American Composers Forum (ACF) is thrilled to announce its next BandQuest® commission and residency partnership with flutist and composer Valerie Coleman and The Juilliard School’s Music Advancement Program (MAP). Over the course of the 2021-2022 school year,Coleman will collaborate with the young musicians of MAP in a residency that will span workshops, conversations, performances, chamber coachings, and full ensemble collaboration. A culminating piece co-created by Coleman and the students will receive its world premiere performance in New York City in Spring 2022. 

For more than 20 years, ACF’s BandQuest program has enabled established music creators to collaborate with school band programs on creating a new musical work. The resulting piece of music is published by ACF and distributed exclusively by Hal Leonard Corporation. Leading up to each culminating work is a residency that values the direct connection between composer and student and demonstrates the power of creative expression to the students and those around them. Over the course of the multi-week residency, the composer builds a relationship with the students while engaging them in the act of creation. To date, BandQuest has reached millions of young musicians with residencies across the country and through its published works by artists such as Alex Shapiro, Tania León, and Adolphus Hailstork.

Coleman expressed, “I am honored and thrilled to be working alongside American Composers Forum and Juilliard in this exciting venture. The opportunities and resources provided to young musicians by these organizations have been invaluable to ensure that the vibrancy and enthusiasm for music playing within students remain strong throughout their young careers. As a teaching alum of MAP, I look forward to reconnecting with the program and spending time with the students from all scheduled programs during this residency, and to create a work that celebrates and bolsters their artistic potential.”

While Coleman has a long relationship with MAP, this new collaboration between ACF and the program was born from their conversations about how a composer could be integrated into their preparatory program to foster creativity and deepen students’ learning. “The Music Advancement Program is excited to participate in American Composers Forum’s BandQuest Residency with the amazing Valerie Coleman,” says Weston Sprott, Dean of Juilliard’s Preparatory Division. “Valerie’s return to Juilliard to create a work for our wind ensemble, teach our students in composition and chamber music, and inspire our community in numerous other ways promises to be a highlight of the school year.”

Photo by Claudio Papapietro

“This expansion of BandQuest enables ACF to work with several elements of a program like MAP that is dedicated to transformative work: bringing together students studying different areas of music in the spirit of creation, providing an opportunity to pilot a composer-in-residence, and inspiring the student’s ecosystem around them to work and play with a living composer. We are excited to follow the tremendous impact making music with Valerie will have on the students, and their community,” shared ACF’s President & CEO Vanessa Rose. 

In addition to the published works, ACF offers free, downloadable curricula to complement each musical score and provide teachers with a guide for giving future students the tools for expression and creativity, encouraging them to explore musical ideas and to appreciate historical and cultural contexts.

Learn more about BandQuest at


Valerie Coleman is an internationally acclaimed, Grammy® nominated flutist and composer. She is an alumna of Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center Bowers Fellowship program, laureate of Concert Artists Guild competition, American Public Radio’s “2020 Classical Woman of the Year”, and is the creator of the ensemble Imani Winds. Listed as “one of the Top 35 Women Composers” in the Washington Post, Valerie has recently become the first African-American woman to be commissioned by the Philadelphia Orchestra, and was featured as a composer in residence for Orchestra of St. Luke’s NYC 5-borough tour. Alongside performances of her music by the likes of St. Louis Symphony, The Philadelphia Orchestra, New York Philharmonic, Minnesota Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony, Saint Paul Chamber Orchestra, Atlanta Symphony, New World Symphony, The Louisville Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, and Utah Symphony, she has received the Herb Alpert Awards Ragdale Prize, Van Lier Fellowship, MAPFund, ASCAP Honors Award, among others. Her work, UMOJA, was listed by Chamber Music America as one of the “Top 101 Great American Ensemble Works”. Alongside multiple commissions from Carnegie Hall, others include: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, American Composers Orchestra, Collegiate Band Directors National Association, Chamber Music Northwest, National Flute Association, and Hartford Symphony Orchestra. Her work as a recording artist features an extensive discography with Imani Winds, and appearances on albums by Wayne Shorter Quartet, Steve Coleman and the Council of Balance, Chick Corea, the Brubeck Brothers, Edward Simon, and Mohammed Fairouz, on the record labels Naxos, Sony Classical, Deutsche Grammophon, eOne and Cedille Records. Both her compositions and performances are regularly “on the air” at Sirius XM, NPR, WNYC, WQXR and Minnesota Public Radio and abroad including RadioFrance, Australian Broadcast Company, and Radio NZ. Valerie is a highly sought-after recitalist and multi-disciplinary clinician with a reputation of transformative skill. Masterclasses and performances at top institutions include: Eastman School of Music, The Juilliard School, Curtis Institute, Manhattan School of Music, Yale University, Carnegie Mellon, Oberlin College, University of Chicago, and Interlochen Arts Academy. Valerie Coleman is a Yamaha Flute Artist.


Photo by Rachel Papo

MAP is a Saturday program for intermediate and advanced music students from New York City’s five boroughs and the tristate area who demonstrate a commitment to artistic excellence. The program actively seeks students from diverse backgrounds underrepresented in the classical music field and is committed to enrolling the most talented and deserving students regardless of their financial background. Through a rigorous curriculum, performance opportunities, and guidance from an accomplished faculty, MAP students gain the necessary skills to pursue advanced music studies while developing their talents as artists, leaders, and global citizens. Approximately 70 students are enrolled in MAP, which is led by Artistic Director Anthony McGill. MAP is generously supported through an endowed gift in memory of Carl K. Heyman.


ACF supports and advocates for individuals and groups creating music today by demonstrating the vitality and relevance of their art. We connect artists with collaborators, organizations, audiences, and resources. Through storytelling, publications, recordings, hosted gatherings, and industry leadership, we activate equitable opportunities for artists. We provide direct funding and mentorship to a broad and diverse field of music creators, highlighting those who have been historically excluded from participation.

Founded in 1973 by composers Libby Larsen and Stephen Paulus as the Minnesota Composers Forum, the organization continues to invest in its Minnesota home while connecting artists and advocates across the United States, its territories, and beyond. ACF frames our work with a focus on racial equity and includes within that scope, but not limited to, diverse gender identities, musical approaches and perspectives, religions, ages, (dis)abilities, cultures, backgrounds, sexual orientations, and broad definitions of being “American.” Visit and for more information.

This project is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. To find out more about how National Endowment for the Arts grants impact individuals and communities, visit Additional support is provided by the I.A. O’Shaughnessy Foundation

Download a PDF of the Press Release here.