Recently named winners of the 53rd annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards for outstanding print, broadcast, liner notes, new media and radio coverage of music span a wide range of musical subjects, including soul and blues singer Denise LaSalle, film composer Max Steiner, songwriter and superstar Dolly Parton, jazz pianists Hasaan Ibn Ali and Mary Lou Williams and more.
Established in 1967 to honor the memory of composer, critic and commentator Deems Taylor, who died in 1966 after a distinguished career that included six years as President of ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers), The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards are made possible by the generous support of the Virgil Thomson Foundation. Virgil Thomson (1896 – 1989) was one of the leading American composers and critics of the 20th century, and a former member of the ASCAP Board of Directors.
During the pandemic, The ASCAP Foundation pivoted to accommodate online submissions. In 2021, the competition opened to articles and liner notes published in 2020. For this year’s 2022 Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award program, books published in 2020 and books, articles and liner notes published in 2021 were accepted.
The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Awards in pop music for titles published in 2020 are presented to:
- Lydia Hamessley, Unlikely Angel: The Songs of Dolly Parton, University of Illinois Press (2020)
- Denise LaSalle with David Whiteis, Always the Queen: The Denise LaSalle Story, University of Illinois Press (2020)
- A Special Recognition award goes to Ashley Kahn for George Harrison on George Harrison: Interviews and Encounters, Chicago Review Press (2020)
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Awards in the concert music field for titles published in 2020 are presented to:
- Music by Max Steiner, The Epic Life of Hollywood’s Most Influential Composer, Steven C. Smith, Oxford University Press (2020)
- Sonic Overload: Alfred Schnittke, Valentin Silvestrov, and Polystylism in the Late USSR, by Peter Schmelz, Oxford University Press (2020)
The 2022 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award recipients for 2021 publications are as follows:
The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for an article in the pop music field is presented to Jon Ross for his article “Marion Brown’s Musical Portrait of Georgia,” published in The Bitter Southerner.
The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for an article in the concert music field goes to Rita Pyrillis for her article “Native Sounds,” published by Symphony.
The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the pop music field recognizes Lewis Porter for his “The United States vs. Billie Holiday vs. the Truth,” published in JazzTimes.
The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the concert music field is presented to Nancy Malitz for her Symphony article, “Musicians in the Spotlight.”
The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Awards in pop are presented to:
- Nora Guthrie and Robert Santelli for their book, Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art * Words and Wisdom, published by Chronicle Books
- Deanna Witkowski for Mary Lou Williams: Music for the Soul, published by Liturgical Press
- A Special Recognition Award goes to David Hajdu and John Carey for A Revolution in Three Acts: The Radical Vaudeville of Bert Williams, Eva Tanguay, and Julian Eltinge, published by Columbia University Press
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Awards in the concert field go to:
- Bryan Simms and Charlotte Erwin for Berg, published by Oxford University Press
- Joseph Horowitz‘ Dvořák’s Prophecy: And the Vexed Fate of Black Classical Music, published by W. W. Norton & Company
The ASCAP Foundation Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award for pop music honors Alan Sukoenig for Retrospect in Retirement of Delay: The Solo Recordings by Hasaan Ibn Ali on Omnivore Recordings.
A Special Recognition Award is given to Ted Olson for Doc Watson’s— Life’s Work: A Retrospective on Craft Recordings.
The “Loved the Liner Notes” Award was established in 2016 and is funded by Paul Williams, President of The ASCAP Foundation.
The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Broadcast/Media Award in concert music recognizes the Houston Symphony streaming concerts, https://houstonsymphony.org/listenathome/, for their creative ensembles during the lockdowns and the uninterrupted continuation of their programming.
The Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Broadcast/Media Award in pop music recognizes Toward Castle Films’ The Songpoet (Paul Lamont , Producer/ Director and Scott Sackett, Producer), a biographical documentary on Eric Andersen, a singer-songwriter in the vanguard of the folk music scene in the ’60s whose career continues to the present day.
The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards judging panel is comprised of ASCAP members Stella Sung, Paul Moravec, (2020/2021 Concert), Terry Radigan and Dom Flemons, (2021 pop), Julie Flanders and David Massengill (2020 pop). Jim Steinblatt provided professional guidance and advice.
More information about The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards is available at https://www.ascapfoundation.org/ascapfoundation/programs/awards/deems-taylor-virgil-thomson
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs for songwriters, composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org
The purpose of the Virgil Thomson Foundation is to further and promote the performance, preservation, dissemination and public appreciation of serious music in general and the music and writings of Virgil Thomson in particular. http://www.virgilthomson.org
SOURCE The ASCAP Foundation