Discover more from The Honest Broker
We're Making Progress in Our Campaign to Get Duke Ellington the Pulitzer He Was Denied in 1965
Thousands of signatures and support from the biggest names in American music
We are only four days into our campaign to get the 1965 Pulitzer Prize in Music awarded to Duke Ellington, but we have already made remarkable progress.
Many of the leading names in American music have offered their support—it’s frankly an amazing list (see below). And the petition now has more than 7,500 signatures.
If you haven’t signed already, you can do so here.
The Honest Broker is a reader-supported guide to music, books, and culture. Both free and paid subscriptions are available. If you want to support my work, the best way is by taking out a paid subscription.
There has been no response from the Pulitzer board. Zero. Nada. Zilch. But the media has just started paying attention to this initiative.
You can read the whole back story here. But the quick summary is that the music jury in 1965 decided to give the award to Duke Ellington for his lifetime achievement, but the Pulitzer Board rejected the recommendation. No Pulitzer was given for music that year.
Revisiting the matter today would simply require the Board voting to accept the original jury recommendation.
A dozen other Pulitzer winners have already expressed their support.
The first boost came from composer John Adams just a few hours after the petition was launched:
And a few hours later, David Lang, another prominent Pulitzer-winning composer, also gave us an online endorsement:
The latest news, right before going to press, is that both Philip Glass and Terry Riley have endorsed the cause.
Tim Page, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Criticism, has not only expressed his support, but helped spread the word and secure endorsements from others.
Here is the complete list of Pulitzer honorees who have already given their support for the Duke Ellington petition (in alphabetical order):
John Adams, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
John Luther Adams, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
William Bolcom, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
Justin Davidson, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Michael Dirda, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Philip Kennicott, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
David Lang, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
Tania León, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
Tim Page, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism
Steve Reich, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
Caroline Shaw, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Music
Gene Weingarten, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing
You can sign it here.