2023 Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Music

The Vilcek Foundation will award three Creative Promise Prizes of $50,000 each to young, immigrant musicians who demonstrate outstanding early achievement in music. Applications are now closed for the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in Music. Candidates will be notified in fall 2022.

Who Should Apply

  • You were born outside the United States to non-American parents
  • You are not more than 38 years old
  • You have five years of professional experience in music and possess a strong track record of creative and innovative work

Why Should You Apply

  • Unrestricted cash prize of $50,000 is awarded to each prizewinner
  • Reflect on how your experience as an immigrant has shaped your success
  • Receive an invaluable endorsement from leaders in your field
  • Receive a comprehensive public relations campaign to promote you and your work

 

Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must:

  • Have been born outside the United States of America to non-American parents.
  • Not be more than 38 years old as of December 31, 2022 (born on or after January 1, 1984). ​​Exceptions will be made for applicants who were born between January 1, 1982, and December 31, 1983 who experienced career interruptions due to caregiving, medical, military or parental leave.
  • Have lived in the United States for at least four years (or immigrated to the United States on or before December 31, 2018).
  • Be one of the following: a naturalized citizen or a permanent resident of the United States; a H-1B or O-1 visa holder with a valid visa stamp; a H-4 visa holder with a valid EAD card; a recipient of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) relief; an asylee or an asylum seeker who has applied for asylum and has a valid EAD card.
  • Have at least five years of professional experience in music.
  • Not be enrolled as a full-time student.
  • Have released at least three singles or albums on major or independent labels.
  • Have lived in the United States for a total of at least four years.
  • Intend to pursue a career in the United States.
  • Not be a past recipient of the Vilcek Prizes for Creative Promise in any category.

Application and Selection Process

  1. Complete the application process. You will be required to:
    • Provide personal information.
    • Upload a PDF of your CV with a history of performances and other professional activities.
    • Upload a PDF with documentation of your valid immigration status and your date of birth.
    • Provide URL links of up to five work samples that do not exceed 15 minutes in total.
    • Provide up to five press clippings about your work.
    • Complete three essay questions
      1. Please describe your most important projects. We are interested in learning about the intention behind each of those projects, your artistic foundations, and creative approaches you developed based on your personal or professional path. (2,000 characters max)
      2. What do you hope to achieve through your work and how do you think it contributes to the development of music as an art form? (2,000 characters max)
      3. Describe the circumstances of your immigration to the United States and how your experience as an immigrant informs and enriches your approach to music. (1,500 characters max)
    • Provide the names and contact information of two references.
    • Sign an age exception self-attestation if you were born between January 1, 1982, and December 31, 1983.
    • Submit a completed application by 5:00pm EDT, June 10, 2022.
  2. A panel of distinguished jurors—members of the music community—will evaluate the applications based on their excellence, innovation, and impact. The Creative Promise Prizes will honor music professionals who exemplify excellence and creativity and whose work showcases the possibilities of music as a language and a means of expression. The individuals chosen will have demonstrated exceptional independence and creativity by their 38th birthday.
  3. Recommendations of the jury will be submitted to the Vilcek Foundation’s Board of Directors for final approval. All three winners will be considered equal in standing.
  4. The winners of the Creative Promise Prize in Music will be notified in fall 2022. Prizewinners will be invited to attend the Vilcek Foundation’s annual awards ceremony in New York City, in the spring of 2023. Travel expenses and accommodations will be covered by the foundation.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What music categories are eligible?

  • Composer/Songwriter
  • Conductor
  • DJ
  • Instrumentalist
  • Producer
  • Singer/Vocalist

 

What music genres are eligible?

  • Alternative
  • Classical/New Music
  • Country
  • Music-Electronic
  • Global
  • Hip Hop/Rap
  • Jazz
  • Opera
  • Pop
  • R&B
  • Roots/Americana
  • Rock/Metal

 

Can a collective apply for the Vilcek Prize for Creative Promise?

  • Yes, as long as all members of the collective meet the eligibility requirements, a representative may submit an application. Please note that if selected, the cash awards can only be paid to individuals.

 

Can I submit materials in foreign languages? 

  • Yes, but please include English translations for non-English materials.

 

I am currently here on OPT/student/other visa types; am I eligible?

  • You are eligible if you currently hold a valid O-1 or H-1B or H-4 visa and have been residing in the United States for at least four years. Any other visa status is not eligible.

 

I am currently in the process of applying for a green card; am I eligible?

  • If you are in the process of finalizing the application for a green card and expect to have the proper documentation by August 2022, please contact us at creativepromise@vilcek.org before submitting your application.

 

I am currently applying for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status; am I eligible?

  • You are eligible if you have an I-797 approval notice showing approval of the I-821D DACA application. If you are in the process of applying for DACA and expect to have the proper documentation by August 2022, please contact us at creativepromise@vilcek.org before submitting your application.

 

My temporary green card has expired, but I have submitted paperwork to become a permanent resident. I do not know if and when they will receive my information. Am I eligible?

  • Yes, applicants in the process of becoming a permanent resident are eligible. Please contact us at creativepromise@vilcek.org for further instructions.

 

I am over the age limit but not by much; can you make an exception?

  • Regretfully, we are not able to make exceptions unless you experienced career interruptions due to caregiving, medical, military or parental leave, and are within two years of the age requirement (born between January 1, 1982, and December 31, 1983).

 

What kind of documentation should I provide to prove my career interruption?

  • Below are examples of accepted documentation:
    • Confirmation letter from your employer, a medical provide, or a military office;
    • Official request for leave or approval notice;
    • Certificate of birth or military service.

 

Do you accept other reasons for career interruptions?

  • No, currently we only make exceptions for caregiving, medical, military, or parental leave.

 

I was born in Puerto Rico, Guam, or another U.S. territory; am I eligible?

  • Regretfully, we do not accept applications from individuals born in the U.S. territories.

 

I was born outside the United States, but to American citizens; am I eligible?

  • Regretfully, we do not accept applications from U.S. citizens who were born overseas but are American by birth.

 

Can the winners use the prize money to support a specific project, personal expenses, etc.?

  • Each winner will receive an unrestricted cash prize; there is no obligation to use the money in any particular way.

 

If I apply for the prize this year and am not chosen as a prizewinner, can I apply again in the future?

  • Yes, as long as you are within the age limit of a certain prize cycle and are not chosen as a prizewinner, you are eligible to apply as many times as you would like. Please note that our arts and humanity categories repeat every eight to ten years.