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 The Duke Ellington Reader are landmarks in Ellington scholarship and models of musical biography. But Mark was deeply interested in many aspects of American music besides jazz. He wrote papers, participated in performances, and published pieces dealing with topics as diverse as Charles Ives’s love of the Adirondacks, 19th-century parlor song, the compositions of Alec Wilder, the musical plays of Braham, Harrigan, and Hart, and hip-hop.

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 who has written an outstanding paper for delivery at that conference. The recipient of the award, which consists of a modest amount of cash and a more significant amount of recognition, will be decided before the conference by a committee appointed annually.



Students who will be reading individual papers or presenting a poster are eligible for the Mark Tucker Award. Note: Seminar papers are not eligible for the Tucker Award.


Application Requirements

In addition to the application form, please supply a research paper that fits within the time slot of the conference’s twenty-minute individual paper presentation limit (approximately ten double-spaced pages).



January 15


Past Winners

Year Winners
2018 Katie Callam, “Advocating for 'the old songs which their ancestors sang’: Kitty Cheatham as Curator of African-American Spirituals”
2017 Brian Wright, “Re-Writing the History of Motown: The James Jamerson/Carol Kaye Controversy”
2016 Samuel Parler, “Racial Nationalism and Class Ambivalence in Carson Robison’s World War II Songs”
2015 Michael Uy, “Staging Catfish Row in the Soviet Union: The Everyman Opera Company and Porgy and Bess, 1955–1956”
2014 Hannah Lewis, “Love Me Tonight (1932) and the Development of the Integrated Film Musical”
2013 Emily M. Gale, “Sentimental Songs for Sentimental Men”
2012 Glenda Goodman, “A ‘Phrenzy of Accomplishments’; or, the Power of Sentimental Songs”
2011 Dana C. Gorzelany-Mostak, “The Hip-Hop Dalai Lama vs. An American Girl: Soundscapes, Ideology, and American Identity in the 2008 Democratic Primary”
2010 William Cheng, “A Question of Co-Hobbitation: Towards a Musical Democracy in The Lord of the Rings Online”
2009 Christine Fena, “The ‘Piano Technician’ and his ‘Unfortunate Piano’: Henry Cowell in the Machine Age”
2008 Loren Kajikawa, “Eminem’s ‘My Name Is’: Signifyin(g) Whiteness, Rearticulating Race”
2007 Nathan Platte, “The Happy Farmer, the Silent Cinema, and the Art of Musical Quotation in Herbert Stothart’s Score for The Wizard of Oz (1939)”
2006 Jessica Courtier, “Vocal Fantasies: Race, Masculinity, and Vocal Performance in Rudy Vallee’s Musical Doctor and Louis Armstrong’s Rhapsody in Black and Blue
2005 Bethany Kissell, “Bernstein’s Personal Statement: Jewish and American Identity in the Jeremiah”
2004 Larry Hamberlin, “Caruso and His Cousins: Portraits of Italian Americans in the Operatic Novelty”
2003 Jewel A. Smith, “Education Philosophy in Nineteenth-Century American Female Seminaries: Music and the ‘Ideal of Real Womanhood’”
2002 Charles Hiroshi Garrett, “Louis Armstrong and the Sound of Migration”