June 3 through 11, 2024

Applications must be submitted online by December 15 at 11:59PM.

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 other of Copland House's partner venues nearby. Helping young composers to realize their artistic ambitions, CULTIVATE offers Fellows immersive creative guidance in a rigorous, collegial, and nurturing environment before, during, and after the week here, which concludes with two public concerts (recorded, filmed, or both) featuring the World Premieres of all six new works, performed by the internationally-acclaimed Music from Copland House ensemble. Fellowships cover all costs for session participation and events, round-trip transportation to/from New York within the continental U.S., local ground transportation, accommodations, and food, as well as a small commissioning fee. CULTIVATE Fellows also become eligible for a variety of subsequent performance, recording, and commissioning opportunities.

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...


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

Fellows are each commissioned to compose one 5- to 7-minute, small-ensemble composition (any combination of clarinet, violin, cello, and/or piano), which serves as the core of their work at CULTIVATE. The schedule consists of daily individual and collective work sessions or rehearsals with composer and program director Derek Bermel and Music from Copland House 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 two final public performances premiering all of the new compositions, which are filmed, recorded, or both.


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. (Proof of citizenship or permanent resident status - in the form of U.S. birth certificate, U.S. passport, Board of Elections registration card, green card, or other valid USCIS document [NOT driver's licenses or Social Security card] may be requested of all applicants. Please note, work and student visas do not meet permanent residency status.)

What really struck me about my experience at CULTIVATE 2018 was how much time and opportunity we had to work with our truly fabulous performers in the Music from Copland House ensemble. Often times, as emerging composers, we are ushered in and out of rehearsals with little time to experiment and dig deeply into the workshop process. It is such a rare gift to be able to immerse ourselves in the collaborative aspects of composition, and to have the luxury of revising our works on the fly with the mentorship of Derek Bermel. My time at CULTIVATE and the new relationships I have made will stick with me for the rest of my career and evolution as an artist.Annika Socolofsky, 2018 ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fellow

CULTIVATE is an extraordinary and invaluable opportunity for emerging composers. It has a unique structure as it allows young composers to work closely with world-class musicians during a whole week of workshops and rehearsals. This is rare and exceptional, as not many programs provide a chance for dialogue with the participating musicians in a collaborative setting. Beyond the rehearsals, I received insightful artistic guidance through group discussions, mentoring sessions, and career-related masterclasses. I left CULTIVATE feeling more inspired and determined to take on new artistic challenges.Gity Razaz, 2015 Westchester Community Foundation Valentine and Clark Fellow

CULTIVATE was an invaluable experience for me in several ways. It provided a rare opportunity to go through several rounds of rehearsal and revision with incredible (and incredibly thoughtful) musicians on a very short timescale – to experiment and hear the effects of changes the next day, rather than weeks or months later. I also deeply appreciated the knowledge and candor of both Derek Bermel and the industry professionals who visited throughout the week to give us the kind of window into the field that an emerging composer badly needs. Finally, the warmth of the players of Music from Copland House, the impressive range of my colleagues' compositional voices, and the clear engagement of the audience at the end-of-week concert made for an all-around exciting and rewarding experience.Flannery Cunningham, 2019 ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fellow

Application Process


Online applications must be submitted by December 15 at 11:59pm. Fellows are chosen by CULTIVATE Director Derek Bermel and an annually-rotating jury of eminent Copland House former Residents, and other independent composers and performers. Late or incomplete submissions will be disqualified. Notifications will go out to all applicants in early 2024.

Application is closed at this time

Online submissions consist of:

  1. Application form with personal information.
  2. Brief resume (2 pages maximum), with educational background, professional activities (commissions, performances, awards, etc.), and works list.
  3. Three scores that best represent your work (PDF only). Multiple movements or excerpts from one work collectively count towards only one of three required scores. If there is no score or performer's guide, please upload a brief description of the work and the process used for creating it in PDF form.
  4. Recordings of each of these three works. If any are not available, recordings of other works may be be substituted. MIDI recordings are acceptable, but not encouraged. If applicable, track and/or movement/section should be clearly listed. Video recordings are accepted only for works that include an essential, independent visual component (i.e., compositions with integral visuals, works with staged, choreographic, or theatrical elements, etc.). Audio-only recordings should be submitted for all chamber, instrumental, vocal, or symphonic works without a visual component.

Any questions about the application can be addressed to the Copland House office at or (914) 788-4659.

Previous Fellows














CULTIVATE was an absolutely wild ride. A whole week devoted to the experimentation, revision, and refinement of one piece is a rare gift for a composer. Each day, I went to rehearsal with a new batch of ideas and left with a better piece. And along the way, the performers from Music from Copland House were simply amazing collaborators, offering a welcoming spirit, thoughtful perspective, and exceptional musicianship. I could not have asked for more!Charles Peck, 2019 Friends of Copland House Fellow

CULTIVATE offered us participating composers the particular luxury of time – something young composers do not often enjoy. The work sessions and rehearsals with Music from Copland House were well organized, and the performers were eager to engage in dynamic collaboration with us (and, thus, we with them). The circumstances made for a lively week of music-making, one warmed by the enormous hospitality – one cannot overstate it – of the hosts, and the able guiding hands of CULTIVATE’s directors and staff.Ethan Braun, 2018 Friends of Copland House Fellow

All MCH in rehl

2016 Fellows in a work session with Music from Copland House

2017 Fellow Tonia Ko looking over her work with Derek Bermel


Awards are made possible by contributions from donors like you.

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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.

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