June 3 through 9, 2019

Applications must be submitted by December 1


Outdoor session

A working session outdoors with CULTIVATE Director Derek Bermel

CULTIVATE, directed by Grammy-nominated composer-clarinetist Derek Bermel, is an annual, intensive, all-scholarship creative workshop and mentoring program for gifted American composers in the initial stages of their professional careers. Each year, six young composers will be awarded Fellowships to participate in this weeklong emerging composers institute, which takes place at Aaron Copland’s National Historic Landmark home in Cortlandt Manor, one hour north of New York City, and at the historic Merestead estate in nearby Mount Kisco. Combining the most valuable elements of apprentice workshops and musical reading sessions, CULTIVATE nurtures young composers in realizing their artistic ambitions as they begin their professional careers. The institute offers Fellows immersive compositional guidance in a rigorous, collegial, and nurturing environment before, during, and after the week here. Fellowships cover all costs for session participation and events, round-trip transportation within the continental U.S., accommodations, and food.

Small Gerlach Rhodes

2016 Fellow Michael Small with Music from Copland House Principal Cellist Alexis Pia Gerlach and Principal Violinist Harumi Rhodes

Watch a short film about CULTIVATE...

I had heard great things about CULTIVATE, and it has a reputation as one of the best composition programs around. The work is intense, but not over-scheduled, allowing a balance between the formal rehearsals and discussions, and time to build more informal, friendly relationships with one's fellow composers. Some subjects can only be fully explored when allowed to cross that boundary, and it is this environment which allows new artistic ideas to be fleshed out over the course of the week. The opportunity to revise and hone a new piece is rare in summer festivals, and I found myself in a supportive workspace with excellent musicians whose goal was always to make the composer's work clearer, more incisive, and give the greatest possible impact in performance.”Michael Small, 2016 Friends of Copland House Fellow

My experience at CULTIVATE was simply astounding. Not only did it afford me an opportunity to work with top-notch musicians but it also allowed me to directly interact with my peers in a very amicable and a creative environment. Our daily rehearsals with Music from Copland House provided a unique forum in which we could not only work with each musician individually, but also experiment and continue to polish our musical pieces – something that is rarely possible given severe time and resource constraints. The atmosphere at Merestead was simply magical.Polina Nazaykinskaya, 2015 Westchester Community Foundation Valentine & Clark Fellow

CULTIVATE provided me with a great opportunity to connect with a handful of my peers as well as some incredible world-class musicians in an extremely idyllic and artistically enriching setting. Between the daily thought-provoking discussions, the instructive rehearsals, the bountiful meals, and the incredibly friendly hosts, I came away from CULTIVATE refreshed and inspired.Roger Zare, 2012 ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fellow


John Corigliano (far left) meeting with 2016 CULTIVATE Fellows and Derek Bermel at Lincoln Center during a visit to the New York Philharmonic Biennial.

Each Fellow composes one 5- to 7-minute, small-ensemble composition (any combination of clarinet, violin, cello, and/or piano), which serves as the core of his/her work at CULTIVATE. The schedule consists of daily individual and collective work sessions or rehearsals with composer and program director Derek Bermel and with the Music from Copland House ensemble on the Fellows’ new works for CULTIVATE; informal discussion sessions about practical, professional, and career matters with prominent music executives and arts leaders (past guests have included James Kendrick, Limor Tomer, Greg Sandow, Alan Pierson, Richard Kessler, and Elizabeth Dworkin); and a final public concert and live recording premiering the Fellows’ new compositions.


Open to emerging professional composers who are American citizens or permanent residents, writing in any genre. While there is no specific age limit, CULTIVATE is geared towards composers who are in their mid- to late-20s and in the earliest phase of their professional careers.

Application Process

Concert 2014


Applications for CULTIVATE must be postmarked by December 1. Composers must submit a CULTIVATE application form (downloadable), three representative works and recordings, and 1- to 2-page resume. Fellows are chosen by CULTIVATE Director Derek Bermel and an annually-rotating jury of eminent, independent composers and performers.

  1. Application form (Download PDF).
  2. Proof of citizenship or resident status (birth certificate, U.S. passport, Board of Elections registration card, or INS document, NOT driver's license or Social Security card).
  3. Brief (1- or 2-page) resume.
  4. Three scores that best represent your work (smaller printed formats—e.g. 8 ½” x 11”—are strongly encouraged).
  5. Submit recordings of these three works. If any are unavailable, recordings of other works should be substituted. CDs are the only acceptable format. MIDI recordings are acceptable but not encouraged; MP3 or other electronic files will not be accepted. The disc and the CD case must BOTH be clearly and identically labeled with your name and work title, and, if applicable, track and movement/section list.

Previous Fellows









All MCH in rehl

2016 Fellows in a work session with Music from Copland House


Awards are made possible by contributions from donors like you.

Give Generously

All Copland House programs depend on the annual tax-deductible contributions of individual, institutional, and corporate supporters around the country and the world. Become one of our Friends of Copland House. Donations at all levels are welcome, and we hope you will give as generously as you can.

Featured Event

Saturday, June 22 at 3:00 PM


An invitation or members-only gathering of live-music, conversation, wine, and light bites in Aaron Copland’s studio!

Copland House, Cortlandt Manor, NY
Reservations required. Please email to reserve or for more information.

Featured Shop Item

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