Applications Now Open for American Composers Forum Programs

American Composers Forum (ACF) is pleased to announce the opening of applications for the 2022 McKnight Visiting Composer Residencies, McKnight Composer Fellowships, ACF | create, and the Minnesota Music Creator Awards (MMCA) for music creators ranging from early to mid-career and beyond. Funding for these programs range from $3,000 – $25,000. In addition to financial support, each program includes consultation, time, and resources from ACF. These programs are funded by two long-standing collaborators: the McKnight Foundation and the Jerome Foundation.

ACF envisions a world where living music creators are celebrated as essential to human culture. One way ACF continues to support and celebrate music creators is through our funded programs. We are committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists who demonstrate compelling artistic work. ACF encourages applicants from the full range of musical perspectives and is committed to supporting artists and projects that are diverse in creative approaches, ethnicity, gender, geography, and race.

“I am so grateful for the Composers Forum for uplifting, empowering, and trusting the visions of the composers they work with,” shared 2017 ACF | create recipient Walken Schweigert. “I felt held in this program, in which all of my past experiences were counted as valid regardless of their accreditation, and my skills and vision were pushed with care so that I was able to excel in ways I couldn’t have imagined. The space this program gave me to experiment and grow at the pace my intuition and vision led me was incredible. Gratitude to all the staff, who were so encouraging at every step of the process.”

Kathy McTavish, 2020 McKnight Composer Fellow & 2013 JFund (now ACF | create) recipient stated, “ACF has been pivotal for my development as a composer. They have supported my work from its earliest roots to mid-career. They provide critical resources towards a thrivance ::: a rich fabric of community ::: an ongoing practice ::: an everyday inspiration.”

McKnight Visiting Composer Residencies

For Music Creators with a US Social Security Number or US Tax ID Living Outside of Minnesota 

Application Deadline: Monday, March 14, 2022 11:59 PM Central

ACF will select two music creators for an artistic residency in Minnesota. Artists work with the ACF team to design and produce a residency that integrates with the Minnesota community in a unique way. Visiting composers spend approximately 30 days in Minnesota over an 18-month period, building relationships and working on projects. New work may be part of the residency, but the focus is on the exploration of an artist within a Minnesota community. ACF believes in the power of music creators to be storytellers, connectors, or catalysts through their art. This program invites artists to respond to or reflect on the unique qualities of people and communities in our home state. Two residencies of $10,000 will be awarded. All funds are distributed directly to the selected music creator across four installments. Awards are subject to state and federal income tax guidelines.

For application and complete details, visit

McKnight Composer Fellowships

For Music Creators Who Are Mid-Career or Beyond Living in Minnesota

Application Deadline:  Monday, March 14, 2022 11:59 PM Central

The intent of this program is to recognize and support mid-career artists living and working in Minnesota who demonstrate a sustained level of accomplishment, commitment, and artistic excellence. ACF frames artistic excellence in terms of models of rigor in our own work. Curators for this program determine if an artist is mid-career or beyond based on the following information requested as part of the application: the artist’s body of work, creative achievement, and sustained contribution to the artist’s field and to Minnesota’s arts ecosystem. Four fellowships of $25,000 in unrestricted funds will be awarded. Awards are subject to state and federal income tax guidelines. Fellows have an opportunity to attend an artist residency program coordinated by the Alliance of Artist Communities within two years of the fellowship program. Fellows will also have an opportunity to present their work as part of a McKnight Composer Fellowship Biennial. Fellows will also receive consultation, time, and resources from Springboard for the Arts.

For application and complete details, visit

ACF | create

For Early-Career Music Creators in five boroughs of New York and the state of Minnesota

Application Deadline: Monday, March 28, 2022 11:59 PM Central

ACF | create supports the creation and presentation of new works and is an evolution of the Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund), which started in 1979. Through this program, ACF has supported the creation of hundreds of new works. This program is for music creators who are in the early stages of their creative development and are vocational artists that are residents of Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City and have been residents for at least one year prior to application or program participation. Five commissions totaling $11,000 are available: for each award, $8,000 is designated for the music creator’s time to create the work, and $3,000 is designated to help with production and promotion support.

For application and complete details, visit

Minnesota Music Creator Awards

For Early-Career Music Creators in Minnesota

Nomination Deadline: Monday, March 21, 2022 11:59 PM Central

As a complement to our long-running ACF | create commissioning program, ACF is seeking to expand our reach by identifying and supporting artists we might not have supported or connected with in the past. The Minnesota Music Creator Awards (MMCA), formerly Minnesota Emerging Composer Awards (MECA), were created with the following goals in mind: to engage Minnesota-based makers of original music who might not otherwise apply to ACF programs; to provide these artists with funds to support a project that promises to have a significant boost to their creative development as music creators; to send a message to a broader population of Minnesota music creators that ACF is interested in their work and to see how ACF might support their needs as artists; and to encourage risk-taking and support the creation of new work. Minnesota Music Creator Awards support individuals or collaborative groups creating original music in a variety of musical approaches in the early stages of their creative development.

For application and complete details, visit

About American Composers Forum

ACF supports and advocates for individuals and groups creating music today by demonstrating the vitality and relevance of their art. We connect artists with collaborators, organizations, audiences, and resources. Through storytelling, publications, recordings, hosted gatherings, and industry leadership, we activate equitable opportunities for artists. We provide direct funding and mentorship to a broad and diverse field of music creators, highlighting those who have been historically excluded from participation. Founded in 1973 by composers Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus as the Minnesota Composers Forum, the organization continues to invest in its Minnesota home while connecting artists and advocates across the United States, including its territories and the sovereign Native nations. ACF frames our work with a focus on racial equity and includes within that scope, but does not limit it to: diverse gender identities, musical approaches and perspectives, religions, ages, (dis)abilities, cultures, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and broad definitions of being “American.”

About The Jerome Foundation

The Jerome Foundation, founded in 1964 by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill (1905-1972), honors his legacy through multi-year grants to support the creation, development, and presentation of new works by early career artists. The Foundation makes grants to vocational early career artists, and those nonprofit arts organizations that serve them, in all disciplines in the state of Minnesota and the five boroughs of New York City.

About The McKnight Foundation

The McKnight Foundation, a Minnesota-based family foundation, advances a more just, creative, and abundant future where people and planet thrive. Established in 1953, the McKnight Foundation is deeply committed to advancing climate solutions in the Midwest; building an equitable and inclusive Minnesota; and supporting the arts in Minnesota, neuroscience, and international crop research.

About The McKnight Artist Fellowship Program

Founded on the belief that Minnesota thrives when its artists thrive, the McKnight Foundation’s arts and culture program is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. Support for individual working Minnesota artists has been a cornerstone of the program since it began in 1982. The McKnight Artist Fellowships Program provides annual, unrestricted cash awards to outstanding mid-career Minnesota artists in 14 different creative disciplines. Program partner organizations administer the fellowships and structure them to respond to the unique challenges of different disciplines. Currently the foundation contributes about $2.8 million per year to its statewide fellowships.

Music Creators in Feature Image

First row (L-R): 2021 ACF | create recipient Alicia Waller (photo by Shay Paresh), 2021 McKnight Visiting Composer J. E. Hernández (photo by Spencer Young), 2021 MMCA recipient Ryann Daisy Swimmer, 2021 McKnight Composer Fellow Ashley DuBose (photo by Drew Meyer)

Second row (L-R): 2021 MMCA recipient Kevin Phoojywg Xiong (photo by Nikki Yang), 2021 McKnight Visiting Composer Anne Leilehua Lanzilotti (photo by Blaise Hayward Studio), 2021 ACF | create recipient Sonya Belaya (photo by Alex Brown)

Third row (L-R): 2021 McKnight Composer Fellow George Maurer (photo by Ric Ide), 2021 MMCA recipient Suzy Johnson (photo by Annika Johnson), 2021 McKnight Composer Fellow Ritika Ganguly (photo by Bruce Silcox), 2021 ACF | create recipient Pablo Santiago Chin (photo by Marc Perlish)

Fourth row (L-R): 2021 ACF | create recipient Renée Copeland (photo by Renée Copeland), 2021 MMCA recipient Liz Draper (photo by Don J. Olson), 2021 ACF | create recipient Vicente Hansen Atria (photo by Kyra Smith), 2021 McKnight Composer Fellow Mary Prescott (photo by Adela Wagner)


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, funded with generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF. 

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