Ends on

Jazz Fellowship: Deadline to Apply: Tuesday, February 2, 2021

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 three-tiered jury process, with preliminary auditions held at the Union League Club of Chicago, and final round auditions held during the 2020 Jazz Finals at an offsite location.

Of the Jazz Fellowship applicants, eight finalists will be selected to advance to the final round of judging and perform live at the jazz finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Each finalist performs with a professional jazz trio, and four winners are selected based on their improvisation skills during the event. An award is also awarded for People's Choice.

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 (not necessarily specific to the program of which you are applying)
  • Live within 150 miles of the Chicago Loop 
  • Be available to perform for the final round of judging during the 2021 Jazz Finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Submission and Preliminary Audition Guidelines

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

  • An audio recording or sample of a performance that will be reviewed by a panel of jurors to determine your eligibility to schedule an in-person audition 
  • 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
  • CV/Resume

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 an audio clip using a recorder on a mobile device or other recording equipment. Your recording will be used for judging purposes. Please do not attach a recording over ten minutes long. 

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 and 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. Note that references may or may not be contacted as part of this process.

Preliminary Auditions

Applicants will be notified by Monday, February 8 as to whether they have been selected to schedule an audition. At that time, applicants can schedule their audition. Applicants will have until Wednesday, February 10 at 11:59 p.m. to schedule their audition. The list of available audition dates is below. Audition time slots are granted on a first come first serve basis and are not guaranteed until you receive email confirmation from Luminarts. 

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 2021 Jazz Finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021 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 15, 2021
  • Tuesday, February 16, 2021
  • Wednesday, February 17, 2021
  • Thursday, February 18, 2021

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 might be asked to sight read a jazz standard with appropriate fills and solos if the jurors request.
  • 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
  • Applicants who arrive 5 minutes past their scheduled audition time will not be able to audition

Notice to Guitarists, Bassists, and Drummers:

A drum set will be provided by Luminarts for those auditioning in percussion. Please bring any additional equipment you need for the audition (i.e. cymbals and drumsticks for drummers). Guitarists and bassists are required to bring their own amp if desired.

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 after booking until Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.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. Note that Luminarts does not monitor the warm-up room, and therefore we expect all applicants to be respectful of one another’s audition times.

After the Audition:

You will be notified no later than 6 p.m. CST on Monday, February 22 regarding whether or not you have been selected as a finalist to perform during the 2021 Jazz Finals on Thursday, February 25, 2021. Please do not contact Luminarts before 6 p.m. on Monday, February 22, 2021 regarding your status as a finalist.

If you are selected as a finalist to perform at the Jazz Finals 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

Once you submit your application you will receive a confirmation email. 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.

Applicants will be notified by Monday, February 8 as to whether they have been selected to schedule an audition. At that time they can schedule their audition. They will have until Wednesday, February 10 at 11:59 p.m. to schedule their audition. 

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: Tuesday, February 2, 2021 11:59 p.m. CST.

***Please note that due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, audition schedules and selection processes are subject to change.***

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.