BMI Foundation President Theodora Zavin is pleased to announce the winners of the 4th Annual John Lennon Scholarship. They are Hunter College student Margarita Shamrakov, who received first place honors and a $10,000 scholarship for her piece “Tragedy”; Berklee College of Music students Ben Ward (“All Fall Down”) and Michael Flynn (“I’ll Never Fall in Love Again”), who tied for second place and each received $5,000; and third place winner Mark Tewarson from the New York Youth Symphony, who takes home a $2,000 scholarship for his song “Far From the Sun.” Finalists were chosen on March 19 by a panel of prestigious judges including Suzan Jenkins, Senior Vice President of Marketing at the RIAA, legendary record producer Arif Mardin, and multiple Tony award winner and theater composer Maury Yeston.
Four students were awarded an "Honorable Mention" and received a $1,000 scholarship: Southern Nazarene University student Troy DeLaRosa ("Brother To Me"), Rhode Island College student Thomas P. Conlon ("Broken"), University of Arizona student Frank Dillon ("Hard Times") and LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts student Daniel Romer-Friedman ("Saturday Night").
Established in 1997 by Yoko Ono in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, the John Lennon Scholarship recognizes the talent of young songwriters between the ages of 15 and 24 and has awarded over $65,000 in scholarship money over the past 4 years. Entries are submitted by music schools, universities, youth orchestras and the Music Educators National Conference (MENC).
“The Foundation expresses its deepest gratitude to Yoko’s steadfast support and incredible generosity to the endowment of this scholarship, which allows us to continue recognizing young talent,” said Zavin. “We are extremely pleased to see this program developing and gaining real momentum.”
Past winners include Barnard College student Aim�e M. Sims (“A Place To Belong”), Berklee College of Music students Anne Chandler (“Just For Tonight”) and Thomas Jordan Zed (“Show Me Who You Are”), University of Arizona Outreach Choir student David Ragland (“I Don’t Have the Blues”), Vanderbilt University Blair School of Music student Taylor Jones (“Why Can’t You Say”) and University of Miami student Carrie van Amerigen (“In My Life”). Songs that have earned an Honorable Mention include “A Coven of Coyotes” by Oberlin College Conservatory of Music student Walter Scharold, “I Cannot Lie to You” by New England Conservatory student Andreea Pauta, and “Trust and Promises,” co-written by Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art and Performing Arts students Cara Liguori and William Shih.
The BMI Foundation, founded in 1985 by BMI Senior Vice President Theodora Zavin, offers grants which make possible the continuation and development of creative programs for the composition of new music and the performance of these new compositions. With the aid of the distinguished writers, composers and publishers who serve on the Foundation’s Advisory Panel and the executive staff from BMI who serve as its officers, the Foundation’s grants offer a platform of support that fosters the growth of young composers and ensures the continuation of the heritage of American musical ingenuity for generations to come.