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The historic two-year post will join the City’s First Official Historian and Poet Laureate to share publicly the city’s rich history, literary genius and musical excellence.

Lacey Holmes
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Detroit ACE is seeking nominations for Detroit Composer Laureate, a new position sponsored by the Ford Foundation that would advocate for and represent Detroit’s diverse musical heritage, community and spirit, building upon Detroit’s long standing as a leader in musical innovation and excellence.

After a formal selection process, the chosen individual will be ceremonially named the City’s official Composer Laureate, similar to other Ford Foundations-sponsored positions, City Historian Jamon Jordan and Poet Laureate jessica Care moore. 

The Laureate will be expected to teach Detroit’s musical legacy and inspire young people to continue that legacy by considering careers in music, encouraging young talents to make their careers in Detroit rather than travel to New York, Atlanta, or Austin to use their Detroit skills to make those cities better.

“Detroit has produced some of the world’s greatest music and composers, and we have a whole new generation of young artists that our new Composer Laureate will be able to help develop and inspire,” said Mayor Mike Duggan, who reaffirmed the city’s commitment to the creative community by creating the Department of Arts, Culture & Entrepreneurship (ACE) five years ago, headed by its director, Rochelle Riley.

The laureate also will honor and challenge local composers to elevate Detroit’s musical genius as well as create original music that defines our lives. The laureate will have two major deliverables:

  • To create a legacy project, an original composition, that will be performed in celebration of Detroit’s musical community and continued commitment to musical greatness
  • To collaborate with a range of residents, organizations and schools on programming and projects

To qualify, applicants must:

  • Be Detroit residents;
  • Have a substantial body of published composition;
  • Have at least 10 years of experience writing or teaching music.

The Mayor will name the Composer Laureate based on the recommendations of a community judging panel and report to the Director of Arts and Culture.

“We are so proud to be one of the cities in America with an official historian, a Poet Laureate and now a Composer Laureate, which all speaks to Detroit as a leader in history, spoken word and music,” said Rochelle Riley, the City’s Director of Arts and Culture.

To nominate a candidate, please submit a packet that includes:

  1. The nominee's name, address, email and phone number
  2. Two reference letters for the nominee
  3. The nominee's resume with composition and music experience.
  4. Links to samples of music the nominee has composed
  5. A letter from the nominee explaining why the applicant wants the job and what the job would look like during their tenure.
Candidates may nominate themselves. Packets should be sent to [email protected].
The deadline for nominations is June 7, 2024.