Marking a paradigm shift in the way the business operates, innova Recordings, the in-house record label of American Composers Forum (ACF), is excited to announce its first national call for recording artists and their projects. The national call and its curatorial process provides a new, more transparent, equitable process for artists from diverse backgrounds and musical approaches to be supported by the label. Funding from the Sorel Organization will provide important support for artists of underrepresented genders on the label.

innova Recordings is evolving to be more than a label. The new model fosters collaboration with artists throughout the entire process of recording projects, from conception, to release, to promotion. As part of ACF, innova also offers free resources and a community of peer artists. The National Call for artists opens December 2 and closes January 7, 2022. To learn more and/or to apply, please visit:

A panel of curators who reflect diverse backgrounds, races, gender identities, and musical approaches will select projects for the label. This new process is part of ACF’s commitment to equity outlined here:  For the National Call, Olivia Shortt, Nina Shekhar, Darian Donovan Thomas, and Sarah Hennies will serve as curators.

There is no fee for artists to apply and – new for this model – no administrative fee will be required for artists selected for the label. Artists selected will receive support from innova for both the production and promotion of their music at no cost at every step of the process. innova will facilitate a communal support network of selected artists to provide guidance and feedback to each other throughout the process. The following will be provided for selected artists: distribution, licensing, promotion, and maintaining ownership of their music and 100% of sales profits. Selected artists will also be connected to partner organizations offering the following services: mixing/mastering, design, videographers, public relations and marketing, recording studio time, and physical manufacturing. Innova works with Naxos for distribution and with multiple streaming platforms and media partners to ensure visibility.

“For nearly 40 years, innova Recordings has served as the recording label for an incredible array of artists. We know how invaluable having a recording that is both well-produced and promoted is for every artist, as well as how many barriers there are to obtain that,” shares ACF President & CEO, Vanessa Rose. “We hope this dynamic change offers a transformative platform for artists we have been missing on recordings by making the label more accessible and by involving more people in the recruitment and decision-making process. We are grateful for the Sorel Organization’s partnership in making this possible.”

Applicants are invited to submit projects representing a variety of musical approaches and at various stages of recording. innova Recordings welcomes applicants to discuss their projects and seek guidance on the application process or their projects in general. An information session about the application process will be held on Dec 14th at 2pm CT. You can register for the information session here. For those unable to apply at this time, a second call will open in April 2022. 

This support is possible, in part, because of a grant from the Elizabeth and Michel Sorel Charitable Organization, which is dedicated to expanding opportunities for women in music. The Sorel grant will support innova recording projects by artists from underrepresented genders (see below). Plus, the Sorel Organization recognizes the need for greater representation behind recordings and is offering supplemental funding to selected artists to work with engineers, producers, and other businesses led or owned by underrepresented genders.

“Artists need recordings of their work for it to exist and be shared,” says Wende Persons, Managing Director of the Sorel Organization. “This is important for the visibility of many whose voices are not being heard and recognized for their creativity. With the Sorel Organization’s mission to advance gender and racial equity to expand the contemporary classical canon, and by partnering with American Composers Forum and innova Recordings, we want to help open the doors to more women composers and artists through this important project to record – and champion – new, inspiring works.” 

“The Bay Area Pilot that we launched in March 2021 was a rousing success,”  says innova’s Director of Recordings Chris Campbell. “Soon we will be releasing albums by Lewis Jordan, SHENSduo, Lisa Mezzacappa, Elizabeth Schenck, Eki’Shola Abrams, Anne Hege, Melinda Martinez Becker and Nicolas Lell Benavides, and Julie Herndon. It’s imperative that we keep the momentum going and present these opportunities in a national call for artists.” (To find out more about the Bay Area artists and their projects, visit: “We cannot wait to bring these opportunities to our musical ecosystem.”  

*Examples of Underrepresented genders: People who identify as cis women, trans women, trans men, two-spirit, non-binary, gender fluid, gender non-conforming, and genderqueer among other gender identities.

**Please note: This National Call is open to artists of all gender identities. The gender identity of applicants, while requested and optional, will not preclude them from being selected. Selected projects that are led by/feature composers of underrepresented genders will be supported by a different grant source. In addition to the support from ACF’s annual fund, innova Recordings receives endowed support from The McKnight Foundation.

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.” Visit for more information.

About innova Recordings

innova Recordings serves the needs of original, visionary, creative musicians by offering artistic and technical guidance throughout the recording and publication process; amplifying the reach of new musical ideas through access to our marketing and distribution networks; and actively working together to maximize professional impact. Together, we champion a curated body of diverse and compelling American musical voices to the listening public. 

About the Sorel Organization

The Elizabeth & Michel Sorel Charitable Organization Inc., a 501©(3) private foundation, was established in 1996 by pianist Claudette Sorel and named for her parents. The Sorel Organization  ( is committed to expanding opportunities for women in music, amplifying the voices of underrepresented composers, advancing gender and racial equity, and broadening the classical music canon for future generations.