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McKnight Fellowships for Musicians

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McKnight Fellowships for Musicians




With the generous support of the McKnight Foundation, MacPhail awards four $25,000 fellowships to outstanding and distinctive mid-career solo artists or small ensembles/bands. A McKnight Musician Fellowship can help an artist set aside periods of time for study, reflection, experimentation, and exploration; take advantage of an opportunity; or work on a new project. Ensembles/bands that are recognized as finalists and/or fellowship recipients will split awards between members; individual ensemble/band members will not each receive the full award amount. Awards are subject to state and federal income tax guidelines.

Panel Members:
A four-member panel consisting of experienced and well-respected music professionals selects the McKnight Musician Fellows. The panel members are performing musicians, producers, composers, directors, and educators with an appreciation for and knowledge of a diverse range of musical styles and genres. All panelists are from outside the state of Minnesota. Panelists, insofar as possible, represent a diversity of age, ethnicity, gender and geography.

The McKnight Musician Fellowship panelists remain anonymous during the selection process.

Review Process:
Applicants are evaluated and selected based on the quality of their work as evidenced in submitted materials, most importantly work samples. Distinctive musical voice, exceptional artistic merit and the content of the artist statement will be considered during the selection process.

Consideration is given to accomplishments to date as well as promise for continued development and the impact the fellowship will have on the artist. The panel will also be asked to consider the breadth of artistic practices among Minnesota musicians, which include a wide range of styles and genres, which may be influenced by ethnicity, gender, and geography.

Solo artists and ensembles/bands in all styles compete together.

First Round Selection Process:
Panelists will review the tracks submitted as a part of Work Sample A. The panel will choose approximately one-third of the applications to advance to the second round. Panelists are not given the names of applicants in the first round. Applicants who do not advance to the second round are told by email.

Second Round Selection Process:
The panelists will review the tracks submitted as a part of Work Sample A & Work Sample B, the optional live performance video, résumés and artist statements. After making individual selections from the full list of second round applicants, panelist will meet via conference call to discuss the applicants who are of greatest interest to them. Nine solo artists/ensembles/bands will be selected to perform in the live auditions. Applicants will be notified about their application status by email one month prior to the live audition date.

Finalist Auditions:
Finalists are invited to perform for the panel at MacPhail Center for Music. All finalists must be present to be considered for a fellowship – no exceptions. Finalists receive a $1,000 honorarium for their performance; for fellowship recipients, the honorarium is considered part of the $25,000 award. Finalists present a live performance of no longer than 20 minutes; panelists have up to an additional 15 minutes to ask questions of and talk with each artist/ensemble/band. Panelists consider the performance and conversation with finalists alongside previously submitted materials in selecting four solo artist/ensemble/band fellowship recipients. Finalists are not required to perform works from their online submissions at the final audition. Performance times are scheduled by lottery. Finalists are notified of the judges’ decision by phone shortly thereafter.