The John Lennon Scholarships are an annual competition open to student songwriters and composers of contemporary musical genres including alternative, pop, rock, indie, electronica, R&B, and experimental. Over the past eighteen years, more than $360,000 in scholarships has been awarded to talented young musicians from colleges and universities throughout the United States, making this award one of the nation’s most esteemed accolades for emerging songwriters. Established in 1997 by Yoko Ono in conjunction with the BMI Foundation, this scholarship program honors the memory of one of the preeminent songwriters of the 20th century: John Lennon. Lennon’s enormous creative legacy includes such songs as, “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” “Strawberry Fields,” “Imagine,” “I Am the Walrus,” “All You Need Is Love,” and “Come Together,” and continues to inspire and uplift new generations of music lovers around the world.
Through the generosity of Ono and Gibson Musical Instruments, three scholarships totaling $20,000 are presented annually for the best original songs submitted to the competition. Applicants must be U.S. college students between the ages of 17 and 24. Works are judged by a prestigious panel of music publishers, songwriters, and executives that in past years has included Tony-winning theater composers Maury Yeston and Frank Wildhorn, prominent jazz specialist Suzan Jenkins, accomplished songwriters Teron Beal, Jeff Cohen, Benny Blanco, and Charles Fox, and Grammy-winning record producers Russ Titelman and the late Arif Mardin. Broadcast Music Inc.’s Assistant VP of Writer-Publisher Relations, Samantha Cox, oversees the competition. Cox has worked to build the careers of numerous major recordings artists, including Lady Gaga, Ke$ha, and 3 Doors Down, and lends her rich, varied experience for supporting new talent to her role as the program’s Director. Many of our John Lennon Scholarships winners have gone on to create successful careers in recorded music, theater, and concert performance. Prior winners include: Bora Yoon, composer/performer and TED fellow; Lynda DeFuria, singer/songwriter and Off-Broadway actress; Svoy, recording artist; and Andrew Horowitz, performer and composer/producer for Grammy-winning artist John Legend.