Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards

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It's about the words and music.

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Fri, April 12, 2024 | 7pm

2024 Finalists Concert & Awards Ceremony

Join us for this exciting concert of original songs written by the 2024 finalists, who will be announced in February. A panel of three esteemed judges, distinguished musicians from across the industry, will provide feedback following each performance and announce the winner at the end of the show.

Tickets & More Information

The Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards honors the best songwriters in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, DC.

The contest will award one songwriter a grand prize of $10,000, 25 hours of recording studio time, and 2 hours of music business strategy consulting.

Cash prizes will be awarded to the second-place winner ($2,500) and to all other finalists ($1,000). All finalists will receive features on Strathmore's social media platforms. 

A young songwriter who is 17 or younger will also be honored with an award of $2,500. All other youth finalists will receive a cash prize of $500.

Now in its eighth year, the competition will be presented by Strathmore for the first time, and the final performance will take place at the Music Center at Strathmore on April 12, 2024. 

2023/24 applications are open through November 30, 2023.

Application Procedures & Information

Application Form

About the Competition  

The Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards are presented annually, honoring the best adult and youth songwriters in the region through a multi-level adjudication process, culminating in a live performance featuring the nominated songs.

The competition, founded by Cathy Bernard, is named in honor of her uncle Fred Ebb, a great American songwriter and creator of Broadway hits such as Cabaretand Chicagoas well as iconic songs including "New York, New York."

Learn More

2022/23 Winners

Josh Lay

Adult Category

Josh Lay

Josh Lay is a native of Baltimore, MD and a proud graduate of Baltimore City College High School. He went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Morgan State University where he traveled the world performing with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Bobby McFerrin, Stevie Wonder, and many more. After graduation, Lay had the pleasure of writing and producing on major awarded projects as well as TV and Film. His authentic sound captivates audiences and touches souls. In 2019, Lay released his first full length R&B album, In So Many Words. Recently he released a gospel single, "Never Too Cool," which features Pastor Jason Nelson. Lay also is a proud member of the Recording Academy. 

Explore Past Winners (Adult Category)

Strathmore is grateful for Innovation Station Music for its support of this program.