Steve Reich has been awarded the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in Music for Double Sextet Frank J. Oteri has details here.

To which I say:  it’s about damned time.


NPR’s story is here.

Boosey & Hawes press release is here.

10 Responses to “Stop Presses! Steve Reich Wins Pulitzer Prize”
  1. david toub says:

    Seth, I agree with you 100%. But I have always thought the music Pulitzer was bullshit anyway. It’s highly political (exhibit 1: the Ralph Shapey snub), typically goes to “safe” composers or “safe” works by an occasional iconoclast (exhibit 2: Ives), and really doesn’t reward innovation. Why should anyone care about any music prize?

    This isn’t a dig at SR, since he’s long deserved the recognition. But he had some nice tributes during his 70th birthday year, no?

    The original intent for a music scholarship fund is a better use of the award, in my opinion.

  2. Seth Gordon says:

    Does this even matter anymore? Whether they give it to someone old, young, male, female, black, white… it’s an award handed out by a small group of five people, which is then approved by another small assortment of people, who 99% of the time just go along with whatever the first group said. All it reflects is a small group’s personal biases. If they didn’t give away the 10 grand, it would be as meaningless as me giving out a “Seth Gordon Award” every year.

    I’m with John Adams – “ambivalence bordering on contempt” I believe was his response to winning.

    I actually disagree that it’s become a “lifetime achievement award” – I’d say that’s true only about half the time. Now and then someone under 50 might get it. Kernis, Wagner, Moravec most recently.

    But the point is, does it help them? Is it worth anything more than the money? In getting academic appointments, I suppose. Probably guarantees tenure, if you don’t have it already.

    But does the public pay attention? No. It’s not like it’s going to translate to album sales in any significant amount. Heck, how many PP Winners have not even been recorded?

    They should turn it back into what Pulitzer intended – he never called for a prize in his will, but set up a fund for a yearly music scholarship. That would actually mean something to someone.

  3. Christian says:

    Long overdue: many congratulations to Steve Reich and to the terrific performers who premiered Double Sextet!

  4. Sparky P. says:

    But at least it wasn’t posthumous. Mucho kudos, your patience is well rewarded!

  5. Jay Batzner says:

    My mistake, ’tis but a fragment. But a good fragment…

  6. ed lawes says:

    good use of British invective there Steve, kudos.

  7. Alan Theisen says:

    Amen, Steve.

  8. Paul H. Muller says:


  9. Steve Layton says:

    Like so many other times, if the Pulitzer board had given it to him 20 or 30 years ago it might have been important for Reich, modern music and the Pulitzer itself. These delayed calls reek of the ol’ Oscar “lifetime achievement” award. Bully for Steve, bollocks on the Pulitzer and its process.