Louisville Orchestra Creators Corps

For immediate release         

Contact Mallory Kramer mkramer@louisvilleorchestra.org

Teddy Abrams & Louisville Orchestra Seek Resident Composers for 2023-24 and 2024-25 “Creators Corps”

Long praised for visionary thinking about the role of an orchestra in its community, galvanizing Music Director Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra seeks composers and creators for their highly successful Creators Corps residency program: three for the 2023-24 season and three for the 2024-25 season. The 2023-24 residency will begin on September 1, 2023, and the 2024-25 residency will start on July 1, 2024. Artists can apply through an online submission process by January 31, 2023.

Now in its inaugural year, the Creators Corps transcends traditional commissioning and composer-in-residence paradigms with a radically new model for collaborating with symphony orchestras in the 21st century. Each year, the orchestra invites three creators to move to Louisville and live in the Shelby Park neighborhood for at least 30 weeks, serving as staff members with an annual salary of $40,000, health insurance, provided housing, and studio equipment. Throughout their residencies, they will be invited to compose new works to be performed by the orchestra, participate in educational and community engagement activities, and be engaged citizens of their neighborhood. Funding for the program comes from a three-year, $750,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and individual donors to the LO.

The 2022-23 Creators Corps cohort consists of Lisa Bielawa, TJ Cole, and Tyler Taylor. Each is writing a new orchestral work that the LO will premiere in 2023, working on education projects with Jefferson County Public Schools, and planning an array of community engagement projects throughout Louisville.

Creators Corps member Lisa Bielawa gives some insight:

“The LO and Teddy, himself a gifted and visionary leader, have opened the door to the Louisville community for us, welcoming and energizing our own individual and unique visions for music-making in civic life. All three of us are guided by a deep connection with music’s role in the world, and the possibilities of the composer as citizen of that world. On our block in Shelby Park, we are always there for each other – for bouncing ideas around, cheerleading, relaxing and always nurturing one another. We ignite each other’s imaginations. With deep investment, we leverage, then celebrate, each milestone in each other’s creative process. As more and more local musicians and artists of all ages – plus the superb guest artists that come to Louisville to work with the LO – come into our circle, this idea world grows. It is about the future – what we have learned as artists and as people in the past few years, and how orchestras, composers, cities and communities can use this knowledge to build new meaning together.”

Abrams — who is now in his ninth season with the orchestra and Musical America’s 2022 Conductor of the Year — explains:

“Lisa, TJ and Tyler are consummate examples of 21st century artist-leaders. Their musical talents match their intellects, and they share a remarkable sensitivity to the needs of the world beyond musical composition.”

The Creators Corps initiative builds on the Louisville Orchestra’s earliest history and personality as an institution. Starting in 1947, the orchestra began an ambitious and unprecedented project of commissioning new orchestral works from composers worldwide. At a time when even the most prestigious orchestras were offering few pieces by living composers, the Louisville Orchestra commissioned and premiered 21 works in just three seasons. With the launch of First Edition Recordings in 1955, the LO became the first American orchestra to own a recording label when it received a Rockefeller grant of $500,000 to commission, record, and premiere music by living composers. Known as a pioneer in new music ever since, the orchestra has commissioned more than 150 works from luminary composers, including Aaron Copland, William Schuman, Paul Hindemith, Darius Milhaud, Jacques Ibert, Heitor Villa-Lobos, and a host of others. From 1947 to the 1977-78 season, no other orchestra equaled the impact of the Louisville Orchestra in bringing to life the works of contemporary composers.

Conceived as a successor project to First Edition Records, the Creators Corps also represents a giant leap forward. The initiative asks the three invited creators to act as artist-leaders, developing meaningful relationships with neighborhood residents and embodying the orchestra’s conviction that music is a fundamental part of civic life. Amongst their many areas of creativity, focus will be:

  • Creating orchestral works to be featured in main stage concerts by the orchestra.
  • Community-based projects.
  • Education initiatives.
  • Collaboration with performers of diverse genres and backgrounds.
  • Curating portions of orchestral programs at a variety of venues.
  • Participating in public activities in the Shelby Park neighborhood and throughout Louisville.

The Louisville Orchestra has assembled an Advisory and Selection Committee to determine each year’s three finalists from an open application process. The committee will search for creators from various 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 ideal applicants will be early or mid-career creators with bold ideas about writing for and interacting with an orchestra. They must be civic-minded and interested in utilizing music for community change. Finally, the creators must be outgoing, social, and self-directed, wanting to initiate projects and be active in neighborhood life. Creators with wide-ranging experiences and training are encouraged to apply.

Graham Parker, Executive Director of the Louisville Orchestra, concludes:

“When we conceived the Creators Corps of the Louisville Orchestra, we wanted to craft a new model for the way that artists/composers/creators collaborate with an orchestra and how an orchestra interacts with its community and citizens in the 21st century. The Louisville Orchestra has always been forward-thinking, and we are thrilled that our three Creators have launched this program so successfully with us. Establishing the next two full years of the Corps brings with it an expectation of even greater things to come as your Louisville Orchestra continues to commit to its mission of changing lives through music.”

Application Process

Artists can apply for the residency and view details at https://louisvilleorchestra.org/creators-corps.

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • December 1, 2022: Applications open
  • January 31, 2022: Application deadline
  • April 2022: Notification for resident composers
  • September 1, 2023: Residency period begins for 2023-24 cohort
  • July 1, 2024: Residency period begins for 2024-25 cohort


For questions, please get in touch with Jacob Gotlib, Creators Corps Program Manager, at jgotlib@louisvilleorchestra.org or call 502.587.8681.


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