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Music Creation Projects

Grants to Ontario Composers and Music Groups
to Support the Creation of Original Music

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)

Deadline Date:

09/15/20 1:00 PM EST


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Grants of up to $4,000 and grants of up to $20,000 to Ontario individual composers and music groups to support the creation of original music. Funding may be requested for either commissioned or self-directed works. Applications will be considered from both emerging and established artists in all artistic styles.

There are two categories:

  • Self-directed creation: Projects where the applicant is an individual creator who is requesting support for composing/writing a new piece of music or body of work (for example, a song set). The applicant is taking their own initiative and making their own decisions about the music to be created.
  • Commissioning: Projects where the applicant is an individual composer/songwriter working with a commissioner. The commissioner can be an individual artist, music group or non-profit arts organization, choreographer or dance company, who makes a commitment to give the proposed commissioned work a première.

Program priorities include:

  • support for projects that display exceptional creativity in composition and song-writing
  • projects that enhance the range of music available to performers and the public
  • projects that, in addition to the above, may contribute to arts education, public participation, and community involvement in the arts in Ontario (e.g. composition for children’s choir).

This program funds composition/creation of new original work. This may also include:

  • creation of a companion piece or additional movements, intended to accompany an earlier composition
  • completion of a larger-scale work under development (e.g. an opera)
  • music incorporating other media or art forms.

Eligible activities:

  • Self-directed creation:
    • composition of original lyrics and/or music, including time to create a body of work
    • mentor consultation, collaborations with other artists and research
    • creation of electronic music, where the process involves sampling and manipulation of recorded materials
  • Commissioning:
    • projects where a composer is contracted by an ensemble, arts organization, music education organization or an individual artist wishing to commission and première a new work.

For commissioning projects, please note the following additional information:

    • in the case of opera, a commitment to production development or workshops must be specified, even if the exact plans for a world première production are not known.
    • composer and librettists/lyricists fees may include activity that occurred before the deadline. For information on commissioning rates, please see Canadian League of Composers official fee schedule.

Eligible expenses:

  • artist fees (for example, composer/songwriter/creator, co-creator, librettist/lyricist, mentor)
  • score/sheet music copy costs or the self-generation of parts (for example, individual parts for each instrument) for one master set (not reproductions for each player or publishing copies for resale/rental)
  • space and equipment rental for the purpose of the creation process
  • purchase of small-scale equipment, software, electronics and similar materials required to carry out the project (suggested maximum $500)
  • modest recording costs are only eligible when documenting new creation or process (i.e. archival recording)
  • for electronic music (i.e. electro-acoustic, beat production, sound art), or where your project is exploratory in nature or you are creating beats/soundscapes with the potential to be used for future works by other artists (i.e. not a finished work/recording), higher recording costs are eligible
  • higher recording costs are also eligible for commissions for dance/new choreography where creation of an electronic soundtrack is necessary for use by the commissioner

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 153165

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant amount(s):
- Self-directed creation: maximum $4,000
- Commissioning: maximum $20,000

Term of Contract:

The activities for which the applicant is requesting funding:
- cannot start before the deadline
- cannot finish before the applicant receives grant results
- must be completed no more than two years after the applicant receives the grant results

Note: For self-directed creation, the project may have started before the program deadline date. However, expenses incurred before the deadline date are ineligible and will not be covered by this grant. For commissioning, composer and librettists/lyricists fees may include activity that occurred before the deadline. The world première/performance, public releases of recordings and/or publishing of new songs/compositions cannot be earlier than four months after the deadline.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants:
Individuals: professional composers, songwriters and music creators, who are Ontario residents. Individual applicants must be 18 years of age or older to apply.
Note: Others may be involved in the creative process. This could include commissioners where applicable, musicians, band members, lyricists, etc.)

For applicants applying for music commissions only:
- composers are the applicant and commissioners of the new music are required participants
- commissioners can be professional individual artists (music performers, choreographers) music groups, not-for-profit arts organization or dance company. Commissioners not entirely comprised of professional musicians, such as community orchestras or choirs, are also possible
- commissioners where music performance is not a primary activity, (e.g. an art gallery), are eligible. However, commissioners must describe their music programming curation and the context in which the new work will be presented to the public.
- projects with commissioners located outside Ontario are eligible. The world première may occur elsewhere, but any plans for the first Ontario performance must be provided.
- commissions suitable for young performers are eligible if the impact on learners or its potential for future use by the music education community can be demonstrated.

Ineligible applicants:
- ad hoc groups/collectives and organizations. Note: an individual may apply to create with others.
- professional composers or songwriters who are currently enrolled in composition or songwriting courses or a music composition degree program at a university, college or conservatory (composition/songwriting workshops are permitted), are not eligible to apply in the Self-directed creation category. However, they may apply in the Commissioning category, provided they can demonstrate that the professional contract to create a new composition for the commissioner is independent of their studies.

This program does not fund
Ineligible activity:
- projects that are a part of the applicant’s course of study/academic work
- commissions by musical performing organizations or dance companies with composers who are their own artistic directors/leader, administrative head or members of the board
- commissions by librettists/lyricists/writers for the musical setting of their own texts
- commissions by educational institutions for their own faculty
- commissions by record companies/labels, managers, agents and lawyers
- commissions by religious institutions
- film or television soundtracks
- incidental theatre music and arrangements
- revisions, rewrites or rearrangements of existing work

Ineligible expenses:
- expenses for activities that take place outside of Ontario
- major capital expenditures, including buying, leasing, or renovating buildings and purchase of major equipment (for example, purchase of recording equipment, instruments, computers)

Pre-Application Information:

Deadline dates: Due to the challenges caused by COVID-19, the April 23, 2020 deadline for this program has been extended to May 7, 2020 at 1pm ET. The next deadline will be September 15, 2020, 1 p.m. EST
- Applications are available in Nova approximately two months before the deadline.
- Grant notification will be available approximately four months after each deadline.

Before applying, applicants must read the Guide to OAC Project Programs and the Guide to OAC Assessment.

Guide to OAC Project Programs:

Guide to OAC Assessment:

Application Questions:

Evaluation Rubric:

Nova User Guide:

Music Definitions:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Contact Jenny Knox, Program Administrator at or 416-969-7430.
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​1-800-387-0058 ext. 7430

Ontario Arts Council
121 Bloor Street East, 7th Floor
Toronto, ON M4W 3M5

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario;

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