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Apply: The Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award

In addition to performing on NPR’s From the Top, recipients of the Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award receive up to $10,000 to help offset the costs of studying classical music at a high level. Each year, we choose approximately 20 exceptional pre-collegiate musicians ages 8-18 to receive the Award.



Application deadlines

Upcoming deadlines to apply for the 2020-2021 season:

  • DEADLINE 1: September 15, 2020 NOW EXTENDED TO SEPTEMBER 30, 2020
  • DEADLINE 2: January 4, 2021
  • DEADLINE 3: March 15, 2021

*High school seniors must apply by this date. The earlier a high school senior can apply, the better, as that will give us the opportunity to consider them for more shows before they graduate.

If you’re thinking about applying or have any questions about your status or eligibility, please write to!

Who should apply?

Classical instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers (ages 8–18) who have not yet entered college

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
  • Participation in From the Top’s Arts Leadership and Community Engagement training.


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. In order to apply for the Young Artist Award, please select the “Jack Kent Cooke Young Artist Award” Program on the homepage of the application website. This program includes the application to the show as well as the Scholarship!
  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.