NEW YORK -- William Schuman, 81, a Pulitzer Prize-winning composer who was the founding president of New York's Lincoln Center and president of the Juilliard School, died Feb. 15 at a hospital in New York after surgery for a hip ailment.

During a musical career that spanned more than 60 years, Mr. Schuman was known as a craftsman who incorporated American folk and jazz into his works. Though he considered himself a composer first, he championed American music, composers and performers as an educator and administrator.

He composed 10 symphonies; five ballet scores; violin, viola and cello concertos; four string quartets; band scores; operas; and numerous works for chorus.

In 1943, he won the first Pulitzer ever awarded for music for Secular Cantata No. 2. In 1985, he was honored with a special Pulitzer for his work in music.

Mr. Schuman called composing his first love, once saying the "continuum in my life has always been composition."

Even during his busiest periods at Lincoln Center, one of the nation's top centers for the performing arts, he managed to compose a minimum of 600 hours a year. He kept track with a detailed journal.

"My music has not changed over the years," he said in 1980. "I no longer work with key centers, but the music is always melodic and has a sense of line. My music can always be sung. And I have never written a note in my life that was not deeply felt."

Mr. Schuman, who was born in Manhattan, attended public schools and formed a jazz ensemble in high school. He entered the School of Commerce at New York University, but after hearing a symphony concert decided to study music seriously. He enrolled at New York's Malkin Conservatory in 1930 and later studied at Juilliard. He joined the faculty of Sarah Lawrence College in 1935.

In 1945, he assumed the presidency of Juilliard, one of the most prestigious music academies in the world. He helped develop the Juilliard Quartet and instituted several changes in the curriculum.

During his tenure as the founding president of Lincoln Center, which lasted from 1962 to 1969, Mr. Schuman championed new American music and dance.

In addition to his Pulitzers, his awards included the first New York Critics' Circle Award in 1941 for the Symphony No. 3 and a special commission from the federal government for "Credendum" in 1955. In 1982, he won the gold medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and in 1987 he received the National Medal of Arts. In 1989, he was honored by the Kennedy Center.

Survivors include his wife, Frances; two children; a sister; and a grandchild.