Music Journalism on Dolly Parton, Woody Guthrie & More Wins at 2022 ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards
The 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 cover a wide range of musical subjects, from legends such as Dolly Parton and Billie Holiday to less-celebrated figures such as soul and blues singer Denise LaSalle and jazz pianists Hasaan Ibn Ali and Mary Lou Williams.
These awards were established in 1967 to honor the memory of composer, critic and commentator Deems Taylor, who had died the previous year after a distinguished career that included six years as president of ASCAP.
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.
Nora Guthrie and Robert Santelli were among the winners for their book Woody Guthrie: Songs and Art * Words and Wisdom, published by Chronicle Books. Nora Guthrie is Woody Guthrie’s daughter. Santelli is a noted Guthrie authority. She won a Grammy 15 years ago for best historical album as a compilation producer of The Live Wire — Woody Guthrie in Performance 1949. He received a Grammy nomination 10 years ago in that same category as a compilation producer of Woody at 100: The Woody Guthrie Centennial Collection.
Here are the winners in various categories:
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Awards in pop music for titles published in 2020:
- 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:
- 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)
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for an article in the pop music field:
- Jon Ross for “Marion Brown’s Musical Portrait of Georgia,” published in The Bitter Southerner.
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award for an article in the concert music field:
- Rita Pyrillis for “Native Sounds,” published by Symphony.
Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the pop music field:
- Lewis Porter for “The United States vs. Billie Holiday vs. the Truth,” published in JazzTimes.
Virgil Thomson Award for Outstanding Music Criticism in the concert music field:
- Nancy Malitz for her Symphony article, “Musicians in the Spotlight.”
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Book Awards in pop:
- Nora Guthrie and Robert Santelli for 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:
- 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
ASCAP Foundation Paul Williams “Loved the Liner Notes” Award in pop music:
- Alan Sukoenig for Retrospect in Retirement of Delay: The Solo Recordings by Hasaan Ibn Ali on Omnivore Recordings.
(This award was established in 2016 and is funded by Paul Williams, president of The ASCAP Foundation.)
A special recognition award is given to Ted Olson for Doc Watson’s– Life’s Work: A Retrospective on Craft Recordings.
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Broadcast/Media Award in concert music:
- The Houston Symphony streaming concerts, for their creative ensembles during the lockdowns and the uninterrupted continuation of their programming.
Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Broadcast/Media Award in pop music:
- 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 are made possible by the generous support of the Virgil Thomson Foundation. Virgil Thomson (1896 – 1989) was a top American composer and critic of the 20th century, and a former member of the ASCAP board of directors.
The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards judging panel is comprised of ASCAP members Stella Sung, Paul Moravec, (2020/21 concert), Terry Radigan and Dom Flemons, (2021 pop), Julie Flanders and David Massengill (2020 pop). Former ASCAP executive Jim Steinblatt provided professional guidance and advice.
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. This encompasses songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs for songwriters, composers and lyricists.
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.
More information about The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards is available here.