The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards: Competition Guidelines

Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson

The specific details and requirements of The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/ Virgil Thomson Awards (the “Award”) are set forth below. Entry into the Award is subject to The ASCAP Foundation Official Awards Rules and Regulations (the “Rules”). To the extent not specifically defined below, all capitalized terms have the meaning set forth in the Rules


About the Awards

Historically, The ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards program has recognized books, articles and recording liner notes on the subject of music selected for their excellence. 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. The Awards were renamed in 2014 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. 


This year, due to circumstances beyond our control, we are accepting electronic submissions for articles and liner notes only. Books will not be considered for 2021. Please check back in 2022 for book submissions. We appreciate your understanding.



Eligibility Requirements

Eligible authors (“Entrants”) must be, at the time of entry: (a) a U.S. citizen, U.S. permanent resident or enrolled student with a valid and current U.S. student visa and (b) at least 18 years of age or the age of majority in the state or country of residence, whichever is older.


The following eligibility requirements apply to works submitted for consideration for the Award: Written works (i.e. concert articles, pop articles, and recording liner notes) must be written in English and published in the United States during calendar year 2020. The subject matter may be biographical or critical, reportorial or historical, about music and/or its creators. Instructional textbooks, how-to guides, compilations of articles or essays, or works of fiction will not be accepted. Reprints or translations of works that were previously published outside of the United States that were first published in the United States in 2020 are eligible.


If an article submitted as part of the Submission (as defined below) is co-written, all co-writers shall be considered Entrants and must consent to participation in the Award and satisfy these eligibility criteria, together with all other requirements set forth in the Rules.


Application Period

The “Application Period” begins at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time on April 8, 2021 and ends at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on June 4, 2021.


Submission Requirements

To be considered for the Award, Entrants must: (a) complete and electronically submit an Application available at and (b) submit electronically copy(ies) of articles, or recording liner notes pertaining to pop or concert music by the methods described below (clauses (a) and (b) are collectively referred to as the “Submission”).  Only one article or one recording liner notes may be submitted in each category per Entrant.


For recording liner notes, Entrants must submit digital copies of the work to the Foundation.  Recording liner notes should be limited to 4,500 words. For articles, Entrants must submit their work by uploading the article as part of his or her Online Application. Entrant’s full name and contact information should be submitted electronically.  All Applications and materials must be received by the Foundation prior to the end of the Application Period. 




Please email with any additional questions.


Judging Procedure & Criteria

Each eligible Submission will be reviewed as follows by judges, who are ASCAP members selected by the Foundation in the Foundation’s sole discretion.  Two judges will review and rank the Pop Submissions, and two judges will review and rank the Concert Submissions. Rankings will be based on the significance and quality of the Submissions.  Award-recipient selection resides within the sole discretion of the judges, whose decisions will be final and binding in all respects. 



In accordance with the Judging Procedure and Criteria above, the following monetary prizes totaling $2000.00 U.S. Dollars shall be awarded to Entrants (to be shared equally among all co-writers of the articles that are the subject of the Submission) as follows:


  • The Entrant of the highest rated Submission that is an article focusing on the Pop Music Genre, shall receive $250 (US Dollars);
  • The Entrant of the highest rated Submission that is an article focusing on the Concert Music Genre, shall receive $250 (US Dollars);
  • Two Entrants by nomination to receive the award for Radio/Broadcast and Internet shall each receive $250 (US Dollars);
  • Two Entrants by nomination to receive the award for Music Criticism in Pop ($250) and Concert ($250) (US Dollars); and
  • The Entrant of the highest rated Submission in the recording liner notes category shall receive $500 (US Dollars).

There is no official Award Ceremony in connection with this Award.


Notification Date of Award Recipients

October 29, 2021

Apply for the Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Awards