Posts Tagged ‘Pulitzer prize’

Speaking of Pulitzers, look who just got one!

Hilary Hahn!

Well… Kinda.

Actually it was Jennifer Higdon who won the Pulitzer for a violin concerto written for Hilary Hahn. Most folks have never heard of this composer, but if you followed the links from my earlier post about Hilary, you may have stumbled upon her interviews with this now Pulitzer Prize winning composer.  It’s almost like I broke a story!  Kinda.

Maybe this video will get more than 3000 views now that she’s won a Pulitzer. Or maybe the piece will sit in limbo for ten years…

OK.  Now I gotta stop writing about Hilary Hahn.  I’m starting to sound like some sort of fan boy or something. I mean, it’s not like I’m writing a bunch of violin music, secretly hoping that she’ll champion it or anything. Nope. Not like that at all.


Apr 2010

Where often is heard…

I have to admit, before I started actively doing this composition thing, I was pretty naive about the whole endeavor. This is gonna sound pretty stupid and potentially a bit arrogant, but I figured that since you never heard much about new music or new operas, not many were being written, or at least not many good ones were being written. I thought I could just waltz in, write some stuff that was pretty good, and it would just get picked up and performed, simply by virtue of being pretty good.

Now I realize that all sorts of people are writing pretty good works, in many cases amazing works, and you just don’t hear about them because… well… because you just don’t. Turns out that just writing good work isn’t enough, not nearly enough.

In today’s New York Times there’s an article about an opera completed in 1978 that the composer had worked on for three years. And when he finished it, guess what happened?


The company that had commissioned it went under and the piece went back into his desk or bookshelf or attic, or wherever you put stuff that you’ve slaved over for three years. Probably filed under “D” for “Disappointment, Crushing”. It didn’t see the light of day for another 12 years when the composer decided to self fund a recording of the second act  in 2000.

Then something amazing happened.  It won the Pulitzer Prize.  The fricking Pulitzer Prize. And then guess what happened…

Ummmm…. Nothing?

For another ten years, absolutely nothing. Even with a Pulitzer in his back pocket, he still couldn’t get any opera companies to put it up.  Back in the file it went, this time under “P” for “Produced, WhothehelldoIneedtosleepwithinordertogetthisthing”

Finally, this season, Santa Fe Opera is going to do a full production.  Not to get all Debbie Downer, but that’s thirty two years and one major prize after it was composed.

I guess it’s a success story. The kind that makes you wonder if maybe you’d rather try succeeding at something else…


Apr 2010