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The American Musical Instrument Society

Stephen Cottrell (l) with committee chair Tom MacCracken

Robert Bigio (l) receives his award from President Al Rice



Recipients |

The Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize

One of two publication prizes, the Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize is awarded for the most distinguished book-length work in English which best furthers the Society's goal "to promote study of the history, design, and use of musical instruments in all cultures and from all periods." The first award in this category was given in 1989 and has been awarded in odd-numbered years thereafter. In 2009, the Board of Governors elected to make it an annual award.

The prize consists of the sum of $500 and a certificate, and the winner is announced at the Society's annual meeting and in the Society's Newsletter. Nominations (including self-nominations) and copies of the book nominated should be submitted by November 15 to the committee chair: Tula Giannini,


2017 Christopher Page, The Guitar in Tudor England: A Social and Musical History (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015)

2016 Rollin Smith, Pipe Organs of the Rich and Famous (OHS Press, 2014)

2015 Stephen Cottrell, The Saxophone.  (New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2013).

2014 Sabine Klaus, Trumpets and Other High Brass: A History Inspired by the Joe R. and Joella F. Utley Collection, vol. 1, Instruments of the Single Harmonic Series (Vermillion: National Music Museum, 2012).

2013 Robert Bigio, Rudall, Rose & Carte: The Art of the Flute in Britain (London: Tony Bingham, 2011).

2012 Mauricio Molina for Frame Drums in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula
(Kassel: Edition Reichenberger, 2010).

2011 Albert R. Rice for From the Clarinet d'Amour to the Contra Bass: A History of Large Size Clarinets, 1740-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009).

2010 Ingrid Maren Furniss for Music in Ancient China: An Archaeological and Art Historical Study of Strings, Winds, and Drums during the Eastern Zhou and Han Periods.  (Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, 2008).

2009 Nick Collins and Julio d’Escrivan for The
Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music
(Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

2007 Geoffrey Burgess and Bruce Haynes for The Oboe (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004). 

2005 Ardal Powell for The Flute, The Yale Musical Instrument Series (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002)

2003 Matthew Spring for The Lute in Britain: A History of the Instrument and Its Music. Oxford University Press, 2001.

2001 Bernard Brauchli, The Clavichord (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

1999 Stephen Bicknell, The English Organ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).

1997 John G. Koster, Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994); and

1997 Stewart Pollens, The Early Pianoforte (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).

1995 Robert Barclay, The Art of the Trumpet-Maker; The Materials, Tools, and Techniques of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in Nuremberg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).

1993 Grant O'Brien, Ruckers: A Harpsichord and Virginal Building Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990).

1991 Edmund A. Bowles, Musical Ensembles in Festival Books 1500-1800: An Iconographical & Documentary Survey (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989); and

1991 Martha Maas and Jane McIntosh Snyder, Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989).

1989 Mary Remnant, English Bowed Instruments from Anglo-Saxon to Tudor Times (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986).

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