Your web page on the Pulitzer Prize In Music is unfortunately based
on a lack of basic information about this award.
The Pulitzer Prize is first of all a competition. It is not a
lifetime award for musical achievement. (The few "Citations" given
suggest an acknowledgment of accomplishment over a significant period
of time.) Secondly, as a competition, a work must be submitted that
has been premiered within a calendar year. The submissions must be
complete with application fee and documentation. There can be more
than 100 works composed in any medium submitted for the Pulitzer
Prize in any year. Without a fully documented submission no work or
composer is eligible for the award.
To complain that certain works should have been awarded the prize
betrays a certain ignorance about the conditions governing the
selection of a winning work. From the pool of submissions it is
obvious that poor choices may have been made by the jury. But, the
final stamp of approval is not even made by the jury. To request the
nomination of works for the Pulitzer Prize by persons who are
completely unaware of these fundamental requirements is nonsensical.
It was surprising for me to read the flattering comment about my
Cello Sonata and Piano Sonata No. 1. The comment attributable to the
chairman of the Pulitzer Prize jury about the selection of Lilacs
for Voice and Orchestra in 1996 is more apt, however, than your
remark about the conservative taste of the board. Richard Wernick,
chairman of the jury, described this score as "rigorous" and remarked
that the music continued to make an impression upon repeated
listening. Even a highly qualified musician would fail to discern the
intricacies of this atonal music without being able to adequately
read the score. In the medium of works for solo voice and orchestra
it makes song cycles by Berlioz, Strauss and Barber pale by comparison.