Awards / Grants

The Frances Densmore Prize

One of two publication prizes, the Frances Densmore Prize is awarded for the most distinguished article-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 1988 and has been awarded in even-numbered years thereafter. In 2009, the Board of Governors voted to make the award annually. 

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 publication nominated should be submitted by November 15.

Questions or nominations? Contact

2020 Recipient

Jaime E. Oliver La Rosa

The 2020 Densmore Prize goes to Jaime E. Oliver La Rosa for his article “Theremin in the Press: Instrument remediation and code-instrument transduction,” published in the journal Organised Sound 23/3 (December 2018): 256-69.

This essay is a thorough and thoughtful account of the invention and early life of the theremin during the 1920s and 30s, covering aspects of its design, the social context in which it arose, and the ways it was used in musical performances.

Previous Recipients

Title
Year
Citation
Jaime E. Oliver La Rosa
2020
Robert Adelson
2019
“‘A Museum of Its Own’ – The Musical Instrument Collection of Antonio Guatier (1825-1904) in Nice," Galpin Society Journal, Volume LXX, 2017
Yuanzheng Yang
2018
“Typological Analysis of the Chinese Qin in the Late Bronze Age,” in the Galpin Society Journal LXIX (2016): 137–151.
Allen Roda
2017
“The Tabla Past and Present: Analysis of Materials in India’s Most Iconic Drums,” The Galpin Society Journal, LXVIII, March 2015
Megan Rancier
2016
“The Musical Instrument as National Archive: A Case Study of the Kazakh Qyl-qobyz” Ethnomusicology, Fall 2014 (58/3)
Lance Whitehead and Jenny Nex
2016
“The Insurance of Musical London and the Sun Fire Office 1710-1779” The Galpin Society Journal LXVII (2014)
Edmond Johnson
2015
“The Death and Second Life of the Harpsichord” Journal of Musicology 30/2, (Spring 2013), 180-214.
Arnold Myers
2014
"How Different are Cornets and Trumpets?" Historic Brass Society Journal 24 (2012), 113-128.
John Koster
2013
“A Harpsichord by Diego Fernandez?”, The Galpin Society Journal LXIV (March 2011), pp. 5-48.
David Lasocki
2012
"New Light on the History of the Keyed Bugle." Historic Brass Society Journal 21:11-50 (2009) and 22:19-54 (2010).
George S. Bozart and Margaret Debenham, with collaborator David Cripps
2011
"Piano Wars: the Legal Machinations of London Pianoforte Makers, 1795-1806," Royal Musical Association Research Chronicle XLII (2009), 45-108.
Rita Steblin
2010
“Viennese Woodwind Makers in the Classical Era, with Emphasis on Friedrich Lempp’s Request for Protection in 1768,” Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society XXXIV (2008), 26-73.
Patrizio Barbieri
2008
“Roman and Neapolitan Gut Strings 1550-1950.” Galpin Society Journal 59 (2006):147-182.
Robert Howe
2006
"The Boehm Système Oboe and its Role in the Development of the Modern Oboe." The Galpin Society Journal 56 (2003): 27-60.
Stewart Carter
2004
"The Gütter Family: Wind Instrument Makers and Dealers to the Moravian Brethren in America." Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 27 (2001): 48-83.
Michael Greenberg
2002
"The Double-Bass Class at the Paris Conservatory, 1826-1832,"Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 26 (2000): 83-140.
Sabine K. Klaus
2000
"German Square Pianos with Prellmechanik in Major American Museum Collections: Distinguishing Characteristics of Regional Schools in the Late Eighteenth and Early Nineteenth Centuries," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, 25 (1998): 27-80.
Sam Quigley
1998
"The Raffles Gamelan at Claydon House," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society,22 (1996): 5-41.
Philip F. Gura
1996
"Manufacturing Guitars for the American Parlor: James Ashborn's Wolcottville, Connecticut, Factory, 1851-56," Journal of the American Antiquarian Society (1994): 117-56
Darcy Kuronen
1994
"The Musical Instruments of Benjamin Crehore," Journal of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, 4 (1992): 52-77.
Cecil Adkins
1992
"Oboes Beyond Compare: The Instruments of Hendrik and Fredrik Richters," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society, 16 (1990): 42-117.
Robert S. Winter
1990
"The Significance of Striking Points in the Evolution of the Romantic Piano," Journal of Musicology 6, No. 3 (1988): 267-92.
Bruce Haynes
1988
"Questions of Tonality in Bach's Cantatas: The Woodwind Perspective," Journal of the American Musical Instrument Society 12 (1986): 40-67.