from The Seattle Times:
In 1965, the Pulitzer Prize’s three-member music jury voted unanimously to award Duke Ellington a special citation for his prodigious contributions to American music, an award unceremoniously rejected by the Pulitzer’s 14-member advisory board.
The 66-year-old Ellington handled the snub and resulting controversy with customary aplomb. “Fate is being kind to me,” the Maestro said. “Fate doesn’t want me to be famous too young.”
In truth, Ellington had his eye on loftier concerns. On Sept. 16 of that year, the Duke Ellington Orchestra premiered “A Concert of Sacred Music” at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral, the first of three Sacred Music programs that he considered his most important work.
These days there’s little argument about Ellington’s status as a singularly creative force in 20th-century music, but compared to his beloved standards and ambitious longer suites with Billy Strayhorn, his Sacred Music is rarely performed.
Continue reading at The Seattle Times.