The ASCAP Foundation likes to name awards after songwriters. Take the Johnny Mandel Prize. The foundation established the award to further the career of an aspiring jazz composer who is also a recipient of the Herb Alpert Young Jazz Composer Award. (Mandel is also an ASCAP Foundation Board member.)
Then there's the foundation's Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, which are granted annually to encourage talented young composers of concert (i.e. classical) music.
Which brings us to today's most recent ASCAP named-after-a-songwriter prize, the Jamie deRoy & Friends Award. The prize, which is funded by the Jamie deRoy Charitable Trust, is presented to an ASCAP songwriter (either composer, lyricist or team of writers) whose work has been of a "high and consistent level of professionalism." The recipient is selected by a panel of music industry professionals.
Ms. deRoy is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer and performer. So it would stand to reason that nominees for the award should be from the world of Broadway and musical theater rather than, say, the blues or classical, right? Right.
This year's winner of the $1,250 award is Benjamin Scheuer, the writer and performer of the "gripping, highly acclaimed" autobiographical solo show The Lion.
The show, which consists of just Scheur and his guitar, will embark on a national tour beginning August 22, 2015 at the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (Lowell, Massachusetts), and will also play the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre (Milwaukee, WI), Geva Theatre Center (Rochester, NY), Arena Stage (Washington, DC), and City Theatre Company (Pittsburgh, PA).
The grant falls in line with the foundation's work in funding aspiring songwriters. As my colleague Emily Youssef notes, the foundation regularly donates a total of over $1 million each year to organizations and individuals across the U.S. The average grant is between $1,500 and $3,000 to individual programs, particularly to those that develop aspiring songwriters and composers.
For example, the foundation recently awarded $3,000 to the Visionary Media Group's Advanced Songwriters Workshop to support four 10-week workshops to advance the talent of emerging songwriters with blindness by exposing them to the craft and business of pop songwriting.
For more information on the foundation's grants for music, check our Funder profile here.