Today, the 2023 Pulitzer Prize winners list has been announced. Folk artist Rhiannon Giddens and orchestral composer Michael Abels have been awarded the Pulitzer in Music for the opera Omar. The other finalists in the Music category included Monochromatic Light (Afterlife) by Tyshawn Sorey and Perspective by Jerrilynn Patton. Watch an LA Opera interview with Giddens about the story and music behind Omar below.
“There’s a million different ways to tell Omar’s story, and I hope that that happens. I hope this is not the last that we hear of Omar ibn Said. He deserves as many treatments as a lot of other American stories,” Giddens told LA Opera last year. “I chose a way through it that made sense to me as an American, North Carolinian, banjo player of mixed race, and I’m very clear about that. But in my own way, I really tried to make his words speak as much as possible. There’s a triumph in Omar and that’s the important piece of digging into this history, particularly for people of the African diaspora.”
Additionally, author Hua Hsu won the Pulitzer in Memoir for his book Stay True over finalists Easy Beauty by Chloé Cooper Jones and The Man Who Could Move Clouds by Ingrid Rojas Contreras. See the complete list of this year’s winners at the Pulitzer Prize’s website.
The Pulitzer Prize in Music has gone to an increasingly wide range of artists in recent years, including composer and noise musician Raven Chacon in 2022, the late Aretha Franklin and composer Ellen Reid in 2019, rapper Kendrick Lamar in 2018, and composer and singer Caroline Shaw in 2013. “[When I heard I got it], I thought, to be recognized in an academic world… whoa, this thing really can take me above and beyond,” Kendrick said in a 2018 interview. “It’s one of those things that should have happened with hip-hop a long time ago.”
Read “Hua Hsu’s Memoir Stay True Is as Affecting as a Great Pop Song” and “With Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Win, The World May Finally Be Catching Up to Rap” on the Pitch.
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