50th Anniversary of The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards Recognizes Music Books, Articles and Broadcasts On Copland, Mathis, Mitchell and More

October 30, 2018

2018 deems taylor logo

New York, Oct. 30, 2018: The legacy of music icons - including Aaron Copland, Johnny Mathis and Joni Mitchell - continues to inspire award-worthy creative works. These artists are among the subjects of recently named winners of the 50th annual ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards for outstanding print, broadcast and new media coverage of music.

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, 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.

The 2018 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards recipients are as follows:

The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the concert music field was awarded to Annegret Fauser for her work, Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring published by Oxford University Press. The book is a concise and lively introduction to the history of the work, its realization on stage, and its transformations over time.  It combines deep archival research and cultural interpretations to recount the creation of Appalachian Spring as a collaboration between three creative giants of 20th-century American art: Martha Graham, Aaron Copland and Isamu Noguchi.

The Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the pop music field recognizes Brent Hayes Edwards for his book, Epistrophies: Jazz and the Literary Imagination, published by Harvard University Press. The book explores the fertile interface between art-making and performance through case studies in jazz literature both writings informed by music and the surprisingly large body of writing by jazz musicians themselves.

The ASCAP Foundation Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award for pop music honors James Ritz for his work on the liner notes for The Voice of Romance: The Columbia Original Album Collection, released by Sony Music Entertainment, Inc./Legacy Recordings. The notes look at all the original albums Johnny Mathis recorded for Columbia over the course of his illustrious career.  This award was established in 2016 and is funded by The ASCAP Foundation President Paul Williams.

The Timothy White Award for Outstanding Music Biography in the pop music field recognizes The Ballad of John Latouche: An American Lyricist’s Life and Work by Howard Joel Pollack, published by Oxford University Press. This award honors the memory of the late Tim White (1952-2002), the author of many acclaimed music biographies and an editor-in-chief of Billboard magazine.

The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Radio Broadcast/Internet Award honors Meg Griffin for a lifetime of achievement as a pioneering rock and pop deejay. She is currently heard on SiriusXM Satellite Radio channels The Beatles Channel, Classic Vinyl, Deep Tracks, The Loft, The Spectrum and Tom Petty Radio and was previously on such stations as WNEW-FM, WPIX-FM and WFUV.

The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Media/Internet Award recognizes Rob Deemer, creator of The Composer Diversity Database, a free online website intended to help conductors, educators and researchers find composers from underrepresented groups primarily women composers and composers of color.

Other book honorees are:

  • Andrew James Hicks for Composing the World: Harmony in the Medieval Platonic Cosmos, published by Oxford University Press
  • Matthew Karush for Musicians in Transit: Argentina and the Globalization of Popular Music, published by Duke University Press
  • David Yaffe for Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell, published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux

The authors and publishers of award-winning articles are:

  • Ryan Ebright for his concert article ‘My Answer to What Music Theatre Can Be:’ Iconoclasm and Entrepreneurship in Steve Reich and Beryl Korot’s The Cave” in American Music, published by University of Illinois Press
  • Will Stephenson for his pop article “No Country for Old Men,” published in The New York Times

The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards Judging Panel for 2018 was composed of ASCAP members Eve Beglarian, Julie Flanders, David Massengill and Ezequiel Viñao. Jim Steinblatt provided professional guidance and advice.

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 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

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

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Cathy Halgas Nevins, ASCAP

Cnevins (at) ascap.com