Asian American Arts Alliance

2017 Van Lier Fellowships for Music Composition and Music Performance

2017 Van Lier Fellowships in Music Performance and Composition

Program Guidelines and Application


The Asian American Arts Alliance is pleased to administer, with support from the New York Community Trust, the 2017 Van Lier Fellowships. This year, in its second iteration of a three-part cycle of fellowships, the Alliance will be recognizing music artists in the categories of Music Performance and Music Composition


The Alliance will grant eight-month fellowships to one early-career Asian American musician and one early-career Asian American composer, age 30 or younger, whose work shows outstanding promise, who may benefit from further professional artistic development, and who is of limited financial means.


The Fellowship recipients will each receive an unrestricted cash stipend of $12,000 and an eight-month fellowship tailored to respond to the unique needs of each Fellow. The fellowship includes artistic mentorship with an established mid-career music professional, career coaching, and a range of technical support.

The Alliance’s mission is to strengthen Asian American arts and cultural groups through resource sharing, promotion, and community building. In line with these efforts, it is the aim of the Alliance’s Van Lier Fellowships to develop early-career individual Asian American artists living in New York City. 


Created by the will of Sally Van Lier, the Trust carries out Edward and Sally Van Liers’ legacy of arts appreciation by supporting arts groups and training programs to provide education, training, or other support.

The Alliance will be administering an open application process for this year's fellowships.


Submissions are due by 11:59 PM on Monday, April 17th, 2017.


Asian American Arts Alliance Van Lier Fellowships will include:

*Unrestricted cash grant of $12,000 per Fellow during the fellowship cycle

*Eight-month fellowship (July 2017 - February 2018) with the Alliance, which will include a career/leadership coaching series, artistic mentorship with a mid-career music professional, and professional technical resources

*Fellows will have their individual profiles featured on the Alliance website.


The applicant MUST:

  • Be 30 years of age or younger (born June 15, 1987 or later)
  • Not be currently enrolled as a full-time or part-time student in a degree-granting program  between June 30th, 2017 and February 2018.
  • Be a resident of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, or Staten Island)
  • Be a U.S. citizen 
  • Be available to participate in the fellowship orientation and career coaching sessions in summer 2017 (exact dates TBD)


*Previous or current recipients of any Van Lier fellowships

*Undergraduate or graduate students who are currently enrolled in any degree program or who plan to matriculate in any degree program from the year 2017 through 2018

*Alliance board members and staff



  • Artistic Merit: Clarity, imaginativeness, and uniqueness based upon body of work and work samples submitted. Demonstrated ability to artistically innovate within the genre of music (examples of this could include original compositions, arrangements, diverse repertoire, new techniques, etc.)
  • Community Impact: Articulation of interest or hopes to make a significant impact on the Asian American arts community. This can be within the community, within the larger field of music, or society-at-large. Direct narrative addressing this criteria is recommended.
  • Potential for Growth: Extent to which the Fellowship will have a positive impact on the applicant’s goals and career.
  • Financial Need: Demonstrated need for financial support based upon applicant’s explanation of annual income and expenses. Finalists may be asked to provide further financial documentation.


Current Alliance staff, board members, and review panelists are not eligible. Immediate family of board members and review panelists are not eligible. 


Mid-February 2017                          Public announcement of open call

April 17, 2017                                   Submissions close by 11:59pm EST

May 2017                                          Artistic review period

Mid-June 2017                                 Winners announced



Applications must be submitted electronically by 11:59pm EST on Monday, April 17, 2017.



Applicants are encouraged to attend the Alliance Information Session for the 2017 Van Lier Fellowship Applicants on Tuesday, February 21st from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

Facilitated by the Asian American Arts Alliance Director of Public Programs Cate Yu, this year's Information Session will be geared towards Asian American musicians and composers interested in applying for the 2017 Van Lier Fellowships in the categories of Music Performance and Music Composition.

This 1.5 hour session will include the background and logistics of the awards process and pointers on preparing a strong application.

Space is limited, so we encourage early RSVPs. You can RSVP HERE.


Please contact Interim Director of Public Programs Ariel Estrada at if you have any questions relating to the Van Lier Fellowships. 



Who were the Van Liers?

Throughout their lives, Sally Van Lier and her husband Edward were avid visitors to the City’s museums, concerts, and plays, and introduced many young people to the arts.  Sally was a theatrical performer in the New York Theater in the 1920s and appeared in the original production of Showboat. To learn more, visit here.


How do you define “outstanding promise”?

The ideal applicant is an early-career music artist who shows both extraordinary clarity of artistic voice and innovation in their practice and will realize greater achievement with additional professional development support.


Do I have to be a member of the Asian American Arts Alliance in order to apply?

No, you do not have to be an Alliance member in order to apply.


What does a good work sample look like?

Good work samples are of high quality (audio and video), and demonstrate clearly how the applicant meets the criteria outlined for each award.


Can I apply as a singer in the performance category?

Instrumental and vocal performance are both acceptable (as well as hybrid performers, etc.).


I perform in an ensemble. Can I apply with my ensemble?

You may only apply as an individual. The fellowship is not given to groups. However, performance examples with others (concertos, chamber music, combos, collaborations, mixed-genres, etc.) will be acceptable as examples of accomplishment in music performance.


If I am both a composer and a performer, in which category can I apply in? Should I apply for both?

You may only apply to one category even if you are eligible to apply for both. You will be judged based upon the criteria outlined in the category for which you apply.


How are the Van Lier Music Fellows selected?

The Fellows will be selected through an open call and jury process. Submitted applications will be reviewed by a jury composed of industry professionals. Current board and staff members of the Alliance will not participate in the review process.


When will the 2017 Van Lier Fellows be announced?

The Fellows will be announced in June 2017.


What if I have more questions?

You are welcome to inquire further by contacting Ms. Cate Yu, Director of Public Programs, at


The Van Lier Fellowships are made possible through a grant from the Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund of the New York Community Trust.

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