BMI Composer Lewis Spratlan Wins Pulitzer Prize

Posted in News on April 11, 2000

Congratulations to BMI classical composer Lewis Spratlan, winner of the 2000 Pulitzer Prize in Music. Mr. Spratlan's winning work was the concert version of Act II of his three act opera, Life is a Dream, which is published by Associated Music Publishers. BMI is proud to represent the catalogs of 27 winners of the Pulitzer Prize in Music.

  The world premiere of Spratlan's award-winning work was given on January 28, 2000 by the Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, conducted by J. David Jackson, at Amherst College. The soloists included John Cheek and Allan Glassman of the Metropolitan Opera and Christina Bouras of Glimmerglass and New York City Opera. Originally written in 1975-78 on a commission from the New Haven Opera Theatre, the work was never performed by that company because it folded while Spratlan was "in the middle of writing the last act."

Check out a full list of BMI's Pulitzer Prize Winners...

Lewis Spratlan, a native of Miami, is a widely performed and much honored composer. A student of Mel Powell and Gunther Schuller at Yale, he has taught and conducted at Tanglewood, The Yale Summer School of Music and Art, and Amherst College, where he has been on the faculty since 1970. His music has been performed in New York, Los Angeles, Washington, Pittsburgh, Miami, London, Moscow, Montreal, Toronto, and perhaps most significantly, Boston, where he has received commissions and premieres from the Boston Musica Viva, The Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, soprano Karol Bennett, and pianist John McDonald, among others. Other New England-based ensembles, including the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, the Lydian String Quartet, the Windsor Quartet, and Ancora have performed his works as well.

He is the recipient of Guggenheim, NEA, Massachusetts Artists Foundation, and MacDowell Fellowships. His opera Life is a Dream won a top prize in the Rockefeller Foundation-New England Conservatory Opera Competition and Apollo and Daphne Variations won the New England Composers Orchestra Competition for readings of new works.

In October, 1989, Mr. Spratlan toured widely in Russia and Armenia as a guest of the Soviet Composers' Union. Toccapsody, for solo piano, and Apollo and Daphne Variations were premiered on this tour and Penelope's Knees was presented in Moscow's Rachmaninoff Hall under Emin Khatchatourian. Recent projects include the world premiere of In Memoriam, for five soloists, double chorus, and orchestra, a work which honors the victims of conquest, focusing on the Mayans and their lineage; the December, 1993, release of a CD of Night Music, for violin, clarinet, and percussion on the Gasparo label; the American premiere and two additional performances of Apollo and Daphne Variations by the Florida Orchestra under Jahja Lin in May, 1994; a commission from the Mohawk Trail Concerts for a setting of Richard Wilbur's A Barred Owl, for baritone, flute, bass clarinet, violin, cello and piano, premiered in July, 1994; the premiere of Concertino for violin and chamber ensemble in April, 1994; and the premiere on April 6, 1996, of Psalm 42, commissioned by the soprano Judith Jones-Gale.

In August 1997, Mr. Spratlan was awarded a $15,000 commission by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress for the composition of a new work to be premiered by the Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble in Boston. Vocalise with Duck for soprano and chamber ensemble was commissioned by the New York Ensemble Sequitur and was premiered at The Knitting Factory in New York on January 10 and 12, 1999. On January 28 (Amherst) and 30 (Boston), 2000, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble presented two world premieres, Sojourner for ten instruments, The Koussevitzky commission, and Life Is a Dream, opera in three acts (Act II, concert version).