The American Composers Forum (ACF) champions composers and other creative music makers, and boosts their careers with professional opportunities. ACF | CREATE is an evolution of the Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund), which started in 1979 and made hundreds of awards and helped launch many careers. ACF | CREATE supports the creation, presentation, and subsequent life of a new work. Five grants are available: up to $8,000 for the composer or primary artist’s time to create the work, and up to $3,000 to help with production and promotion support. This program is for emerging professional composers that reside in Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City.

ACF | CREATE welcomes applicants from the whole range of musical paths and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists.

The American Composers Forum encourages applicants from the full range of musical styles, and is committed to supporting a diverse pool of artists whose work demonstrates strong artistic merit. Accordingly, awards for our programs will represent, as far as possible, artists and projects that are diverse in genre, gender, race, ethnicity and geography.

Current Participants

The panelists for this round of ACF | Create commissions were composers  HyeKyung Lee (Granville, OH), Ingrid Stölzel (Lawrence, KS), and Michael Woods (Clinton, NY).

David Adamcyk
David Adamcyk
PaviElle French
PaviElle French
Dana Lyn
Dana Lyn
Felipe Nieto Sachica
Felipe Nieto Sachica
Dameun Strange
Dameun Strange

The primary artist (not limited to those who self-identify as a “composer” but eligible to all kinds of artists who create original music such as improvisers) applies with a third party (such as a performing group or a presenter who commits to producing the finished work). The primary artist needs to be at an “emerging” level in their career: neither a student nor an established professional. The proposed project should be a significant artistic and professional leap: a risky but logical next step that will mark a new level of accomplishment.

Awards – judged by a panel of artists – are competitive and based on outstanding quality of work, personal musical voice, and exceptional potential to make a career difference.



  • Open to emerging professional composers who are just starting out in their career, under-recognized, with no national reputation, few professional accolades, and no more than a handful of paid commissions.
  • The emerging professional composer must reside in Minnesota or the five boroughs of New York City at the time of application and must have lived in that location at least one year prior to the application deadline. Project partners may be based anywhere in the world.
  • Applicants (composer and partners) may only be a part of one application.
  • Previous winners of awards funded by the Jerome Foundation may apply as long as they were more than two years ago and final reports have been submitted, recipients (composer and partners) of the 2016 & 2017 Jerome Fund for New Music (JFund) program are ineligible.
  • The composer applicant can’t be a current recipient of a Jerome Foundation Composer/Sound Artist Fellowship. A composer or sound artist may not receive a fellowship and other Jerome Foundation support for the same work(s).
  • Composers must have completed training, formal and informal, and be active professional artists. Students in K-12 educational programs or enrolled in undergraduate or graduate degree programs are not eligible.
  • Projects may take place in a worship setting but not be premiered during a religious service.
  • American Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation administrative staff members, board of directors, and their family’s members are ineligible.
  • ACF membership is not required for ACF CREATE applicants.
  • Proposed works should be at an early stage in their development, and must not be finished by the time of application. Works must be scheduled to premiere after December 31, 2018. Supported projects must be completed within five years of the award date.
  • The age of the artist is not a consideration. Established artists who have chosen to switch artistic disciplines are not eligible.


Selection Criteria

Emerging artists show significant potential; have some evidence of professional achievement but not a substantial record of accomplishment; and are recognized as emerging artists by other artists, curators, producers, critics, and arts administrators.

  • Quality of musical materials, showing singular artistic voice and vision.
  • Significance of the project to the primary artist’s career.
  • Well articulated compositional planning and overall thoroughness of project.
  • Level of commitment by project partners to performing, presenting and furthering the work.
  • Relevance of the Production and Promotion Support Funds to deepen the work and further the artist’s career.
  • The final pool will reflect a range of artists and projects, diverse in genre, gender, and racial origin.


Award Requests

Primary artists request funds to cover their compositional time: a commission fee. The size of this fee is proportional to the scope of the work and may reflect the duration of the work and the number of participants. Panelists may change the amount of the award up or down based on comparable projects. ACF does not provide a standard fee schedule. These funds are taxable income.


Production & Promotion Support

In addition to the commission fee, artists may request up to $3,000 for out of pocket expenses that will magnify the impact of the work and advance the artist’s career. These funds may be used before, during, or after the premiere. Scenarios might include: research, travel, consultation, preparation fees, equipment or software costs, rehearsals, workshops, space rental, collaboration costs, outreach events, touring, publication, recording, and promotion costs.

The Project Partner is someone other than you; typically a performer or ensemble. If you perform in your own work then the Project Partner needs to be a presenter or someone who will be producing the performance. This Partner provides a Commitment Letter indicating enthusiasm to perform, present, and promote the proposed work. Describe plans for the premiere and any additional activities that increase the visibility of the work and the artist. The Project Partner can only be a part of one application and can’t partner with multiple Primary Artists (composers). Make sure your Project Partner has not agreed to be a part of another 2018 ACF CREATE application and is not part of an awarded project supported by Jerome Foundation funding in 2016 or 2017. If multiple Primary Artists (composers) list the same Project Partner, the first commitment letter received/submitted with the completed application will be accepted and all other subsequent applicants will be asked to find another Project Partner.


How to Apply

The primary artist (creator of original music) completes or uploads the following in the Online Application Form:

  • Composer’s Personal Information (Questions 1.1 – 1.14):
  • Name, Address, Proof of Residency (PDF up to 10MB), Phone, Email Address, Website Link, Demographic Information
  • Web Links to Two Musical Work Samples (Questions 1.15 – 1.29): Provide web links to your musical work samples (SoundCloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.). Make sure the web links you provide in this application remain active until December 31, 2018. If you do not wish for your work samples to be public please make them unlisted so the committee will still have access.
  • Work Sample 1 makes the most critical impression on the panelists, and should represent your most distinctive and compelling musical example. Panelists will listen to four minutes of this work in the first round. If you wish them to start at a cue point other than the beginning, please indicate the start time for the cue in Question 15 Works Sample 1 – Cue Start Time.
  • Work Sample 2 should be a complementary complete work.

Together the work samples should demonstrate the relevance of – and the artist’s ability to carry out – the proposed new work. (30 minutes max for both complete works) For each work sample you will be asked to provide the Title, Duration, Year of Completion, Ensemble/Performers’ Name(s) (Character Limit: 1,000), Instrumentation (Character Limit: 600), Brief Description of the Work (Character Limit: 750).

Additional Musical Materials (Questions 1.30 – 1.33): Such as scores, charts, or information that give context for listening to these works. If your work involves improvisation, describe the role you played in creating the piece. You have the option of uploading two PDFs (up to 10MB each) or providing a web link to your additional materials. Panelist will not have access to music notation, electronic music, graphic, video, or other specialized software.

  • Primary Artist’s Personal Statement (Question 1.34): A personal statement articulating the development and direction of your music, aesthetic position, and the significance of this project to you at this time. State why you consider yourself “emerging”. You will type directly into the application, or copy and paste it from another word processing document. (Character Limit: 3,500)
  • Insights into your artistic experiences (Question 1.35: Two-pages maximum – PDF only – up to 10MB)This can be a biography, a list of 10 artistic experiences that have shaped you as a musician, or a resume. We would like this document to enhance your artistic statement and provide further insights into your creation of music. If you chose to list a set of 10 artistic experiences, please go deeper into details on two of the most important experiences out of the ten experiences.
  • Project Partner Information (Questions 1.36 – 1.45):
  • Name/organization, Address, Phone Number, Email, Website
  • Upload the Project Partner Commitment Letter (Question 1.46): Make sure your Project Partner has not agreed to be a part of another 2018 ACF | CREATE application and is not part of an awarded project supported with Jerome Foundation funding in 2016 or 2017. It is highly recommended that you upload the Commitment Letter as part of your online application. If needed, the Project Partner can email the commitment letter directly to Billy Lackey, VP of Programs ( If emailed, in the subject line use the following format: Composer’s First and Last Name – ACF CREATE Commitment Letter. The letter must be received by 11:59 PM (Central) Monday, September 17, 2018. If multiple Primary Artists (composers) list the same Project Partner, the first commitment letter received/submitted with the completed application will be accepted and all other subsequent applicants will be asked to find another Project Partner.
  • Proposed Work Information (Questions 1.47 – 1.49):
  • Title, Duration, and Number of Performers
  • A Description of the Proposed Work (Question 1.50): (Character Limit: 3,500)
  • Requested Commission Fee (Question 1.51): Up to $8,000.00 maximum request.
  • Requested Production and Promotion Funds (Question 1.52): Up to $3,000.00 maximum request. A description of how you would use the Production and Promotion Funds.Itemize the activities, their purpose, approximate costs, and give a timeline. (Character Limit: 4,000)
  • Electronic Signature (Question 1.53): I have carefully reviewed the 2018 ACF CREATE guidelines and it contains all of the necessary information. I understand that my application must be completed by the online application deadline of Monday, September 17, 2018 11:59 PM (Central). The American Composers Forum / ACF | CREATE program take no responsibility for applications that are not in Submitted status at the deadline. I certify that the statements in this application are true and complete to the best of my knowledge. If I am selected for the 2018 ACF | CREATE program offered by the American Composers Forum, I agree to abide by the policies of the ACF | CREATE program.


Selection Progress

ACF staff reviews all applications for eligibility and completeness. A diverse panel of artists familiar with a range of contemporary music will have access to all materials submitted. Each applicant’s complete recordings are listened to by at least one panelist. Panelists convene in St. Paul to make final determinations. Panelists remain anonymous until after the results are announced in late November 2018.

Online Information Sessions

The same information will be covered in each information sessions. Participants’ questions will change per session.

Thursday, August 9, 5:00 PM CST: Register HERE for this date.

Tuesday, August 14, 6:00 PM CST: Register HERE for this date.

Monday, August 27, 6:00 PM CST: Register HERE for this date.

Friday, August 31, 11:00 AM CST: Register HERE for this date.