Awards of The Society for American Music


Irving Lowens Award for Best Book

Irving Lowens Award for Best Article

Housewright Dissertation Award

Mark Tucker Award for Outstanding Student Paper

H. Earle Johnson Bequest for Book Publication Subvention

Sight and Sound

Student Travel Endowment Fund




H. Earle Johnson Bequest for Book Publication Subvention

H. Earle Johnson, pioneer scholar of music in America, was a founding member, former Vice President, and first Chairman of the Publications Committee of the Sonneck Society (now the Society for American Music). He served the Society with enthusiasm and dedication tempered by realistic vision and sound judgment. His contributions to scholarly study of music in America are numerous, the quality and significance of which are reflected by ubiquitous references to his works in scholarly publications. Johnson was a member of the music faculty at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, from 1937-1942 and 1946-1953, a visiting professor of music at Temple University in Philadelphia, and a professor in the Eminent Scholars Program of the College of William Mary in 1975, He continued at William and Mary as a visiting professor until his retirement in 1983. Early in his career, as a critic for the New Haven Register, Earle developed an ear and heart for the performers of music. Though music criticism ceased to serve as his means of livelihood, he retained an avid interest in concert life and continued to be charitable in supporting and encouraging performers and organizations. In recognition of his many contributions to the history of American music and his service to the Society, H. Earle Johnson was elected as an Honorary Member in 1986.

The H. Earle Johson Book Publication Subvention Award of the Society for American Music is intended to support the costs of the publication of a significant monograph on an important topic in American Music.

This fund is administered by the Book Publications Committee and provides two subventions up to $2,500 annually. The deadline for application is 15 November.





Sight and Sound

This subvention fund is administered by the Sight and Sound Committee and provides annual subventions of approximately $700-$900. The deadline for application is 15 November.

Application Information.

Works Published with the Assistance of SAM Subventions




Irving Lowens Memorial Awards

Irving Lowens' research and writing in American music not only form a cornerstone for American music history, but also are largely responsible for making the study of American music a respected and thriving area in musicology today. As the principal founder of the Sonneck Society (now the Society for American Music) and its first president from 1974 to 1981, Irving Lowens has often been regarded as the guiding spirit for the Society. During his remarkable career he became distinguished in music criticism, musicology, and music librarianship. In his positions as music critic for the Washington Star (1953-1977), music reference librarian at the Library of Congress (1962-1966), and as Dean at the Peabody Conservatory of Music (1977-1982), he served in turn the public, the scholar, and the music student. The Irving Lowens Memorial Awards commemorate this remarkable man and his contributions to the study of American music.

These awards consist of a plaque and cash award given annually for a book and an article that make outstanding contributions to American music studies.

The Society annually awards the prize for the book judged as the best in the field of American music. The Lowens Book Award represents our most prestigious honor and carries with it a monetary prize as well as a citation which is presented at the National Conference in the Spring.

Book Award Application Information.

The Irving Lowens Article Award is offered by the Society for American Music each year for an article that, in the judgment of the awards committee, makes an outstanding contribution to the study of American music
or music in America.

Article Award Application Information.

Previous Irving Lowens Awards




Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award

The Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award is designed to recognize a single dissertation on American music for its exceptional depth, clarity, significance, and overall contribution to the field. "American" is understood here to embrace all of North America, including Central America and the Caribbean, and aspects of its cultures elsewhere in the world.

Dissertations from American Studies, American history, and other fields beyond theory, musicology, and ethnomusicology are welcome as long as the primary focus of the work is a musical topic.

This award consists of a plaque and cash award presented at the National Conference in the Spring.

Application Information.

Previous Dissertation Awards




Student Travel Endowment

Grants are available for student members who wish to attend the annual conference. These funds are intended to help with the cost of travel.

Application Information.




Mark Tucker Award

Mark Tucker, Vice President of the Society for American Music at the time of his death in December 2000, is known to most SAM members as a leading jazz scholar; his Ellington: The Early Years and his Duke Ellington Reader are landmarks in Ellington scholarship and models of musical biography. Recognizing Mark's gift for nurturing and inspiring his own students and the high value he placed on skillful and communicative scholarly writing, and wishing to honor his memory, the Board of the Society for American Music has established the Mark Tucker Award, to be presented at the Business Meeting of the annual SAM conference to a student presenter who has written an outstanding paper for delivery at that conference.

Application Information


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Society for American Music
Stephen Foster Memorial
University of Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
email: sam@