Zeitgeist Sounding Ground Composer Residencies

Zeitgeist is pleased to announce a new composer residency program that will provide commissioning, development, and production support for three Minnesota composers in the early stages of their careers. SOUNDING GROUND awardees will work closely with Zeitgeist over a 10-month period on the development and production of a significant new work created for Zeitgeist.

Selected composers receive:

  • Financial compensation of $4,000
  • Development workshops and production support
  • Rehearsal of completed work as required by the work
  • Premiere performances during Zeitgeist’s 2021/2022 season
  • Opportunity to connect with and build audience
  • Documentation of the new work

Zeitgeist requests proposals describing a significant new work the applicant would like to create with Zeitgeist and how creating this new work will benefit their career and artistic growth. Projects utilizing musicians in addition to Zeitgeist and incorporating other artistic disciplines will be considered.

Application deadline: June 21, 2021



Composers are eligible if they are:

  • an early career artist (2-10 years of experience as a generative artist)
  • a legal resident of Minnesota
  • not enrolled in any full-time degree-granting programs
  • generating and creating entirely new work

Applicants are encouraged to review the eligibility criteria provided by the Jerome Foundation and to contact Zeitgeist staff to discuss eligibility questions.

The selection panel will choose applicants based on the quality of their work samples, the benefit of the project to the composer’s career, and the degree to which chosen applicants contribute to a cohort diverse in terms of musical practice, race, gender identity, and cultural background. Zeitgeist welcomes applicants from all musical paths and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists.


SOUNDING GROUND residencies will take place from September 2021 through June 2022. Composers will take part in three two-day workshops 45 days apart at the beginning of the development period. All composers and collaborators will be present for both days each time, learning from the ensemble and each other throughout the process. Activities will include an informative session on writing for Zeitgeist’s instrumentation and ensemble, best notational practices, improvising, musical experiments, exploration of sketches, and refining of new work. Composers may also select another artist mentor to attend a session(s) to provide additional critical feedback on developing work.

Participating composers will share the development process and their work-in-progress with Zeitgeist’s community of listeners through Lowertown Listening Sessions (Zeitgeist’s performance discussion series), creating content for the Studio Z Blog, an episode of the Studio Z Podcast, and developing a marketing plan for the premiere performances of their work.

Rehearsals and premiere performances will take place throughout Zeitgeist’s 2021-2022 season. ​


Applicants must submit:

  • a bio, resume, or short narrative about themselves and their music
  • a brief (one paragraph) description of their proposed project and how it will benefit their career
  • two work samples that demonstrate the relevance of – and the music creator’s ability to carry out – the proposed project with Zeitgeist

Each work sample should include a web link to an audio or video recording (SoundCloud, YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc.) accompanied by a web link to a PDF score or written document that will provide further insights into the applicant’s creative process. Either clearly describe the nature of your involvement in the creation of the piece or if notated scores are part of your creative process, provide a PDF of the score.

Applicants are encouraged to prepare all materials before starting their application. All PDF documents and audio/video files must be submitted via web links. We recommend using websites such as SoundCloud, YouTube, Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, etc. to host your recording and/or PDF score.

Questions? Contact Katherine Bergman katherine [at] zeitgeistnewmusic.org with questions about the application process, eligibility, or residency details.