The below information is from 2023/2024 and is preserved below for informational purposes only. Please check back later for 2024/2025 application information.

All applications will be submitted via an online form. Please read all application information for important details. 

Application Form (on Acceptd)


  1. Important Dates & Fee

  2. Submissions

  3. Awards

  4. Judging

  5. Eligibility

  6. Restrictions

  7. Notification

Important Dates

Deadline for application: 
Thursday, November 30, 2023 

Performance Date and Award Announcement: 
Friday, April 12, 2024 (finalists will be notified of their requested participation no later than February 28, 2024) 

Application Fee

All applicants: $30 (submitted via Acceptd)


Adult Applicants (18 years of age or older): Applicants must submit three original songs. 

Youth Applicants (17 years of age or younger): Applicants must submit one original song. 

All songs must have lyrics. Therefore, instrumental compositions are not accepted. All genres are accepted. Maximum song length is 5 minutes. If a song is longer than 5 minutes, please submit a 5-minute excerpt of the song. 


Adult Category Grand Prize:
The adjudicated contest will award one talented songwriter a Grand Prize of $10,000. The Grand Prize Winner will also be awarded 25 hours of recording studio time and 2 hours of music business strategy consulting with Dave Mallen at Innovation Station Music in Annandale, VA. As one of the area's top Music Producers, Dave has a particular focus on song and artist development, and will guide the contest winner through his highly personalized and collaborative approach to music creation.

Adult Category 2nd-place Winner:
The 2nd-place winner will receive a cash prize of $2,500 and a feature on Strathmore's marketing and social media platforms. 

Adult Category Finalists:
All finalists will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and a feature on Strathmore's marketing and social media platforms. 

Youth Category Prize:
A young songwriter who is 17 or younger will also be honored with $2,500. (Please see alternate application form for Young Songwriter entries.) 


The contest will be a multi-staged, adjudicated competition. Jurors will include professional artists, venue operators, booking agents, and music academia. The jury will review each submission in detail and provide ratings and based on pre-determined criteria, passing along top songwriters to a second phase of the competition. In this second round, the judges will select the finalists who will perform their original songs during a concert on Friday, April 12, 2024 at the Music Center at Strathmore. Each finalist will perform two of the songs they submitted for the competition. The Grand Prize Jury will attend the concert to select the winners. The winning songwriter and young songwriter will be announced at the close of the show.


  • Adult Applicants: Songwriters who are 18 years of age or older and are permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC are invited to apply.
  • Youth Applicants: Songwriters who are 17-years-old and younger and are permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC are eligible to enter under the Young Songwriter category (Young Songwriter entrants must be born on or after December 2, 2005. Please see separate application.).  
  • Applicants must be available to perform their original songs for a live audience at Strathmore on Friday, April 12, 2024. 
  • Please see application to list an alternate performer if the songwriter is not also the singer. 
    • The names and addresses of all contributing writers must be included in the entry form. It is the responsibility of the entrant to divide any prizes with co-writers as appropriate. 
  • A lyric sheet must be included for each song.  
  • The Grand Prize Winner and Young Songwriter Winner will be given local performance opportunities in the months following their award. Events and dates are forthcoming. The Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards requests that the winners are available for each performance opportunity. 


  • All songwriters must be permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia, or Washington, DC.  
  • Applicants must not have made more than $5,000 in publishing royalties in 2022 and 2023 combined. 
  • Entrants can’t be employed as a staff writer for a publishing company, nor have been paid for such services by a publishing company for the songs submitted in this application.
  • All submissions must be original and the sole work of the writer(s) listed. Entries shall not infringe on any copyrights, trademarks, intellectual property rights or any other rights of a third party. Submissions that violate these terms will be immediately disqualified. Applicants shall hold Strathmore from and against claims inconsistent with these requirements. Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards shall not be held liable for any legal action that results from unlawful or restricted submissions.  
  • Songwriters must appear on only one application. Songwriters may not be listed on more than one submission, including as a co-writer. 
  • Current participants in Strathmore’s Artists in Residence Program are not eligible for this award.  Graduates of Strathmore’s Artist in Residence may apply if they meet the remaining criteria. No affiliates or graduates of Strathmore’s Artist in Residence program will be utilized for judging.  


Finalists will be notified  no later than February 28, 2024 before the live performance at Strathmore.