Apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

It’s more than a scholarship…

Since 2005, From the Top and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation have awarded more than $2 million in scholarships to exceptional young musicians with financial need. In addition to providing these young artists with an opportunity to perform on From the Top’s national broadcasts, recipients are awarded up to $10,000 to help offset the often prohibitively expensive costs of studying classical music at a high level. Each year, From the Top chooses approximately 20 exceptional pre-collegiate musicians ages 8-18 to receive the Award.

Check out our scholarship brochure

Who should apply?

We’re looking for classical instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers (ages 8–18) who have not yet entered college and have an interest in performing on our radio show, NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley.

Applicants must demonstrate:

Exceptional musical achievement

  • Applicants must have strong musical ability and a willingness to perform on our NPR show.

Unmet financial need

  • Applicants must provide evidence of a family income insufficient to meet the costs of his/her musical pursuits (new instruments, music lessons, summer festival tuition, and travel, etc.). 90% of our past recipients come from families with an annual household Adjusted Gross Income of under $60,000. Other factors may apply (cost of living, medical expenses, dependents).

Academic achievement

  • Applicants must possess strong scholastic achievement indicated by good grades, academic awards, and strong test scores.

Strength of character

  • Applicants must demonstrate drive, initiative, maturity, leadership, and a commitment to giving back to one’s community.

Scholarship Benefits

  • Up to $10,000 to apply toward instrument purchases, summer camp tuition, college audition travel expenses, private lessons, or other music-related needs
  • Appearance on NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley
  • Participation in From the Top’s Center for the Development of Arts Leadership Program.

Application deadlines

Students may apply for the scholarship at any time, but applications will be reviewed in three cycles throughout the year according to the below deadlines. All recipients are notified on a rolling admissions basis in accordance with our 2017-2018 taping season.

2017–2018 Deadline I:  October 2, 2017 EXTENDED: October 16, 2017
2017–2018 Deadline II: January 8, 2018
2017–2018 Deadline III: March 5, 2018

*Please note that high school seniors must apply by the October 16 deadline to be considered.

How to apply

  1. After reading this page and our Scholarship FAQs, visit the link at the bottom of the page to proceed to the online application.
  2. Applicants will be asked to upload at least two unedited, un-enhanced video or audio samples of their music.
  3. We require two recommendations – one from an academic teacher and one from a music teacher. You will be asked to provide contact information for them, and they will receive recommendation forms via the online application.
  4. After completing your online application, you must mail us a copy of your most recent tax forms, academic transcript, and standardized test scores (if applicable). Directions will be provided at the end of the online application.
  5. The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award is given in conjunction with a performance on NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley. In order to apply for the Young Artist Award, indicate that you are applying for either “NPR’s From the Top with Host Christopher O’Riley” or “Both” the radio show and Center for the Development of Arts Leaders. On the following page, you will select your application type as one of the following: soloist, composer, or small ensemble. You will then be asked if you are applying for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. Select “yes.”
  6. It is free to apply for the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award. There is no application fee.
  7. More detailed application instructions can be found below. If you have any questions, you can e-mail or call (617) 437-0707 x121.

How to apply: Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award