The Neil Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award, sponsored in 2023 by Trisha & John Tubbs and Jon Weisberger, annually recognizes the best bluegrass-related paper accepted by a juried academic conference during the previous year. Developing academic scholars eligible for this award include graduate students in MA or PhD programs and recent PhDs (within five years of degree completion). The award’s name honors Bluegrass Hall of Fame member Neil V. Rosenberg, PhD, a noted bluegrass author and historian. 

The objective of the Rosenberg Award is to grow the academic awareness of bluegrass music by encouraging developing academic scholars to present research of high quality to fellow scholars on any aspect of the genre. The recipient of the Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award, to be announced in early August, will receive a $500 honorarium plus admission to the next IBMA Business Conference and Awards Show. 

“Not long after discovering bluegrass music,” Jon Weisberger said, “I came across Neil V. Rosenberg’s then-new book, Bluegrass: A History.  It was, and remains, indispensable to my understanding of our music’s development, and the complexity and nuance of its rich history.  Over the years, I have grown to appreciate even more Neil’s knowledge and wisdom, his combination of academic rigor and grassroots engagement, and his openness to and encouragement of a broad range of bluegrass musicians, scholars and fans—not to mention the warmth of his personality and the joyfulness of his musicianship.  I remember how assiduously he pursued the creation of the award that now bears his name, and I have seen how it has contributed to the store of knowledge and understanding of bluegrass.  It gives me great pleasure to contribute to honoring him and his life’s work by sponsoring this year’s award.”

“Hall of Fame inductee Dr. Neil Rosenberg has been an inspirational bluegrass historian and musician whose bluegrass books, articles, and scholarly papers have helped to preserve the legacy of bluegrass and its importance in the history of this unique music genre,” said Trisha Tubbs, an IBMA Foundation board member. “I’ve had the honor of working with Dr. Rosenberg on the Arnold Shultz Fund advisory committee, and I am thrilled that the IBMA Foundation has an award in his honor that recognizes and helps graduate students or recent PhDs for their academic bluegrass research.”

The deadline to be considered for the 2023 Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholarship Award from the IBMA Foundation is June 30. Entries may be emailed to review committee chair Travis Stimeling, PhD, at, or mailed to him at 142 Ridgeley Road, Morgantown, WV 26505, USA. For more information, please contact Dr. Stimeling directly or email

The first IBMA Academic Prize (as it was then known) was presented in 2011 to Benjamin Krakauer, PhD, who now teaches on the faculty of Warren Wilson College. The IBMA Foundation took responsibility for the award in 2018, renaming it in honor of Neil Rosenberg. The 2019 recipient was Jordan Laney, PhD, at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia. The award was not presented in 2020 because academic conferences were cancelled during the COVID pandemic. The 2021 recipient was Heather Grimm, a PhD candidate in the interdisciplinary theatre/drama department at Northwestern University, and the 2022 winner was Gabby Cameron, MA ethnomusicology student at the University of Maryland. We are grateful to Laurie Greenberg who sponsored the Rosenberg Bluegrass Scholar Award in 2022, to the John Hartford Family who sponsored the award in 2021, and to Mary Tyler Doub, the sponsor in 2019.

RETURN to the June 2023 issue of The Cornerstone.

Photo above: Neil Rosenberg, Ph.D.