Ends on February 8, 2019

The Jazz Fellowship Competition awards four $7,500 Luminarts Fellowships to jazz musicians through the performance of original, creative, and spontaneously improvised jazz music. The competition includes a two-tiered jury process, with preliminary auditions held at the Union League Club of Chicago, and final round auditions held during the 2019 Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends.


For the Jazz Fellowship applicants will compete in one of two categories, ages 18—24, and ages  25—30. There will be four finalists selected between the ages of 18—24 and four finalists selected between the ages of 25—30 who will advance to the final round of judging and perform live at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Each finalist performs with a professional jazz trio, and five winners are selected based on their improvisation skills during the event. An award is also awarded for People's Choice.


In conjunction with the Jazz Fellowship, Luminarts also awards high school jazz musicians through the High School Jazz Program, which includes preliminary auditions held at the Union  League Club of Chicago, and final round auditions held during the 2019  Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends. If you are in high school you may apply to the high school competition HERE.  


For the Jazz Fellowship continue reading below.


Eligibility Requirements

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements: 

  • Be between the ages of 18 and 30 years old on the date of applying
  • Be currently enrolled in, or have completed, a degree program, conservatory, or other professional artist development program 
  • Live within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop 
  • Be available to perform at Buddy Guy's Legends for the final round of judging during the 2019 Jazz Finals on Thursday, March 7, 2019 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.



Submission and Preliminary Audition Guidelines

There are three components that must be attached to your application before auditioning. These include:

  • A audio recording or sample of a performance
  • A career statement outlining what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community
  • The name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference


Read below for specific details about each of these components.


Audio Sample:

Applicants must attach an audio sample with the application. If you do not have an audio sample you may record a three to five minute clip using a recorder on a mobile device or other recording equipment. Your recording will not be used for judging purposes, however, Luminarts may use it for program or marketing purposes in the event you are selected as a winner and Fellow.


Career Statement:

  • Your career statement should outline what your career objectives are as an artist, how becoming a Luminarts Fellow would help support those objectives, and how you envision your art/career impacting the greater Chicago community
  • Your statement may not exceed 500 words in total 
  • This statement will be used in the Foundation's evaluation


Professional/Educational Reference:

  • Space will be provided on the application to include the name, contact information, and relationship to one (1) professional or educational reference.


Preliminary Auditions

In addition to completing the application, applicants will schedule a preliminary audition online from the list of available audition dates. Audition time slots are granted on a first come first serve basis and are not guaranteed until you receive email confirmation from Luminarts. When you successfully submit your application you will receive email confirmation that contains a link to schedule your audition online. 


Auditions will be held at the Union League Club of Chicago, located at 65 West Jackson Boulevard in Chicago. Finalists will be determined based on preliminary auditions and will advance to the final round of judging and perform during the 2019 Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends on Thursday, March 7, 2019 at 5 p.m. 


The Union League Club of Chicago has a strict business casual policy. No jeans or gym shoes may be worn by applicants or their guests while in the Club.


Preliminary Audition Dates:

  • Monday, February 18, 2019
  • Tuesday, February 19, 2019
  • Wednesday, February 20, 2019
  • Thursday, February 21, 2019


Audition Guidelines:

  • Applicants will be limited to a ten (10) minute time slot, which includes setup and take down
  • Applicants will improvise one (1) blues piece and one (1) composition of their choice. Vocalists should include words and skat in their performance. Drummers will sight read a jazz standard with appropriate fills and solos
  • Applicants will be judged by the originality and creativity of their spontaneous improvisation
  • A professional accompanist (piano) will be provided for the audition (Do not bring your own accompanist)
  • Applicants must bring lead sheets for the accompanist
  • Applicants should demonstrate knowledge and respect for the melody, and accuracy of improvising chord changes


Notice to Guitarists and Drummers:

An amplifier and a drum set will be provided by Luminarts for those auditioning in guitar or percussion. Please bring any additional equipment you need for the audition.


Cancelling/Rescheduling Auditions:

Please keep the email confirmation you receive after booking your audition. Applicants may cancel or reschedule an existing audition online by using the appropriate links located in that confirmation email. Applicants may only cancel or reschedule auditions online until Wednesday, February 13, 2019 at 9 a.m. After that time you must call the Foundation at (312) 435-5961 to cancel. Any applicant who is a no call/no show to a scheduled audition without previously cancelling their audition will be disqualified from any future Luminarts programs.


Warm-Up Room Information:

While warm-up space cannot be guaranteed, Luminarts will make every effort possible to provide a warm-up space for applicants who are auditioning in jazz or classical music programs. Applicants who wish to use warm-up space are required to arrive 30 minutes before their scheduled audition time, and must check in to the audition registration area prior to using the room. Applicants will have ten (10) minutes to warm-up, approximately 20 minutes before the scheduled audition time. This will allow enough time to return to the registration area 10 minutes prior to the scheduled audition. For example, if your audition is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. you must arrive by 6 p.m. to check in, and will have warm-up space available from 6:10—6:20 p.m., then returning to registration for your audition to begin at 6:30 p.m. Applicants are not allowed to swap warm-up times with each other or remain in the warm-up space longer than 10 minutes without prior approval from Luminarts.


After the Audition:

You will be notified no later than 6 p.m. CST on Monday, February 25 regarding whether or not you have been selected as a finalist to perform during the 2019 Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends on Thursday, March 7, 2019. Please do not contact Luminarts before 6 p.m. on Monday, February 25, 2019 regarding your status as a finalist.


If you are selected as a finalist to perform at the Jazz Finals at Buddy Guy's Legends you will be asked to perform two (2) different selections from the pieces you performed during your audition, and the requirements are the same; one (1) blues piece, and one (1) composition of your choice.


After Submitting Your Application

Follow the instructions listed in the confirmation email you receive immediately after submitting your application. This will include details for scheduling your audition. If you do not receive a confirmation email immediately after submitting your application please check your spam/junk filter and settings. If you still have not received a confirmation email immediately after submitting your application please contact the Foundation.


While applicants may reapply to the Luminarts Fellowship annually, they are only eligible to receive the Fellowship award once. However, once an individual has been designated a Luminarts Fellow they are eligible to apply for Fellow Project Grants through the Foundation. For Project Grant information visit our Artist Opportunities page.


For questions about eligibility or more information about the Fellowship visit our FAQs page or contact Luminarts at info@luminarts.org or (312) 435-5961,


APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday, February 8, 2019 11:59 p.m. CST