The American Composers Forum is pleased to announce the 2017 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, IFP MN Center for Media Arts, MacPhail Center for Music, Playwrights’ Center, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, and The Loft Literary Center.

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

Program Description

  • The American Composers Forum will select up to two composers to design and produce their own residencies.
  • Visiting composers should expect to spend approximately 60 days in Minnesota, working on projects with a Minnesota community—or communities—of their choosing (although preferably not a musical community).
  • 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 where new music is rarely heard, such as rural areas, schools, community centers, and with participants who may not have worked with a composer before.

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 fellowships will be awarded.


  • Only composers living outside Minnesota are eligible.
  • Composers working in any style are encouraged to apply.
  • Full-time students are not eligible.
  • Recipients of 2014, 2015 and 2016 McKnight Visiting Composer Fellowships 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, 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.

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