Virgil Thomson Fellowship


The Virgil Thomson Fellowship is awarded competitively to scholars at any phase of their careers whose research interest is focused on the history, creation, and analysis of American music on stage and screen, including opera. The Fellowship may support research expenses, including but not limited to travel expenses, books, and media resources. The maximum award is $4,000. The Society for American Music seeks to award fellowships to support a broad spectrum of research conducted by society members. Projects that have already received SAM fellowship support are not eligible to receive the Thomson Fellowship. A one-page budget and final report are to be submitted by the recipient to the Executive Director of the Society no more than one year after the award is presented.



To be eligible, an applicant must be a member in good standing of the Society.


Application Requirements

In addition to the application form, the applicant must supply the following materials:

  • A general description of the project, not to exceed 500 words. This should describe the relationship of the research to your scholarship, the intellectual rationale, significance to the field of American music, and expected outcome.
  • A plan of work, not to exceed 500 words. This should describe the various components of the research to be undertaken with fellowship funds and a timetable.
  • A detailed budget for all expenses requested.



November 1


Past Fellows

Year Fellow
2019 Ryan Ebright: “Making American Opera after Einstein”
Jake Johnson: “Re-Placing Broadway: Musical Theatre Everywhere”
2018 Rhae Lynn Barnes, Darkology: When the American Dream Wore Blackface
2018 Monica Hershberger, “Life Is Strife”: Women in and of American Opera during the Cold War
2017 James Leve, “Sights, Sounds, and Silences: Disability in Musical Theater”
Danielle Ward-Griffin, “Exporting Menotti: Maria Golovin at the Brussels World’s Fair”
2016 Elizabeth Titrington Craft, Yankee Doodle Dandy: George M. Cohan
 and the Making of American Identity
Marianne Betz, Musikgeschichte der USA
2015 Sally Bick, The Musical Politics of Hollywood Modernism

James Steichen, Balanchine and the Making of American Modernism, 1933-41
2014 Alice Miller Cotter, John Adams’s Political Operas