Articles

The Musician’s Guide to Artist Residencies

Hello from Austria!

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I’m currently in Krems an der Donau as an Artist-in-Residence Niederösterreich, where I am researching and performing the clarinet compositions of Ernst Krenek in collaboration with the Ernst Krenek Institut. I’m very thankful to have done artist residencies around the world, and I wanted to share my advice to help other musicians learn more about artist residencies.

What is an artist residency?

Simply put, an artist residency is an opportunity for artists (from a multitude of disciplines) to live, work, and collaborate in a designated space. Artist residencies can be anywhere from a traveling shipping container to a remote village (like my artist residency last summer in Tjørnuvík, Faroe Islands, where I studied Faroese clarinet compositions).

Who can apply for artist residencies?

Each artist residency invites applicants from different disciplines, such as visual arts, photography, writing, and music. When researching and applying for artist residencies, make sure that performing musicians (not just composers or sound artists) are eligible.

How long is an artist residency?

Residencies can last anywhere from a few days to a few months (or even longer). Some residencies depend on the duration of the project, while others are more flexible.

Do I need a project to apply for an artist residency?

Again, this will depend on the artist residency. I’ve found that having a specific project or goal can improve your chances of being selected. That being said, some artist residencies are simply to give the artist an opportunity to create their art in a new environment, and don’t require a specific project.

How do I find out about artist residencies?

Research, research, research! If you have a specific project in mind, try searching for organizations or locations that will be useful in conducting your project. If you don’t know where to begin, try searching for “artist residencies music/musician/music performance.” I also like searching by location (such as “artist residency Australia” or other geographic area).

Advice for musicians applying to artist residencies

  • Tailor your project to the artist residency. When applying for artist residencies, make sure to explain how this particular residency will help you complete your project or proposal. For example, if you want to study or perform the music of a particular composer, apply for residencies with ties to that particular composer, whether it’s through location, partner organizations, or other connections.
  • Embrace interdisciplinary opportunities. Part of the fun of artist residencies is meeting and working with other artists from around the world in a variety of different disciplines. See if other artists area interested in collaborating, whether it’s now or in the future.
  • Explore new ideas. There is always more to discover about Mozart, Brahms, and other mainstream composers, but you might also enjoying exploring new musical territory by pursuing a project on an under-researched subject.

I hope this helps you learn more about artist residencies!