Los Angeles: Villa Aurora

Last Application Deadline 1.6.2024, 6:00 p.m.

Maureen Noe, Zoe Stroebel-Haft

T +49 (0)30 221 84 89 88

1 Overview

A place of refuge and encounter: In the former Californian exile of Marta and Lion Feuchtwanger, interdisciplinary transatlantic exchange takes place to this day. Spend three months in the renowned artist residency high above the Pacific!

Musicboard Berlin in cooperation with the Villa Aurora & Thomas Mann House e. V. grants one Berlin pop musician a three-month residency at Villa Aurora in Los Angeles, USA in 2025. As an established residency house, it offers a space for interdisciplinary exchange as well as the opportunity to work on own artistic projects.

The residency at Villa Aurora is intended for artists of all pop music genres. With the term »pop music« Musicboard refers to all genres of popular music as well as cross-genre or experimental pop music that cannot be clearly assigned to the categories of jazz or classical and new music. Due to the networking opportunities on site, the residency is particularly suitable for musicians who are active in the field of film.

The Musicboard residency programme intends to be accessible to everyone and as inclusive as possible. If you have questions about the accessibility of this residency and if it can be taken up accompanied by family, please contact Maureen Noe before applying: maureen.noe@musicboard.berlin.de.

2 Conditions

Eligible to apply are:

  • solo artists living and working in Berlin
  • pop musicians that work professionally and stand out through their creative achievements
  • musicians with a high level of independence and personal initiative
  • musicians who are particularly open to interdisciplinary exchange
  • musicians who reflect on their own social position and are critical of power imbalances and discrimination. Prior knowledge of topics such as whitewashing, white saviourism and cultural appropriation is desired

3 Time Frame

Stay in Los Angeles: Three months in the 1st quarter of 2025

The duration of the residency is set, the residency cannot be shortened. The exact period of the residency will be coordinated between the cooperation partners and the selected musician.

4 Residency Details

The Villa Aurora was the home of Lion and Marta Feuchtwanger during their US exile in the 1940s. As a haven from persecution by the National Socialist regime, the Villa Aurora became a meeting place for German-speaking emigrants in Los Angeles. The Feuchtwangers regularly held readings, concerts, and receptions there. Villa Aurora has been run as an artist residency since 1995 and serves as a centre of cultural life and international encounter.

In addition to the Musicboard residents, the Villa Aurora hosts scholarship holders from across Germany in the fields of fine arts, film, composition, literature, and performance. As a residency house, it offers a space for interdisciplinary exchange. A stay at Villa Aurora not only promises the potential for artistic collaborations, it also provides good networking opportunities to the Los Angeles music scene at large. There is a soundproof room on-site which is well suited for making music and recordings. A selection of technical equipment is available. The Villa also has a grand piano and its own house organ.

5 Contributions

The Musicboard covers:

  • the round-trip travel costs as well as costs for accommodation, food, working and rehearsal space
  • a singular contribution to project-related costs

6 Application

The following information and documents must be supplied, in German or in English, using exclusively the application tool that can be accessed via the button at the end of this page:

  • completed application form
  • artistic project & motivation
    motivation and presentation of the planned artistic project in the context of the residency
  • artistic profile
    including a list of artistic milestones such as shows, productions, releases, collaborations, awards and grants
  • three music samples
    to be uploaded as mp3s
  • scans of certificate of registration or personal ID (front and back)
    indicating Berlin as place of residence
  • for non-EU citizens: Passport scan
    including residence permit, duration of stay, and type of work permit

In each round of funding, applicants may apply for more than one residency. In this case, separate applications must be submitted.

Only fully completed documents can be considered. All applications will be handled confidentially and used exclusively for decision-making and funding purposes. Publication of certain relevant details is granted by the applicant as part of the application process.

7 Selection Procedure

The residencies are awarded through Musicboard Berlin GmbH upon recommendation of an independent jury of Berlin-based pop experts and in consultation with the Senate Department for Culture and Social Cohesion. Jury members are usually appointed for a period of three years. The following jury is appointed to the Scholarships & Residencies programme in 2024:

  • Aida Baghernejad
    cultural journalist
  • Ebru »Ebow« Düzgün
    artist, label owner, manager and event organiser
  • Ji-Hun Kim
    Editor-in-chief Das Filter, freelance lecturer, DJ and music producer
  • Misla Tesfamariam
    artist manager, label owner
  • Thien Nguyen
    label owner, DJ, music and film producer
  • Yeşim Duman
    curator, moderator, DJ

A short description of the jury members is available here.

8 Frequently Asked Questions

Here we have collected some frequently asked questions about Musicboard’s residencies. This information is intended for general advice, is not legally binding, and does not take the place of an examination of individual circumstances. We will gladly answer further, detailed questions on the funding programme by phone or by email. Please read the FAQs and other explanatory notes on this website carefully before contacting us. We also recommend the free services of the Kulturförderberatung by Kreativ Kultur Berlin, which supports artists in all disciplines in their search for possible funding, can offer tips for preparing applications and can provide review of applications.

What is meant by »living and working in Berlin«?
In this residency programme, Musicboard funds exclusively musicians and bands who live and work in Berlin. Residency and creative focus must be verified with residence permits or personal ID (front and back). The nationality of the musician is irrelevant to the funding decision. However, for non-EU citizens filing an application, it is necessary in addition to the Berlin residence certificate to provide a passport that includes residence permit, duration of stay, and type of work permit. Please note that Berlin residence must be officially verified. Rent contracts etc. are not sufficient for proof of residence. We kindly ask you to refrain from submitting such documents containing sensitive personal data.
I’ve just submitted another application to Musicboard. Can I still apply for the residency?
In general, it is possible for musicians to be funded repeatedly and in successive periods. In each round of funding, applicants may apply for more than one residency. In this case, separate applications must be submitted. It is also possible to simultaneously apply for a scholarship and one or multiple residencies. In this case, separate applications must be submitted as well. In general, due to the large number of applications in a given funding round, the jury will recommend only one grant per artist.
How do I submit my letter of motivation?
Since 2023, the motivation can be entered into fields in the online application form. In the application form, applicants must explain, among other things, why they are applying for the residency and what artistic project or type of collaboration they would like to pursue as part of the residency. In addition, they are asked what they expect to gain from the residency for their own artistic and professional development. The letter of motivation should reflect that the applicant is aware of the artistic and cultural context and the profile of the residency location. This information must be submitted in English when applying for a residency abroad, since in the event of jury approval, it will be sent to the foreign residency partner.
How should my artistic profile look like?
The artistic resume is meant to describe the applicants’ artistic career. In the application form, we also ask for milestones in the artistic career in the form of a brief list of artistic milestones such as shows, productions, releases, collaborations, residencies, awards, and grants. You are welcome to voluntarily provide information about your accessibility requirements and your social position in the field access information (e.g. self-description, gender, disability, age, sexual identity), if it plays a role in your artistic identity and your work and you would like the jury and partners to be aware of it. This information must be submitted in English when applying for a residency abroad, since in the event of jury approval, it will be sent to the foreign residency partner.
What songs can I submit as music samples? Are demos acceptable?
The music samples should be three songs that represent you and your art. They need not be the newest songs, or the ones that you want to work on during your project. Demos can be submitted. Depending on their quality, it may be wise to provide in addition one or two fully produced works.
Are your residencies accessible and/or family-friendly?
The Musicboard residency programme is intended to be accessible to everyone and as inclusive as possible. Whether a residency is accessible or can be taken up accompanied by family depends very much on the particular location and the individual needs of the applicant. At Villa Aurora, accommodating family members for an extended period cannot be guaranteed and must be considered on a case-by-case basis. Visits can be arranged for stays of up to 14 days per quarter. Villa Aurora is not accessible for wheelchair users. If you have questions about the accessibility and family-friendliness of this residency, please contact Maureen Noe before applying: maureen.noe@musicboard.berlin.de.
When exactly is the application deadline?
The application deadline for the residency is 1 June 2024 at 6 p.m. Until then, applications can be submitted online and will be posted as received before the deadline. The application has been successfully received as soon as it appears in your user profile in the »Submitted Applications« section. We recommend allowing plenty of time for the application and its attachments to upload, and not waiting until the last minute to apply. If technical problems arise, please take a screenshot, save the application draft and notify us by email at: maureen.noe@musicboard.berlin.de

What are the jury’s selection criteria?
The jury makes its recommendations primarily on the basis of the quality of artistic work, the chances of success and the conclusiveness of the proposed project. A particular focus of the jury is the music samples provided. In addition to these general criteria, transcultural criteria play a major role, especially in the awarding of international and co-creation residencies, e.g. whether applicants have familiarised themselves with the residency location and its cultural context, whether they already have personal or professional connections to the local music culture or whether transculturality is reflected in the applicant’s proposal. Funding decisions are made with a view toward building the diversity of Berlin’s music scene. Musicboard and the appointed jury place great value on diversity, inclusion and gender balance.
When will I be informed of the funding decision?
The jury’s decision follows the application deadline by 4 to 6 weeks, and applicants are informed by email. Acceptances and rejections are sent at the same time. Usually, more applications are received than can be funded, and Musicboard is not obliged to explain its decision. There is no legal entitlement to funding.

Forms and Templates

The current application period has ended. Information on the application for 2026 will be published next year.


View of Villa Aurora
Los Angeles – Villa Aurora (Photo: Mirko Lux)
Villa Aurora – Historic view (Photo: Villa Aurora)
Villa Aurora – Historic view (Photo: Villa Aurora)