors for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize in Music were: Chuck Owen, distinguished professor, University of South Florida, Tampa (Chair); Jeremy Geffen, director of artistic planning, Carnegie Hall, New York, NY; Jennifer Higdon, 2010 Pulitzer Prize winning composer and faculty, Curtis Institute of Music (Philadelphia, PA); Steve Smith, music editor, Time Out New York and freelance contributor, The New York Times, and Kenny Werner, jazz pianist, composer, author and composition faculty, New York University.