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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 June, 2004, 09:41 GMT 10:41 UK
Pulitzer's musical horizons widen
Jazz musician
It is hoped the changes will open the prize to more jazz musicians
The prestigious Pulitzer Prize for music is widening its entry criteria to encourage more jazz, film scores and musicals to enter the competition.

The current criteria is being revised to reflect "a broad view of serious music" from US composers.

Organisers of the prize say they want to hear more entries from a wider range of US composers.

Orchestral pieces, chamber music and instrumental soloists currently make up the bulk of entries.

'Best music'

Sig Gissler, administrator of the Pulitzers at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism, said: "We feel good about the prize; it's done a lot of good work through the years.

"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."

Under the changes, which will come into force for the 2004 entries, entrants may submit a recording instead of a score, although scores are still "strongly urged".

The Pulitzer Board hopes the move will level the playing field for improvisational works, such as jazz.

Only a handful of jazz artists and music from the theatre or film have won the prize in the past.

'Improved' prize

Mr Gissler added: "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.

"I think the critical term here is 'distinguished American musical compositions'."

Previous winners of the Pulitzer Prize for music, which was first issued in 1943, include Aaron Copland, Virgil Thomson, and Wynton Marsalis.

Thomson's win in 1948 was the only one for a movie score, Louisiana Story, while Marsalis won his Pulitzer in 1997 for a jazz oratorio.

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