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Classical Notes

The Pulitzer Prize is no surprise

Posted at 3:14 PM on April 17, 2006 by Don Lee

The Pulitzer Prize for Music was announced today. Throughout its history, the prize has gone almost exclusively to composers in the classical tradition. Critics have wondered why jazz and other kinds of music have seldom earned the recognition. Two years ago, in response, the Pulitzer board diversified the make-up of the jury deciding the music prize.

The results so far? This year's winner is Yehudi Wyner for his piano concerto, Chiavi in mano, commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Last year's music Pulitzer went to Steven Stucky for his Second Concerto for Orchestra, premiered by the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

Since the Pulitzer for Music was established in 1943, the only non-classical composers to win have been Wynton Marsalis, in 1997, and Mel Powell, in 1990. Marsalis's piece was a jazz oratorio and Powell's was a jazz-influenced concerto composed for the L.A. Philharmonic.