LO Creators Corps


The Louisville Orchestra (LO) Creators Corps offers fully-funded 1- to 3-year residencies in Louisville, KY, to three selected composers/creators. The selected creators will collaborate with the orchestra to write new works, participate in community engagement programming, and maintain vibrant and active presences in the local community. The orchestra will provide each creator with a $40,000 salary, health benefits, free housing, and free studio workspaces.  





The Louisville Orchestra’s (LO) newest initiative, the Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps, launches a new model for how artists/composers/creators can collaborate with a symphony orchestra in the 21st century. Each year, the LO will invite three individual creators to move to Louisville for at least 30 weeks. Throughout their residencies, they will compose new works to be performed by the LO, participate in educational and community engagement activities, and be active, engaged citizens of Shelby Park, the neighborhood where they’ll reside. 

This program has been funded by a three-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and individual donors to the LO. 


Since its founding in 1937, the Louisville Orchestra has had a historic and unrivaled commitment to sustaining living composers and contemporary music. Charles Farnsley, LO’s board chairman and later Louisville’s mayor, together with Robert Whitney, the LO’s founding music director and conductor, conceived an adventurous plan to make the commissioning, performance, and recording of new works a centerpiece of the LO’s global mission. Between 1950 and 1992, the orchestra annually commissioned and recorded more than 150 new compositions from composers worldwide, releasing nearly 150 LPs of more than 450 works by living composers.

Since Teddy Abrams arrived as music director in 2014, the LO has renewed its dedication to new music with a variety of innovative programming. The LO Creators Corps is the boldest embodiment of this mission to date, connecting the LO’s foundational ethos with a new vision for how creators can sustain and be sustained by the cultural life of a city, a neighborhood, and a community.

Applicant Profile

We are searching for three creators with bold ideas about collaborating with an orchestra in the 21st century. Our ideal candidates: 

  • Have a distinctive, fully-realized creative voice with the technical capacity to achieve their vision. 
  • Are fluent in composing for orchestral forces (or be willing to collaborate with someone who is), though they need not necessarily come from a traditional Western Classical background
  • Are passionate about forging relationships with community organizations to advance music’s role in civic life. 
  • Care deeply about education, having experience in or being excited to work with local students and teachers on creative music-making programs. 
  • Be willing to engage with and be accessible to residents of the neighborhood where they will live, participate in public events, and share their work. 

The Louisville Orchestra aims to assemble a cohort of “artist-leaders” who represent a diverse range of backgrounds and practices yet share the LO’s conviction that music is a fundamental part of civic life.

Resident Responsibilities

Throughout their residency, each creator must:

  • Make Louisville, KY their primary residence for 30 to 48 weeks of the year. The LO will give each creator the option to reapply/renew annually for up to 3 years.
  • Create at least one large-scale orchestral work per year to form the basis of the LO’s annual Festival of American Music and other programs throughout the season.
  • Create or direct at least one community-based project per year within one of the following categories:
    • A large-scale outdoor public musical installation
    • An education-based work for families and/or youth
    • An orchestral work involving partnerships between the LO’s musicians and other performers of diverse genres/backgrounds
    • Other projects, as proposed and agreed upon between the creator and the LO
  • Curate a portion of one program per year for the LO at Old Forester’s Paristown Hall.
  • Participate in educational and outreach activities as part of the LO’s community engagement programming for audience members ranging from 5 to 75 years of age.
  • Participate in public activities in the Shelby Park neighborhood and throughout Louisville, including presentations of their work, studio visits, open workshops with the LO, concerts, and other social events. 

Residency Benefits

Each of the three selected creators will receive:

  • Free housing for themselves and their families
  • Free access to custom-built studio workspaces
  • $40,000 per year salary
  • $1,000 relocation assistance
  • Health insurance coverage from the LO
  • Access to LO musicians, staff, and Teddy Abrams as “sounding boards” and regular collaborators
  • Should they wish, each creator can receive private conducting training from Teddy Abrams

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • March 11, 2022: Applications open
  • May 2, 2022: Application deadline
  • End of May 2022: Notification
  • August 2022: Selected residents begin relocating to Louisville
  • September 1, 2022: Residency period begins


Applicant Eligibility

Only individual creators (as an individual, an artist-led nonprofit organization, or an artist-led corporation) may apply to this program. An eligible creator is:

  • An early or mid-career composer, songwriter, producer, sound artist, or intermedia artist
  • A U.S. citizen or permanent resident who is based in the U.S. or its territories. (the LO is unable to provide visas at this time)

While the Louisville Orchestra is an institution rooted in the Western Art Music tradition, we do not attempt to limit or define the history or aesthetic range of that tradition. We encourage applications from creators whose background and experience lie outside of this tradition.

Application Materials

In the application portal, we ask all applicants to submit the following materials:

  • Resume or CV
  • Three (3) works that you feel most strongly demonstrate your voice and technical capacity as a creator. If you have composed works for orchestra or large ensemble, please include one of them. Submit links to scores, recordings, videos, text, or any other kind of documentation appropriate to your work.
  • Rank your interest in developing projects for the following community engagement programs:
    1. Family Programming: Create new and entertaining ways for audiences of all ages to engage with the orchestra and its musicians. E.g., a narrative work based upon a piece of literature, a project involving creative participation from audience members, working with small ensembles to create new family programs.

    2. Community Engagement: Create collaborative works in partnership with another Louisville-based organization that explores social/cultural themes, engages with the mission/audience of the partnering organization, or connects with listeners beyond the concert hall. E.g., a site-specific installation involving LO musicians, a collaborative intermedia project, composing/orchestrating accompaniments, and leading workshops for Louisville Orchestra Rap School.

    3. School Project: Create works that feature or are performed by/for Louisville-area K-12 students, helping them connect with their instruments, the orchestra, and music generally in new ways. E.g., a work designed for young audiences, a work written to be played by students as part of the MakingMUSIC program, co-creating educational workshops or residencies with Louisville-area schools.

    4. Other: Propose your own community-based project that you’d like to develop with the LO and at least one other partnering organization.

  • A proposal for an example project you would undertake in one of the above categories (500 words or fewer)
  • Responses to each of the following questions (500 words or fewer per question):
    1. Describe your artistic goals, methods, and/or process. What is most important to you in your creative practice?

    2. Describe why this opportunity interests you, and how you envision it will help you to advance your creative goals or career as an artist

    3. We invite you to share information about your community (shared geography, religion, ethnicity, income, cuisine, interest, race, ideology, or intellectual heritage) by describing your community, your relationship to it, and the role your work serves in your community’s social, cultural, or civic ecosystem.

    4. Discuss what methods of public discourse (e.g. presentations, social activities, etc.) you consider useful in sharing and creating conversations about your work

    5. Describe your ideal (most productive, creative, relaxing) day in as much detail as possible. What would you do? Where would you go? What would your schedule be like?

Judging Procedures

The LO has assembled a Selection Committee to determine each year’s three finalists. The committee will search for creators from a variety of backgrounds who have distinctive artistic voices, are dedicated to community and educational outreach, and care deeply about grounding their musical practice in social engagement. The committee will evaluate the applications according to the following criteria:

  • Artistic Craft (45%):

    • Strong sense of the creator’s voice

    • Technical proficiency necessary to achieve the desired results

    • Quality of work samples (“quality” always being defined by a cultural context)

  • Community Orientation (20%):

    • Capacity to develop and execute community engagement projects, both self-directed and in partnership with the LO

    • Willingness and ability to cultivate relationships with local cultural and educational organizations

    • Willingness and ability to live and work collaboratively, both with the other creators in the cohort and with Louisville-based institutions

  • Neighborhood Engagement (20%):

    • Willingness to be an active and visible presence in the Shelby Park neighborhood

    • Interest in participating in neighborhood social and cultural activities

    • Willingness to give public presentations to neighborhood residents, discuss creative processes, demonstrate works-in-progress, etc.

  • Professional/Creative Advancement (15%):

    • Participating in this initiative will help the creator achieve their personal, professional, and artistic goals.


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