The American Composers Forum is pleased to announce the 2018 McKnight Visiting Composers Residency Program. 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, FILMN°RTH, MacPhail Center for Music, Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and The Loft Literary Center.

2018 Participants

Anthony R. Green Photo by: Colin Conces
Anthony R. Green
Photo by: Colin Conces
Volker Goetze
Volker Goetze

2017 Participants

Paul Giess of Philadelphia, PA
Paul Giess
Philadelphia, PA
Kristin Norderval of New York, NY
Kristin Norderval
New York, NY

Program Description

  • The American Composers Forum will select up to two composers to design and produce their own residencies in Minnesota.
  • Visiting composers should expect to spend approximately 40 days in Minnesota, working on projects with a Minnesota community—or communities—of their choosing.
  • Visiting composers are expected to complete their projects within 18 months of receiving the award.
  • This is not a commissioning program, although new work may be part of the residency. In keeping with the Forum’s commitment to promoting awareness and understanding of living composers, this program encourages interaction with a variety of venues which will help promote composers’ role in society.

Selection Criteria

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.

Panelists will assess the:

  • Creative potential, imagination, and effectiveness of the proposed project.
  • Consistent high quality of applicant’s previous work.
  • Anticipated value of the residency project for the designated community.
  • Significance of this program to the composer’s career.

Specific partner organizations do not have to be identified at the time of application, although that is strongly encouraged. The panel is more interested in project designs that are promising while still being feasible. Selected composers will be asked to develop their plans prior to beginning the residency.


Up to two residencies of $10,000 will be awarded.

A PDF of the complete guidelines can be downloaded here.

Download the McKnight Visiting Residency worksheet here (.docx document). If you need a different format please email William Lackey at


  • Only composers living outside Minnesota are eligible.
  • Composers working in any style are encouraged to apply.
  • You may not be enrolled in a degree-seeking program, either part-time or full-time, at an institution of higher learning.
  • Recipients of 2015, 2016 and 2017 McKnight Visiting Composer Residency and/or McKnight Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible.
  • Artists may apply to only one of the twelve McKnight fellowship programs in a given year.
  • Composers do not have to be members of the American Composers Forum to apply.
  • Fellowship staff from any McKnight Artist Fellowship program are not eligible.
  • Fellowship staff and board of the American Composers Forum and immediate family are not eligible.
  • Staff and board of The McKnight Foundation are not eligible, as well as immediate family members of foundation arts program staff.

Selection Process

A panel of three composers from outside Minnesota, chosen for their familiarity with diverse genres of new music, will review applications and, in consultation with ACF staff, will select residency recipients.


The panel’s decision will be announced in late May, 2018. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email. After the 2018 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.


  1. Composer’s Personal Information (Questions 1 – 12):

Name, Address, Phone, Email Address, Website

  1. Project proposal (Questions 13: 6,000-character limit including spaces)

The project proposal should include a detailed description of your proposed residency activities while you are in Minnesota, including your interaction with the community you’ve chosen, and an explanation of the anticipated value of the residency for that community.

  1. Artist’s statement (Questions 14: 4,000-character limit including spaces)

A statement explaining the development of your work, your interests as an artist or your aesthetic position, why the residency you’ve designed would be valuable to you, and any other information you would like to present to the panel.

  1. Insights into your artistic experiences (Questions 15: 4,000-character limit including spaces) This can be a biography or a list of artistic experiences that have shaped you as a musician. We would like this document to enhance your artistic statement and provide further insights into your creation of music.
  1. Support materials (Question 16: Web link to materials)

Other relevant support materials, such as letter(s) of commitment from individuals and organizations involved in your proposed project (optional, but preferred when the proposal requires the involvement of specialized communities).

  1. Three Musical Work Samples (Questions: 17 – 40)

Up to three audio/and or video work samples totaling no more than 30-minutes of your music composed in the last three years. Keep in mind that work samples should support the criteria of the program and your project proposal. For each sample you will have the ability to list cue start and end times so that you can provide a complete work but point the panelists to specific areas of a longer work that you would like for them to review.

Provide three scores for the corresponding audio/video via web links. 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, etc.). Make sure web links you provide in this application remain active and unchanged until June 30, 2018. 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 five-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 19 Work Sample 1 – Cue Start Time. If no cue is provided the panelists will start at the beginning of the sample.
  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), and Instrumentation. You may also give other pertinent information you feel would be helpful to the panel, such as why you chose to submit this particular sample (3000-character limit including spaces).

  1. Acknowledgement of Terms and Conditions (Questions 41)

By applying, you attest:

  • to the accuracy of the information supplied in the application
  • application materials submitted is the applicants sole and original work
  • understand the purpose and conditions of the McKnight Compo program and to your acceptance to them should you be selected as a fellow
  • you are eligible for the competition, and that you will notify the American Composers Forum’s Vice President of Programs if you become ineligible prior to the conclusion of the competition.
  • Providing false or misleading information on this application, or failing in any other way to comply with the rules will subject you to disqualification and forfeiture of the fellowship.

2016 Participants

2016 McKnight Visiting Composer Wang Jie
Wang Jie
New York, NY
2016 McKnight Visiting Composer Peter Michael Von Der Nahmer Copy
Peter Michael Von Der Nahmer
Ozone Park, NY

2015:  Clarice Assad and Wayne Horvitz
Panelists: David Dzubay, Aruán Ortiz, Zeena Parkins

2014:  Robin Eschner and Pamela Z
Panelists: Amir ElSaffar, Stacy Garrop, and Daniel Trueman

2013:  Chris Coyle and Jin Hi Kim
Panelists: Anne LeBaron, Nicole Mitchell, Sven-David Sandstrom

2012:  Hugh Livingston and Charles Peck
Panelists: Nancy Galbraith, Graham Reynolds, Huang Ruo

2011:  William J. Lackey, Kanniks Kannikeswaran
Panelists: Linda Dusman, J.D. Parran, Jack Perla

2010: Ellen Fullman, David James Nielsen
Panelists: Fernando Benadon, David Conte, Mary Jane Leach

2009: Eve Beglarian, Ryan Ingebritsen
Panelists: Derek Bermel, Jennifer Bilfield, Newman Baker

2008: Jeff Herriot, William Neil
Panelists: Mark Applebaum, Margaret Leng-Tan, David Stock

2007: Billy Fox, Evan Solot
Panelists: Susie Ibarra, Matthew Levy, Steven Stucky

2006: Sidiki Conde, Stuart Hyatt
Panelists: Milford Graves, Belinda Reynolds, Neil Rolnick

2005: Todd Hammes, Susan Haugh
Panelists: Eleanor Hovda, Robert Moran, Roger Kleier

2004: Michelle Nagai, Ushio Torikai
Panelists: Jason Hwang, Alex Shapiro, Kevin Stahlheim

2003: Oliver Lake, John Morton
Panelists: Fred Frith, Anthony deMare, Ileana Perez Velazquez

2002: Steven Rosenthal, Janek Schaefer
Panelists: Joel Chadabe, Melissa Hui, David Cleary

2001: Kenny Endo, Annie Gosfield & Roger Kleier
Panelists: Chinary Ung, Eve Beglarian, Philip Bimstein

2000: Fred Ho, Beth Custer
Panelists: Bill Brooks, Tamar Diesendruck, Adolphus Hailstork

1999: Brenda Hutchinson, Susan Rawcliffe
Panelists: Ellen Christi, Allen Strange, Regina Baiocchi

1998: Ron George, Richard Johnson
Panelists: John Duffy, Fred Ho, Judith Shatin

1997: Ermir Dergjini, Pamela Z
Panelists: Sebastian Currier, Anne Deane, Gustavo Matamoros

1996: Brent Michael Davids, David Revill
Panelists: Orlando Garcia, James Tenney, Augusta Reed Thomas

1995: William Banfield, Dan Senn
Panelists: Warren Burt, Fran Richard, Lois Vierk