47th Annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Awards Presented Nov. 17 In NYC
November 18, 2015
NEW YORK, Nov. 17, 2015 - The 47th annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music were presented today at a private event at ASCAP headquarters in New York City. The Awards were 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. Last year the Awards were renamed to also honor the memory of Virgil Thomson (1896 – 1989), one of the leading American composers and critics of the 20th Century, and a former member of the ASCAP board of directors. The 47th ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards are made possible by the generous support of ASCAP, The ASCAP Foundation and the Virgil Thomson Foundation.
The invitation-only ceremony and reception hosted by ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams featured special performances related to the winning works. Tom Russell, author of “Bitter Tears & Mean as Hell: Johnny Cash in the Wild West,” performed a medley of Johnny Cash songs. Rowen Sabala and Rachel Calloway, accompanied by Paul M. Vasile on piano, performed an aria from multimedia award-winning opera, Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser.
The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Television Broadcast Award recognized Sharon Isbin: Troubadour, an American Public Television-produced documentary that provides an in-depth look at the career and musical impact of classical guitarist Isbin. Receiving honors were Sharon Isbin and Producer Susan Dangel.
The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Radio Broadcast Award honored the non-commercial, free-form radio station WFMU in Jersey City, NJ, for its eclectic and adventurous music programming over the course of decades. Recognized with awards were Station Manager/Program Director Ken Freedman and Music Director Brian Turner.
The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Multimedia Award recognized the inter-related components of Vireo: The Spiritual Biography of a Witch’s Accuser, an opera composed by Lisa Bielawa with libretto by Erik Ehn, and directed by Charles Otte. Vireo was created for episodic release via broadcast and online media, presented in partnership by California public television station KCET and Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center. Honors went to Bielawa, Ehn, Otte, KCET VP & Executive Producer of Artbound Juan Devis and Grand Central Art Center (GCAC) Director/Chief Curator John Spiak.
The Nicolas Slonimsky Award for Outstanding Musical Biography in the concert music field honored Ellen T. Harris for her book George Frideric Handel: A Life with Friends, published by Norton. This award was established to honor the memory of Slonimsky (1894-1995), the Russian-American composer, conductor, musicologist and critic.
The Timothy White Award for Outstanding Musical Biography in the pop music field recognized Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, written Rick Bragg and published by Harper. This award honors the memory of the late Tim White (1952-2002), the author of many acclaimed musical biographies and an Editor-in-Chief of Billboard magazine.
The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the concert music field recognized David Brodbeck for his book, Defining Deutschtum: Political Ideology, German Identity and Music-Critical Discourse in Liberal Vienna, published by Oxford University Press.
The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the pop music field recognized Greil Marcus for his book, The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs, published by Yale University Press.
Other book honorees were:
- Wye Jamison Allanbrook (deceased) for The Secular Commedia: Comic Mimesis in Late Eighteenth Century Music, published by University of California Press.
- Jennifer Fleeger for Mismatched Women: The Siren’s Song through the Machine, published by Oxford University Press.
- Dennis McNally for On Highway 61: Music, Race and the Evolution of Cultural Freedom, published by Counterpoint.
- Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis for On Repeat: How Music Plays the Mind, published by Oxford University Press.
The authors and publishers of the award-winning articles are:
- James Gavin for his article “The Gates of the Underworld: Inside Slug’s Saloon, Jazz’s Most Notorious Nightclub:” published by JazzTimes.
- Marek Poliks for his four-part series on “New Music and Quality” in newmusicbox.org, published by NewMusicUSA.
- Tom Russell for his article “Bitter Tears & Mean as Hell: Johnny Cash in the Wild West” published by Ranch & Reata Magazine.
- Peter Schmelz for his article “Valentin Silvestrov and the Echoes of Music History” published by The Journal of Musicology.
- Douglas W. Shadle for his article “How Santa Claus Became a Slave Driver: The Work of Print Culture in a Nineteenth-Century Musical Controversy” published by The Journal of the Society for American Music.
- Michael Simmons for his liner notes, “Michael Bloomfield – Who Is That Guitar Player,” from the album, Michael Bloomfield: From His Head to His Heart to His Hands released by Sony Legacy Recordings.
- Sam Stephenson for his article “An Absolute Truth: On Writing a Life of Coltrane” published by The Paris Review.
- John Jeremiah Sullivan for his article “The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie: On the Trail of the Phantom Women who Changed American Music and Then Vanished without a Trace” published by The New York Times Magazine.
- Joshua Walden for his article “The ‘Yidishe Paganini’: Sholem Aleichem’s Stempenyu, the Music of Yiddish Theatre, and the Character of the Shtetl Fiddler” published by The Journal of the Royal Musical Association.
The members of The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards Judging Panel for 2015 are Jonathan David, Daniel Felsenfeld, Julie Flanders, Pat Irwin, David Massengill, Richard Miller Paul Moravec, Matthew Shipp, and Wesley Stace.
About The ASCAP Foundation
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, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org
About the Virgil Thomson Foundation
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
# # # #