Virgil Thomson Foundation
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Virgil Thomson

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Does the Foundation give grants to arts organizations outside New York City?

A: Yes. Non-profit arts organizations throughout the United States are eligible to receive grants from the Foundation. For information on how to apply, see the Guidelines page at this web site.

Q: I am an individual composer. Can I apply to the Foundation for a commission?

A: The Foundation does not make grants to composers for commissioning new works. A good place for individual composers to find out about grant opportunities is The Foundation Center in New York City. The Foundation Center has an informative web site at

Q: I am making a recording of contemporary American music. Can I apply to the Foundation for support?

A: Recordings of the works of Virgil Thomson by artists and ensembles who demonstrate high artistic merit are eligible for funding.

Virgil Thomson
Virgil Thomson and Grayson Hirst in rehearsal for Lord Byron, 1972

Q: I'm doing some research on Virgil Thomson. Does the Foundation have a library that I can use or scholars I can consult?

A: No, the Foundation does not have research facilities. The best resources for comprehensive information about Virgil Thomson are Yale Music Library, the library at the University of Missouri and Grove's Dictionary of Music and Musicians. For general information, try bookstores and libraries in your area. See also "Further Information on Virgil Thomson" at this web site.

Q: My ensemble would like to perform a work by Virgil Thomson. Where can I get the score?

A: The works of Virgil Thomson are published by several publishers, principally G. Schirmer, Warner Brothers Publications, Boosey & Hawkes and Peer Music. See the Works page at this web site for the publisher of the work you would like to perform.

Q: Do I need special permission to perform or record a published work of Virgil Thomson?

A: Provided that the performance is licensed by ASCAP or, outside the U.S., the local performing right society, or in the case of dramatic performances, by the publisher, no special permission is required from the Foundation. Similarly, if you wish to record a work that has been commercially released before, you do not need special permission from the Foundation. Contact the Harry Fox Agency ( or, outside the U.S., the local mechanical right society, for a license. For a first recording, please contact the publisher.

Q: Do I need special permission to perform or record an unpublished work of Virgil Thomson?

A: Requests to perform or record unpublished works should be sent to the Secretary of the Foundation, who will provide additional information.

Q: I'd like to use Thomson's music in an advertisement or other audio-visual work. How can I do this?

A: In the case of published works, contact the publisher. In the case of unpublished works, contact the Secretary of the Foundation.

Q: I'd like to reproduce a photograph of Virgil Thomson in a book that I'm writing. Can you tell me how I can get permission to do this?

A: The Foundation does not own the copyright in photographs of Virgil Thomson. Permission must be obtained from the photographer or his representative.

Q: Can I buy recordings of Thomson's music from the Foundation?

A: No, but you can find a discography of currently available recordings on the internet. Certain retail sites such as have extensive listings of works including those of Virgil Thomson. Also, recordings can be purchased at your local record store or book store.

Q: Does the Foundation accept donations to continue its work of supporting contemporary American music, and specifically the works of Virgil Thomson?

A: The Foundation does not solicit donations. However, if you wish to make a donation, please contact the Secretary for more information.

Q: Where can I read more about the life and work of Virgil Thomson?

A: See the "Further Information" page at this web site.

Q: How can I find out more about the work of contemporary American composers?

A: At, the webzine of New Music USA, you will find original content on the contemporary classical music scene, including articles, interviews, and excerpts from musical works. Other interesting sites include and (Global Music Network).



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