2022 Music/Sound Guidelines


Application Deadline: Wednesday, January 26, 2022 5:00 PM EST

NYFA only accepts applications submitted online at apply.nyfa.org/submit 



This category accepts submissions from composers working in any and all styles of music including vocal and instrumental artists, soundscapes, and experimental forms.

Work by librettists and lyricists are not reviewed in this category; librettists should apply in Playwriting/Screenwriting. Songwriters and collaborators who write both music and lyrics are welcome to apply. 


When Submitting an application to the Music/Sound category you will need to complete:


  • Artist Statement – up to 100 words
  • Work Statement – up to 100 words 
  • Work Samples – two 2-minute excerpts and up to two audio files with descriptions (maximum of 30-minutes per file)
  • Score or Lyrics Sheets – corresponding scores, fully harmonized lead, or lyric sheets. 1 per sample (optional)

Optional written statements:

  • Excerpt Explanation – up to 400 words 
  • Technical Statement – up to 200 words 
  • Cultural Statement – up to 400 words

Applicants applying to the Music/Sound category must be able to represent their practice solely through audio work samples, score/lyric sheets, and supplementary statements. Artists working with music/sound who require submitting image/video work samples should apply when the Interdisciplinary Work category is next offered.


NYFA is committed to supporting artists from every background, and at all stages in their creative careers. We strongly encourage artists of color, LGBTQ+ artists, artists with disabilities, and artists living outside of the metropolitan area to apply.

To request an accommodation or assistance in applying, please email [email protected]. We ask that requests for accommodation be made as soon as possible or by January 12, 2022 to allow adequate time for staff to support you in submitting an application before the deadline.


Audio of your Artistic Practice

Work samples are a representation of your artistic work created within the last five years. This is the most important part of your application, as it will be the primary point of review. Keep in mind the panel reviews a large volume of material in quick succession; therefore, it is very important that you present your work clearly.

Work Sample Inventory: 

Applicants will submit two 2-minute audio excerpts and up to two longer audio files of up to 30 minutes each.

Both audio excerpts must be taken from your longer audio work samples. Each excerpt can not exceed 2 minutes in duration. Excerpts can be taken from one individual work or two separate longer audio work samples.

If you are submitting only one longer audio work sample, you can submit your two corresponding 2-minute excerpts from the one piece. If you are submitting two longer audio work samples, please submit one corresponding 2-minute excerpt from each piece.

Work Sample Descriptions:

Before you upload your files to your application, you will need to name your files. Do not label any work samples with your name. Instead, label each uploaded work sample starting with a number 01 through 02, followed by the title of the work. Number your files in the order you would like them to be reviewed. For excerpts, please include “excerpt” in the title.

After your work samples have been uploaded, you will be able to provide descriptions for each submitted work sample, including title, date the work was performed/produced, duration, and additional information. If your piece requires additional written context, please explain this in the “additional information” section using 1 – 2 sentences.

I​n improvisational compositions where the composer is also performing, please identify the instrument played by the composer.

File Format:

  • File name:  label each file starting with a number 01 through 02, followed by the title of the work ex. 01_Landscape.mp3. Do not label the file with your name.
  • Length: Maximum of 2-minutes for audio excerpts; Maximum of 30-minutes for longer audio samples
  • File Size: No larger than 2 GB
  • File Format: .mp3/.m4a/.wav/.aiff

Score Sheet: Each work may be accompanied by 1 copy of corresponding scores or, where appropriate (e.g. jazz/extended forms), fully harmonized lead sheets, and/or lyric sheets. Scores should be submitted as PDFs and labeled with the title of each work sample. Please indicate on your score sheets where your excerpts begin to help orient the panel.


Written statements about your artistic practice 

Support statements are available to the panelists in the later rounds of review.

Artist Statement: A  short concise statement giving an overview of your artistic practice. This statement should give a brief introduction to ideas, themes and methods in your practice. This is not an Artist’s Bio. Up to 100 words.

Work Statement: A statement explaining your artistic vision as directly related to your submitted work samples. This is not an artist statement, but should instead reflect only the ideas and inspiration relevant ONLY to the work submitted. Up to 100 words.
The work statement is available to panelists in the first round of review.

Questions to consider for your Work Statement: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. What is your submitted work about?

2. How does this work represent the primary concerns and intentions of your artistic practice as described in your artist statement?

Excerpt Explanation (optional): A supplemental statement further explaining the context, concept, and execution of your work sample(s). This statement can also explain how the excerpted work sample(s) relate to the entire original piece. Within the Excerpt Explanation you can itemize each submitted Work Sample and talk about them individually. Up to 400 words.

Questions to consider for your Excerpt Explanation: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. What information is needed to give context to your work samples?

2. Consider itemizing your excerpt explanation, describing each work sample.

Technical Statement (Optional): A supplemental statement describing the key technical aspects of the work. Use this statement to highlight your role in creating/executing the work. Be sure to note whether your work samples represent documentation of a performance, installation, experience, etc. You can also describe the circumstances in which the viewer/audience should experience the work. Please include instructions on how to navigate your work if it’s interactive. Up to 200 words.

Questions to consider for your Technical Statement: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. How was the work created/executed?

2. What specific technology is integral to creating the work?

3. What is the original context for this work, i.e. photo essay, book, etc?

Cultural Statement: A supplemental statement describing how your work is rooted in a specific cultural technique, tradition or community. Up to 400 words.

Write a Cultural Statement if: Referencing only the submitted Work Samples

1. Your practice stems from a specific and/or unique cultural tradition.

2. The understanding of your work is dependent on the context of a cultural community.


How are applications reviewed?

Music/Sound applications are reviewed online over the course of 3 elimination rounds. All applications will be reviewed anonymously in the first round of review.

In Round 1, panelists review all applications remotely and vote online. In the following round panelists meet In Round 1, the panel will have access to part of the applicant’s Work Samples (two 2-minute audio excerpts, and score or lyric sheet) and the Work Statement. Applications are assigned a number and reviewed anonymously. In this round, panelists are directed to review and score applications independently.

In Round 2, panelists will have access to the remainder of your Work Samples (up to two longer audio files in addition to the two 2-minute excerpts) and all supplemental written statements (i.e: Artist Statement, Excerpt Explanation, Cultural Statement, and/or Technical Statement). Similar to the first round, the panel will continue to review and score applications independently.

In the following round, the panel will meet online and collectively discuss the applications that have made it into this round before selecting the Fellowship Recipients.

Please note, panelists will not look at websites of any kind during the application review process.
Submitting any work that has been awarded a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellowship in the past will automatically disqualify your application

Once Submitted, you will no longer be able to make changes to your application!

You will receive an automatic confirmation notification from Submittable once your application has been successfully submitted. If you do not see this confirmation, please contact [email protected] . 

Applications submitted after the stated deadline will not be accepted and no exceptions will be made. We highly recommend completing your application before the deadline to allow time for work samples to upload and to avoid potential technical problems.