The Pulitzer Prize music judges, hoping to encourage a broader range of entries from American composers, may soon be saying hooray for Hollywood ... and all that jazz.

The Pulitzer Prize music judges, hoping to encourage a broader range of entries from American composers, may soon be saying hooray for Hollywood ... and all that jazz.

Administrators of the prestigious awards said yesterday (May 31) they have decided to expand the criteria for the music prize, starting with entries for 2004.

In a typical year, about 75% of the music entries have been for orchestral pieces, works with instrumental soloists and chamber music, says Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzers at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

Now, the Pulitzer Board, which has been awarding the music prize for 61 years, wants to hear more from the world of jazz, musical theater and movies.

"We feel good about the prize; it's done a lot of good work through the years," says Gissler. "But we feel that we should broaden the prize a bit so that we can be more assured that we are getting the full range of the best of America's music, especially as the forms change, the categories erode and composers move from one form to another."

Among the changes: The composition of the five-member jury pool is being altered to include musical performers or presenters, in addition to composers and a critic. Also, entrants no longer need to submit a score of a work performed for the first time in the United States during the year. A recording will be accepted, although scores are still "strongly urged." The Pulitzer Board hopes this will level the playing field for improvisational works, such as jazz.

Eminem and Madonna, however, need not submit entries.

"The main thing is we're trying to keep this a serious prize. We're not trying to dumb it down any way, shape or form, but we're trying to augment it, improve it," Gissler says. "I think the critical term here is 'distinguished American musical compositions.'"


AP LogoCopyright 2004 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tagged