Irving Lowens Article Award


Irving Lowens’ research and writing in American music form a cornerstone for American music history. As the principal founder of the Sonneck Society (now the Society for American Music) and its first president from 1974 to 1981, he was largely responsible for making the study of American music a respective and thriving area in musicology today. 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 Article Award commemorates this remarkable man and his achievements. It is granted annually by the Society for American Music for an article that makes an outstanding contribution to the study of American music, and consists of a plaque and cash award.



Articles eligible for consideration include studies on any aspect of music of the United States, together with investigations of American practices as they inform and intersect with musical cultures and traditions beyond U.S. national boundaries.

The article might have been published in either a peer-reviewed journal or an edited collection. The committee particularly appreciates nominations of articles from collections, because these are harder for us to locate. Authors or nominators of articles in languages other than English must be accompanied by a translation.

We invite nominations for the Society’s Irving Lowens Article Award for an article published in 2019 “that makes an outstanding contribution to American music studies.” 


Application Requirements

To submit an article for consideration, click here.



June 1


Past Winners

Year Winners
2019 Christopher Wells, “’A Dreadful Bit of Silliness’: Feminine Frivolity and Ella Fitzgerald’s Early Critical Reception” Women and Music: A Journal of Gender and Culture, 2017, Vol.21
2016 Gayle Magee, “‘She’s a Dear Old Lady’: English Canadian Popular Songs from World War I,” American Music, Volume 34
2015 Michael Iyanaga, “Why Saints Love Samba: A Historical Perspective on Black Agency and the Rearticulation of Catholicism in Bahia, Brazil” Black Music Research Journal, Volume 35
2014 Douglas W. Shadle, “How Santa Claus Became a Slave Driver: The Work of Print Culture in a Nineteenth-Century Musical Controversy” Journal of the Society for American Music, Volume 8
2013 Scott A. Carter, “Forging a Sound Citizenry: Voice Culture and the Embodiment of the Nation, 1880–1920,” American Music Research Journal, Volume 22
2012 Mark Burford, “Sam Cooke as Pop Album Artist–A Reinvention in Three Songs” Journal of the American Musicological Society, Volume 65
2011 Karen Ahlquist, “Musical Assimilation and ‘the German Element’ at the Cincinnati Sängerfest, 1879” Musical Quarterly, Volume 94
2010 Amy Wlodarski , “The Testimonial Aesthetics of Different Trains”, Journal of the American Musicological Society, Volume 63
2009 Cristina Magaldi, “Cosmopolitanism and World Music in Rio de Janeiro at the Turn of the Twentieth Century” Musical Quarterly, Volume 92
2008 Brian Harker, “Louis Armstrong, Eccentric Dance, and the Evolution of Jazz on the Eve of Swing,” Journal of the American Musicological Society, Spring, 2008
2007 Nancy Yunhwa Rao, “Ruth Crawford’s Imprint on Contemporary Composition” in Ruth Crawford Seeger’s Worlds: Innovation and Tradition in Twentieth-Century American Music, ed. Ray Allen and Ellie Hisama (University of Rochester Press, 2007)
2006 Leta E. Miller, “Henry Cowell and John Cage: Intersections and Influences, 1933–1941” Journal of the American Musicological Society, Spring, 2006
2005 Beth Levy, “From Orient to Occident: Aaron Copland and the Sagas of the Prairie,” in Aaron Copland and His World, edited by Carol J. Oja and Judith Tick (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005)
2004 Jairo Moreno, “Bauzá—Gillespie—Latin/Jazz: Difference, Modernity, and the Black Caribbean,” South Atlantic Quarterly 103:1 (Winter 2004)
2003 Stanley V. Kleppinger, “On the Influence of Jazz Rhythm in the Music of Aaron Copland,” American Music Volume 21, No. 1, Spring 2003
2002 J. Peter Burkholder, “The Organist in Ives” Journal of the American Musicological Society, Summer 2002
2001 Guthrie Ramsey, Jr., “Who Hears Here? Black Music, Critical Bias, and the Musicological Skin Trade” Musical Quarterly, Volume 85, No.1 (2001)
2000 John Graziano, “The Early Life and Career of the ‘Black Patti’: The Odyssey of an African American Singer in the Late Nineteenth Century,” Journal of the American Musicological Society (Fall 2000)
1999 Brian Harker, “‘Telling a Story’: Louis Armstrong and Coherence in Early Jazz” Current Musicology, Vol. 63, 1999
1998 Carol Hess, “John Philip Sousa’s ‘El Capitan’: Political Appropriation and the Spanish-American War” American Music, Spring 1998
1997 Kim H. Kowalke, “For Those We Love: Hindemith, Whitman, and An American Requiem” Journal of the American Musicological Society
1996 Mark Tucker, “In Search of Will Vodery” Black Music Research Journal
1995 Kim H. Kowalke, “Kurt Weill, Modernism, and Popular Culture: Offentlichkeit als Stil” Modernism/Modernity
1994 John Spitzer, “’Oh! Susannah’ : Oral Transmission and Tune Transformation” Journal of the American Musicological Society
1993 Judith Tick, “Charles Ives and Gender Ideology” Music and Difference
1992 Robert Walser, “Eruptions: Heavy Metal Appropriations of Classical Virtuosity” Popular Music
1991 Scott DeVeaux, “Constructing the Jazz Tradition: Jazz Historiography” Black American Literature Forum