Bernard Ebb Songwriting Awards Application

Adult Songwriter Application: Apply Here

Young Songwriter Application: Apply Here


The eighth annual Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards is searching for the best songwriters in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The competition, founded by Cathy Bernard, is named in honor of Fred Ebb, one of the great American songwriters and creator of Broadway hits such as Cabaret and Chicago and iconic songs including New York, New York. 

Applicants must submit three original songs. Each song must have lyrics. Therefore, instrumental compositions are not accepted. All genres are accepted. Maximum song length is 4:30 min. 

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.

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 select the finalists who will perform their original songs during a concert in Bethesda, Maryland on Friday, April 21, 2023 at the Bethesda Blues and Jazz Club. 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.

Judging Criteria

  • Composition
  • Lyrics
  • Originality
  • Melody/Harmony


Songwriters who are 18 years of age or older and are permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. are invited to apply. Songwriters who are 17-years-old and younger are eligible to enter under the Young Songwriter category (Young Songwriter entrants must be born after December 8, 2004. Please see separate application.). 

Applicants must be available to perform their original songs for a live audience in Bethesda, Maryland on Friday, April 21, 2023.
*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. 


  • Applicants must not have made more than $5,000 in publishing royalties in 2021 and 2022 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. 
  • 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 Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District 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. 
  • All songwriters must be permanent, full-time residents of Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C. 
  • Songwriters must appear on only one application. Songwriters may not be listed on more than one submission, including as a co-writer.  


Finalists will be notified approximately 6 weeks before the live performance in Bethesda, Maryland.
For more information about the Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards please visit