Now is the Time. Memphis is the Place.

Home Jobs Iris Orchestra: Iris Artist Fellow

Iris Orchestra: Iris Artist Fellow

Iris Orchestra, under the baton of Michael Stern, is accepting applications for the Iris Artist Fellowship (IAF). IAF is a program for rising professional musicians with a passion for engaging music as a tool for social impact while growing in their own artistry. Designed to address the under-representation of Black, African American, and Latinx artists in classical music, the fellowship is directed toward musicians from those populations.
Iris Artist Fellows perform in all Iris Orchestra concerts and benefit from the opportunity to build their professional network within a community of skilled instrumentalists with nationwide connections. Between orchestra events, Fellows focus on chamber music, education, youth development, community-building projects, and collaborations.

The program is designed to provide experiential opportunities in several aspects of a professional music career: including performance, teaching artistry, and community involvement.

Program Description
The Iris Artist Fellowship Program is a ten-month, full-time position including professional training with instruction, in-the-field experience, and network-building. It is designed to assist rising musicians develop a portfolio of skills with which to build successful careers in music.

The residency provides hands-on training and experience in teaching artistry, chamber music, and orchestral performance with coaching from Artistic Director Michael Stern, resident and visiting artists, and education specialists. With a focus on impacting the Greater Memphis community, the Fellowship emphasizes youth development, community building projects, student performances, and community collaborations. Through a partnership with Memphis Music Initiative, Iris Artist Fellows bring positive change to schools and other organizations in underserved communities by participating in community engagement programs that focus on social and emotional learning through music, mentorship, inspiration, and social equity.

Fellows perform with Iris Orchestra during the concert season, receive mentorship from Iris musicians and renowned guest artists, and perform in the Greater Memphis area as the Iris Artist Fellows ensemble.

Fellows Spend Their Time:
Teaching in area schools as part of the Memphis Music Initiative’s In-School Fellows Program (
Participating in community initiatives and outreach to bring musical experiences to the underserved and marginalized youth in Memphis
Performing with Iris Orchestra during the concert season
Performing and working as part of the Iris Artist Fellows Ensemble
Performing with select guest artists in chamber concerts
Collaborating with other area arts organizations
Training with Iris musicians and guest artists

Fellows Receive:
Total salary and benefits package valued over $40,000
$25,000* salary for the season
$200 monthly health insurance stipend for 12 months
Life insurance policy provided by MMI (face value of $25,000)
$800 monthly housing stipend available July 2021 – June 2022
$1500 Professional Development Fund
Coachings with Michael Stern
Customized professional development
* $25,000 salary reflects an average of 20 hours/week in-school music mentoring

You Are Eligible If You:
Identify as Black, African American, and/or Latinx
Believe in using music as a tool for social impact and positive change
Demonstrate a high caliber of musicianship on violin, viola, or cello
Will have completed your bachelor’s degree by the start of the fellowship
Have experience teaching or working in underserved communities
Are eligible to work in the US without sponsorship during the 2021/2022 season

How to Apply:
Fill out online application form and submit the following supplemental materials
Audition Videos
2 References
2 Essays (max. 450 words each)
Essay 1- How can and should music be used as a tool in Social and Emotional Learning for youth particularly in under-served communities?
Essay 2- How can and should music be used as a tool for social impact, and what would you say to a donor who is considering giving to such a program?

Questions? Email us at or call the Iris Office at (901) 746-9948.

Facebook Comments