2019-20 Composer-in-Residence

In partnership with the Center for New Music, ACF is thrilled to announce that Oakland-based artist Julie Herndon is the recipient of ACF’s first Bay Area Composer Residency award, a $10,000 grant for a local, composer-led community collaboration project. Julie will organize and lead Soundvoice 2020 with the Center for New Music and Code Tenderloin. Continuing the legacy of two previous Soundvoice projects, she will engage members of the homeless community in San Francisco’s Tenderloin neighborhood to workshop and create a multi-media concert featuring the stories of the participants. Read the full Soundvoice story.

Each class will feature a different guest artist presenting compositional tools that participants can use to build audio-editing abilities, develop computer skills, and facilitate self-expression. Since its debut as a San Francisco Contemporary Music Players program in 2015, Soundvoice workshops have a history of success in building a lasting relationship between the arts community and residents. What makes Soundvoice unique in 2020 is its experience-centered curriculum, the diversity of instructor expertise, and a partnership with Code Tenderloin, a workforce development nonprofit. They will locate and reach out to the target audience for this project—empowering women in the homeless community around the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.

Herndon shares, “I’m so grateful to ACF for the opportunity to grow my community with sound!” The workshops will be led by Herndon, along with John Ivers, Barbara Nerness, Matt Robidoux, and Julie Zhu: artists and composers based in Stanford, San Francisco, and the East Bay who are committed to sharing their practice in order to build community and create a shared space. Classes will take place at the Center for New Music, which is located in the heart of the Tenderloin neighborhood. The culmination of this program will be a collaborative multimedia concert, free to the public, featuring the work of the participants supported by the workshop faculty. The Code Tenderloin team says, “We are excited to have Soundvoice join the Tenderloin community in empowering women in our homeless population. We look forward to being part of the impact this program will make in our community and seeing the lives that will be touched through their programs!”

About Julie Herndon

Julie Herndon is an Oakland-based composer and performer working with internal/external space through improvisation, text, graphics, and electronics. Her work explores the body’s relationship to the self, to performance, and to tools like musical instruments and personal technology. Recent electroacoustic work has been described as “blended to inhabit a surprisingly expressive space” (San Francisco Classical Voice). Her compositions have been performed by ensembles including JACK Quartet, Ensemble Dal Niente, Ensemble Proton Bern, Line Upon Line Percussion, TAK Ensemble, Retro Disco, and Left Coast Chamber Ensemble. Performances of her work include MATA Festival and MIS-EN_PLACE Bushwick in New York, Artistry Space in Singapore, Musée des Beaux-Arts in Dijon, Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, and Hot Air Festival in San Francisco.

An active educator, Herndon has led classes at Mills College and assisted courses in Copenhagen, Stockholm, and Stanford, in subjects ranging from anime to transidiomatic art-making. As a collaborator, Herndon is co-founder of hi, a duo featuring harmonium, clarinet, and electronics, and fff, an interdisciplinary artist collective. She holds a B.A. in Music from St. Mary’s College of Maryland and an M.A. in Music Composition from Mills College, and is currently a Hume Fellow pursuing a doctorate at Stanford University.

Photo by John Ivers.

Read and download the full press release

Guidelines & How to Apply

Check back in early December for these details. In the meantime, feel free to call or email me with any questions. I look forward to assisting you!

Kris Kautzman

Info Sessions

ACF staff want you to feel confident that you’ve put together your strongest application for our programs. Online info sessions give you the opportunity to plan ahead, ask questions, and get application advice. Each will be an hour-long session to walk through the program description, guidelines, and online application process. You can ask individual questions during the session or contact me separately with your individual questions. Between January-May several info sessions will be offered for this program – the same material will be covered at each session:

Info session dates will begin in December.

If the application process presents barriers based on language, cultural background, or disability, we accommodate special application requests to the best of our ability. If you need assistance or want to talk about your application at any point during the process, feel free to contact Kris at kkautzman@composersforum.org or 651.251.2842.

Resources for Creating Unlisted Links:




Google Drive:

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What does ACF mean by “Community Residency?”

A: Informed by our mission to nurture the creative spirit of composers and communities, this program asks you to create a proposal for a collaborative project that you lead, “In Residence” in your own community. This ACF grant will fund a project that happens in your geography, includes community members as project partners and participants, and is impactful and meaningful to everyone involved.

Q: Can we apply as an ensemble or composer collective?

A: One composer must be the applicant. If you are part of an ensemble or collective, one person from your group must “take the lead” on applying, in part because the grant will be paid to an individual. If you are awarded the grant and choose to hire other artists to be part of your project, ACF can help you think through that process, including giving you advice about preparing 1099’s for those artists.

Q: Why do you stipulate that this should be a 6-week project?

A: This program is based on ACF’s long-running McKnight Visiting Composer Residency program, which also invites composers to propose a project of similar length. We hope that this parameter allows you to imagine & plan a project which is a reasonable time commitment for you, and which can be accomplished with $10,000. Some people’s projects end up being a bit shorter or longer than 6 weeks, and that’s fine. Collaborations usually require a little flexibility. The important thing is to plan for a project on a scale that you can manage and enjoy.

Q: Can I apply more than once (with different project ideas and different ensembles)?

A: While it’s not specifically prohibited in the guidelines, we intended this application process to be 1 composer: 1 project. Now that a few people have inquired, we’ll take this possibility into consideration for future seasons, and clarify one way or the other in future guidelines.

Q: We are an arts organization. Can we apply for this grant on behalf of a composer?

A: No. The composer must write the application and submit it under their own name. Ask your composer if they want any help. As a project partner, your input on planning the project, crafting a description, and expressing your part of the project goals will probably be very helpful as the composer writes their application.

Thank you for your questions! They help us make our programming better from year to year.