American Composers Forum (ACF) is pleased to announce the opening of applications for the 2023 McKnight Visiting Composer Residencies, McKnight Composer Fellowships, and ACF | create. These programs are for music creators ranging from early to mid-career and beyond, and funding ranges from $11,000 – $25,000. In addition to financial support, each program includes consultation, time, and resources from ACF. These programs are primarily 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. Each year, we support and celebrate music creators who demonstrate compelling artistic work through our funding programs. We encourage applications from a broad range of musical perspectives, and we are committed to supporting projects that represent a diversity of creative approaches, ethnicities, races, genders, and geographic locations.

“ACF is a wonderfully supportive organization that is making a real difference in the music world. They are breaking down barriers, uplifting and advocating for emerging and established composers at local and national levels,” shared 2021 ACF McKnight Composer Fellow Mary Prescott. “The fellowship has given me freedom to explore my curiosity and scaffolding to grow artistically. Because of it, I have been supported in making new music, meeting new colleagues and audiences, and receiving valuable opportunities. ”

PaviElle French, the recipient of a 2018 ACF | create grant to collaborate with the Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra on her work A Requiem For Zula, stated: “This grant and the supportive, encouraging staff have helped me step into a higher level as a musician and composer. This program is vital to my growth and helped me truly envision my dream to honor my mother, plus manifest it.”

Selection panelists for these three programs will be announced by February 2023.


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

Application Deadline: Tuesday, March 14, 2023 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 engages 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 artistic exploration 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 and can be used for travel, lodging, partnerships, etc.. Awards are subject to state and federal income tax guidelines.

For application and complete details, visit


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

Application Deadline:  Tuesday, March 14, 2023 11:59 PM Central

ACF’s McKnight Composer Fellowships 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 an ACF-produced showcase event. Fellows will also receive consultation, time, and resources from Springboard for the Arts.

For application and complete details, visit


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

Application Deadline: Tuesday, March 14, 2023 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 will be awarded: 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


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 “American.”


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.


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.


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.