McKnight Foundation
The American Composers Forum is pleased to announce the 2017 McKnight Fellowships for Composers. This program is made possible by the generous support of The McKnight Foundation. The McKnight Foundation also funds artist fellowship programs in ceramic arts, choreography, dance, media arts, music performance, playwriting and theater arts, visual arts, and writers; administered respectively by the Northern Clay Center, The Cowles Center, IFP MN Center for Media Arts, MacPhail Center for Music, Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and The Loft Literary Center.

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

2017 Panelists: Fang Man, Ken Field, and Marilyn Shrude

deVon Russell Gray
Linda Kachelmeier
Linda Kachelmeier
Andrea Mazzariello
Andrea Mazzariello
Jake Runestad
Jake Runestad





The intent of this program is to enrich and strengthen the state of Minnesota by acknowledging the accomplishments of composers and supporting for their artistic growth.


The McKnight Fellowships provide recognition and financial support for mid-career composers working in any musical genre. The program is designed to award composers whose work is of exceptional artistic merit, who have created a substantial body of work over a period of time, and who are at a career stage that is beyond emerging.


  • Four fellowships of $25,000 in unrestricted funds will be awarded.
  • Fellows also have an opportunity to work for one month in one of five artist residency communities partnering with the American Composers Forum. Planning for this residency occurs during the fellowship year, and Fellows have up to four years to implement the plan.


  • The intent of this program is to award composers who live and work in Minnesota; have made a significant artistic contribution to this community and who will continue their artistic growth in Minnesota. Composers working in any style are encouraged to apply.
  • Applicant must be a US citizen and a resident of Minnesota. Applicant must have been a continuous resident of Minnesota for at least one year prior to the application deadline.
  • Fellows must retain residency in Minnesota until the end of the grant period.
  • Applicant must be 18 years of age or older and must have completed all formal academic training. Applicant may not be enrolled either full-or part-time in a degree-granting institution at the time of the application deadline.
    • NOTE: Applicants who are ABD (All But Dissertation) are not eligible to apply.
  • Composers may apply to only one of the McKnight fellowship programs in a given year. In addition, no composer may receive more than $50,000 in McKnight support in any three-year period.
  • Recipients of 2014, 2015 and 2016 McKnight fellowships in any discipline are not eligible.
  • Fellowship staff from any McKnight Artist Fellowship programs are not eligible.
  • Staff and board members of the American Composers Forum and immediate family are not eligible.
  • Staff and board members of The McKnight Foundation are not eligible, as well as immediate family members of foundation arts program staff.
  • Composers do not have to be members of the American Composers Forum to apply.
  • If you previously received a McKnight fellowship, the selection panel will look for continued outstanding work since the last award. The panel may also look for continued growth. Your work samples should focus on the period of time since your last award.

Selection Process

A panel of three composers from outside Minnesota chosen for their familiarity with diverse genres of new music will review applications and select fellowship recipients.


The panel’s decision will be announced in late May, 2017. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email. After the 2017 McKnight Fellowships for Composers and Visiting Composer Residencies are announced, all applicants will have the opportunity to setup a phone appointment with the ACF vice president of programs for feedback from the panelists. 

How to Apply

  1. Composer’s Personal Information (Questions 1 – 12):
    Name, Address, Phone, Email Address, Website
  2. Artist’s statement (Question 13: Two-pages maximum – PDF only – up to 10MB)
    The artist statement may take any of several directions, at your discretion: information about your background, the development of your work, your interests as an artist or your aesthetic position, your future artistic direction, or any other information you would like to present to the panel.
  3. Resume or bio (Question 14: Two-pages maximum – PDF only – up to 10MB)
  4. Three Musical Work Samples Work (Questions 15 – 41)
    Provide a maximum of three works you have composed. At least one of your work samples should be of a work you composed in the last three years. Keep in mind that work samples should support the criteria of the program. If you have previously received a McKnight Fellowship, concentrate your work samples on the period of time since your last award.Provide PDFs of three scores (up to 10MB each) and web links to the corresponding audio. If the PDF of your score is larger than 10 MB, a space will be given for you to provide a web link to the lager file. Written scores are required unless they are inappropriate to your compositional style. For improvised performance, please clearly describe the nature of your involvement as the composer in the creation of the piece in a document uploaded or hosted in the link provided.Provide web links to your musical samples (SoundCloud, YouTube, Vimeo, Google Drive, iCloud, etc.). Make sure web links you provide in this application remain active and unchanged until June 30, 2017. If you do not wish for your work samples to be public please make them unlisted so the committee will still have access

    1. Work Sample 1 makes the most critical impression on the panelists, and should represent your most distinctive and compelling musical example. Panelists will listen up 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 Work Sample 1 – Cue Start Time.
    2. Work Samples 2 & 3 should be complementary complete works

For each work sample you will be asked to provide the Title, Duration, Year of Completion, Ensemble/Name(s) of Performer(s), Instrumentation. You may also give other pertinent information you feel would be helpful to the panel, such as how it fits into your body of work and why you chose to submit this particular sample (3000 characters or about 500 words for each work sample).

Additional Information

  • Entries must be submitted electronically via the link below on or before 11:59 PM Central on Wednesday, March 15, 2017. SlideRoom application:
  • Late applications will not be considered.
  • Entries submitted by mail or means other than the provided online application process will not be eligible for consideration.

Resources for Unlisted Links



Google Drive:


2016 Panelists: Susan Botti, Rudresh Mahanthappa, Douglas Geers

Asako Hirabayashi
Asako Hirabayashi
Sergey Khvoshchinsky
Sergey Khvoshchinsky
David Means
David Means
Joko Sutrisno
Joko Sutrisno








  • 2015: Abbie Betinis, David King, Reinaldo Moya, Peter O’Gorman
    Panelists: David Dzubay, Aruán Ortiz, Zeena Parkins
  • 2014: Alex Freeman, Jocelyn Hagen, Michelle Kinney, George Maurer
    Panelists: Amir ElSaffar, Stacy Garrop, and Daniel Trueman
  • 2013: Randy Bauer, Scott Miller, Joshua Musikantow and David Evan Thomas
    Panelists: Anne LeBaron, Nicole Mitchell and Sven-David Sandstrom
  • 2012: Viv Corringham, Christopher Danforth, Douglas R. Ewart and Steve Tibbetts
    Panelists: Nancy Galbraith, Graham Reynolds, Huang Ruo
  • 2011:Elizabeth Alexander, Justin Merritt, Jeremy Wagner and Spencer Wirth-Davis
  • Panelists: Linda Dusman, J.D. Parran and Jack Perla
  • 2010: Neal Hagberg, Jocelyn Hagen, Ann Millikan and Peter O’Gorman
  • Panelists: Fernando Benadon, David Conte and Mary Jane Leach
  • 2009: Abbie Betinis, Mankwe Ndosi, Schuyler Tsuda and Janika Vandervelde
  • Panelists: Derek Bermel, Jennifer Bilfield and Newman Baker
  • 2008: John E. Bower, Brent Michael Davids, Philip Fried and Noah Keesecker
  • Panelists: Mark Applebaum, Margaret Leng-Tan and David Stock
  • 2007:Douglas Ewart, Douglas Geers, Adam Wernick and Preston Wright
  • Panelists: Susie Ibarra, Matthew Levy and Steven Stucky
  • 2006:Mary Ellen Childs, Viv Corringham, Edie Hill and Aaron Kerr
  • Panelists: Milford Graves, Belinda Reynolds and Neil Rolnick
  • 2005:Yawo Attivor, Carol Barnett, Eric Barnum and Thomas Scott
  • Panelists: Fred Frith, Anthony deMare and Ileana Perez Velazquez
  • 2004:Ruth MacKenzie, Mike Olson, Matthew Smith and Ying Zang
  • Panelists: Jason Hwang, Alex Shapiro and Kevin Stahlheim
  • 2003: Michael Croswell, Jeffrey Brooks, Janika Vandervelde and George Cartwright
  • Panelists: Eleanor Hovda, Robert Moran and Roger Kleier
  • 2002: Brent Michael Davids, James Harley, Barb Ryman and Preston Wright
  • Panelists: Joel Chadabe, Melissa Hui and David Cleary
  • 2001:Steve Heitzeg, John O’Brien, Scott Miller and Edie Hill
  • Panelists: Chinary Ung, Eve Beglarian and Philip Bimstein
  • 2000: Erik Belgum, Douglas Ewart, John Jindra, David Means and Victor Zupanc
  • Panelists: Bill Brooks, Tamar Diesendruck and Adolphus Hailstork
  • 1999: Chris Bates, Dan Kallman, Anne Kilstofte, Monte Mason and Carei Thomas
  • Panelists: Ellen Christi, Allen Strange and Regina Baiocchi
  • 1998:Maura Bosch, Jeffrey Brooks, Doug Little and Carl Witt
  • Panelists: John Duffy, Fred Ho and Judith Shatin
  • 1997: Mary Ellen Childs, Anthony Gatto, Michael Karmon, Schoen Oslund and Gary Wolber
  • Panelists: Sebastian Currier, Anne Deane and Gustavo Matamoros
  • 1996:Keith Bradshaw, Jan Gilbert, Edie Hill, Michael Nelson, Richard Paske and Russell Platt
  • Panelists: Orlando Garcia, James Tenney and Augusta Reed Thomas
  • 1995: Ellen Lease, David Means, Kevin Schmidt, Gary Schulte, Lorren Stafford and Zhang Ying
  • Panelists: Warren Burt, Fran Richard and Lois Vierk
  • 1994:John Baboukis, Jeffrey Brooks, Craig Carnahan, Anne Kilstofte, Ethan Torrey, Janika Vandervelde and Victor Zupanc
  • Panelists: Bun-Ching Lam, Susan McClary and Larry Polansky
  • 1993:Marc Anderson, Tristan Fuentes, Marjorie Hess, William Lang, Carleton Macy, Lori Westmoreland-Schoenfeld, Paul Siskind and Steve Tibbetts
  • Panelists: Mary Ann Feldman, Steven Mackey and Larry Polansky
  • 1992:Mary Ellen Childs, Douglas Ewart, Cary John Franklin, Henry Gwiazda, Paul Koonce, Charles McHugh, Monica Maye and David Evan Thomas
  • Panelists: Robert Paredes, Jeanette O’Connor and Vincent Plush
  • 1991:John Devine, Jan Gilbert, Eleanor Hovda, Daniel Kallman, Homer Lambrecht and David Means
  • Panelists: Carman Moore, Ingram Marshall and Marion Brandis
  • 1990: Carl Bergmann, Jeffrey Brooks, Arthur Campbell, Mark Hellum, David John Olsen and Eric Stokes
  • Panelists: Cindy McTee, Martin Bresnick and Elinor Armer
  • 1989: Marc Anderson, Michelle Kinney and Ellen Lease
  • Panelists: Reggie Workman, Alice Parker and James Mobberley
  • 1988:Miriam Gerberg, Jan Gilbert, Eleanor Hovda and Sarah Peebles
  • Panelists: Kenneth Gaburo, Alan Otte and Carol Plantamura
  • 1987: Mary Ellen Childs, Randall Davidson and Philip Rhodes
  • Panelists: Michael Fleming, Ed London and Nancy Shear