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Awards / Grants

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.

Questions or nominations? Contact

2024 Recipient

Tom Beghin

The 2024 Bessaraboff Prize is awarded to Tom Beghin, for "Beethoven’s French Piano: A Tale of Ambition and Frustration," written in collaboration with Robin Blanton, Chris Maene, Michael Pecak, and Tilman Skowroneck (University of Chicago Press, 2022).

Previous Recipients

Receipient Name
Robert Adelson
Erard: A Passion for the Piano (New York: Oxford University Press, 2021)
Murray Campbell, Joël Gilbert, and Arnold Myers
The Science of Brass Instruments (Cham, Switzerland: Springer Nature, 2021)
Matt Brennan
Kick It: A Social History of the Drum Kit (Oxford University Press, 2020)
David Lasocki
Jean-Baptiste Lully and the Flute: Recorder, Voice Flute, and Traverso (Instant Harmony, 2019)
Robert Winans
Banjo Roots and Branches (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2018)
Pascale Vandervellen
The Golden Age of Flemish Harpsichord Making: A Study of the MIM’s Ruckers Instruments (Brussels: Musical Instruments Museum, 2017)
Michael Fleming and John Bryan
Early English Viols: Instruments, Makers and Music (London: Routledge, 2016)
Christopher Page
The Guitar in Tudor England: A Social and Musical History (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015)
Rollin Smith
Pipe Organs of the Rich and Famous (OHS Press, 2014)
Stephen Cottrell
The Saxophone. (New Haven: Yale University Press, 2013)
Sabine K. 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)
Robert Bigio
Rudall, Rose & Carte: The Art of the Flute in Britain (London: Tony Bingham, 2011)
Mauricio Molina
Frame Drums in the Medieval Iberian Peninsula (Kassel: Edition Reichenberger, 2010)
Albert R. Rice
From the Clarinet d'Amour to the Contra Bass: A History of Large Size Clarinets, 1740-1860 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2009)
Ingrid Maren Furniss
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)
Nick Collins and Julio d'Escrivan
The Cambridge Companion to Electronic Music (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008)
Geoffrey Burgess and Bruce Haynes
The Oboe (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2004)
Ardal Powell
The Flute, The Yale Musical Instrument Series (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002)
Matthew Spring
The Lute in Britain: A History of the Instrument and Its Music (Oxford University Press, 2001)
Bernard Brauchli
The Clavichord (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998)
Stephen Bicknell
The English Organ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996)
John Koster
Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994)
Stewart Pollens
The Early Pianoforte (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 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)
Grant O'Brien
Ruckers: A Harpsichord and Virginal Building Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990)
Martha Mass and Jane McIntosh Snyder
Stringed Instruments of Ancient Greece (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1989)
Edmund A. Bowles
Musical Ensembles in Festival Books 1500-1800: An Iconographical & Documentary Survey (Ann Arbor: UMI Research Press, 1989)
Mary Remnant
English Bowed Instruments from Anglo-Saxon to Tudor Times (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986)
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