The Pulitzer, and what classical music needs to do

Colin Eatock in his own blog:

Kendrick-lamar-damn_origAmong the many “breakthroughs” that have followed in the wake of Kendrick Lamar’s 2018 Pulitzer Prize for the album Damn is the fact that a hip-hop artist is now being discussed in classical music circles. “What are we to make of this development?”, various classical-music commentators, practitioners and enthusiasts are asking. Is this a good thing? Or a bad thing? Or what?

I’ve noticed that some classical types have been careful to sound respectful and inclusive when discussing this issue. Perhaps fearful of being labelled “elitist,” or hoping that just a little bit of hip-hop’s coolness might rub off on them, they praise Damn for its musical craft, sophistication and cultural authenticity, and say supportive things about Lamar’s prize-win. (See here, here or here.)

On the other hand, the permanently outraged Norman Lebrecht called the decision, “an almighty kick in the teeth of contemporary composition.” And, predictably, the decision has also coaxed some downright racist reactions out of the woodwork. I suspect that some of these outraged folks, bravely defending good taste and high standards, didn’t even know there was a Pulitzer Prize for music until Lamar won it.

As a classical guy myself (living in Toronto, Canada, by the way), I must admit that I didn’t know much about Lamar until a couple of days ago.

More here.