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.
The 2020 Nicholas Bessaraboff Prize for best book-length publication that furthers the society's mission is awarded to Robert B. Winans and colleagues for the book Banjo Roots and Branches (Champaign-Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2018). This collection presents research on the African and Caribbean roots of the banjo from new perspectives. It explores the banjo as a slave instrument, and finally its multiple uses as folk and minstrel instrument in the nineteenth and twentieth century from both black and white perspectives.
The Golden Age of Flemish Harpsichord Making: A Study of the MIM’s Ruckers Instruments (Brussels: Musical Instruents Museum, 2017).
Michael Fleming and John Bryan
Early English Viols: Instruments, Makers and Music (London: Routledge, 2016)
The Guitar in Tudor England: A Social and Musical History (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2015)
Pipe Organs of the Rich and Famous (OHS Press, 2014)
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).
Rudall, Rose & Carte: The Art of the Flute in Britain (London: Tony Bingham, 2011).
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).
The Flute, The Yale Musical Instrument Series (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002)
The Lute in Britain: A History of the Instrument and Its Music. Oxford University Press, 2001.
The Clavichord (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
The English Organ (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996).
Keyboard Musical Instruments in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (Boston: Museum of Fine Arts, 1994)
The Early Pianoforte (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995).
The Art of the Trumpet-Maker; The Materials, Tools, and Techniques of the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries in Nuremberg (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992).
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)
English Bowed Instruments from Anglo-Saxon to Tudor Times (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1986)