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The American Composers Forum is pleased to announce the 2020 McKnight Visiting Composers Residency Program. This program is made possible by the generous support of The McKnight Foundation.

2020 Participants

2020 panelists were composers Carolina Heredia (Columbia, MO), Donovan Mixon (Evanston, IL), and Beth Wiemann (Maynard, MA).

Nathan Hall Photo by Sten Melin
Nathan Hall
Angélica Negrón  Photo by Catalina Kulczar
Angélica Negrón
Nathan Hall photo by Sten Melin; Angélica Negrón photo by Catalina Kulczar


2020 Program Description

  • The American Composers Forum will select up to two music creators for an artistic residency in Minnesota.
  • Artists work with the ACF team to design and produce a residency that integrates with the Minnesota community in a unique way.
  • Visiting composers spend approximately 40 days in Minnesota over an 18-month period, building relationships and working on projects.
  • New work may be part of the residency, but the focus is on the exploration of an artist within a Minnesota community. ACF believes in the power of music creators to be storytellers, connectors, or catalysts through their art. This program invites artists to respond to or reflect on the unique qualities of people and communities in our home state.

Please note: we believe that an authentic relationship between the composer and the ensemble/community is necessary for a successful residency. ACF staff is available to help you consider and connect with potential partners as you plan your application.

2020 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 who demonstrate compelling artistic work. 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 quality of applicant’s previous work.
  • Anticipated value of the residency project for the composer’s artistic work and ensemble and/or designated community.

Community partner(s) support email or letter is required from your project partner(s).  You will have until Friday, May 8, 2020 to submit an email or a letter from your partner. Please email these to Billy Lackey at The panel is interested in why you want to collaborate with your project partner(s) and how it will benefit them as well as your own artistic trajectory.

2020 Awards

Up to two residencies of $10,000 will be awarded. All funds are distributed directly to the selected composer across four installments. Awards are subject to state and federal income tax guidelines.

Information regarding the 2021 program will be posted here in December 2020. 

For Information regarding projects for the past Four years, visit Here.

2020 Eligibility

  • Composers/music creators working in any style are encouraged to apply.
  • You must be living outside Minnesota.
  • You must have a US Social Security Number or US Tax ID.
  • You are not staff, board, or immediate family of the McKnight Foundation or fellowship administrative partners. The administrative partners are Minnesota Center for Books, Northern Clay Center, The Cowles Center, American Composers Forum, Pillsbury House Theatre, Textile Center, FILMN°RTH, MacPhail Center for Music, The Playwrights’ Center, Highpoint Center for Printmaking, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and The Loft.
  • You may not be enrolled full-time in an academic program.
  • Recipients of 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019 McKnight Visiting Composer Residency and/or McKnight Fellowships in any discipline are not eligible.
  • Composers do not have to be American Composers Forum members to apply.

2020 Selection Process

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

2020 Notification

The panel’s decision will be announced in June, 2020. Results will be posted on ACF’s website and applicants will be notified by email. After the 2020 McKnight Fellowships for Composers and Visiting Composer Residencies are announced, all applicants will have the opportunity to setup a phone appointment with ACF’s Vice President of Programs for feedback from the panelists.



Information regarding the 2021 program will be posted here in December 2020. 

2019 Participants

2019 panelists were composers Gavin Chuck (Chicago, IL), Elainie Lillios (Bowling Green OH), and Gilda Lyons (Rhinebeck, NY)

Sergio Barer
Sergio Barer
Danny Clay
Danny Clay
Sergia Barer photo by KI Concerts; Danny Clay photo by John Fisher


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

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