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Grants to USA, Canada, and International Nonprofit Ensembles and Organizations to Promote Contemporary American Music

Performance Program


GrantWatch ID#

Funding Source
Array ( [0] => American Samoa (USA); [1] => Guam (USA); [2] => Puerto Rico (USA); [3] => Virgin Islands (USA); [4] => Northern Mariana Islands (USA); )

Geographic Focus
USA Territories: American Samoa (USA);   Guam (USA);   Puerto Rico (USA);   Virgin Islands (USA);   Northern Mariana Islands (USA);
USA Compact Free Associations:The Federated States of Micronesia (USA)   Marshall Islands (USA)   Republic of Palau (USA)
International, Israel and Canada.

Important Dates
Deadline: 07/07/23 11:59 PM EDT Save

Grant Description
Grants of up to $20,000 to USA, Canada, and International nonprofit professional performing ensembles and presenting organizations to introduce contemporary American music to a broader audience. New applicants are required to create an account in the online portal prior to applying. Two areas of funding are offered: general operating support and project support. The purpose of this program is to support organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary American concert music and jazz.

Funds are available for General Operating Support for professional performing ensembles and presenting organizations with a history of substantial commitment to contemporary American music and with plans to continue that commitment. The program also provides Project Support for exceptionally important activities relating to contemporary American music proposed by professional performing ensembles and presenting organizations that do not normally feature contemporary American music in their programming.

Project Support: An eligible project is a clearly defined endeavor that includes one or more performances of contemporary American music and, often, other activities related to the performance(s) that improve the public’s knowledge of such music. 

The Performance Program supports the electronic dissemination of live performances, whether as a simultaneous transmission or via a recording of a live performance, by means including broadcasting and streaming. Expenses such as recording and electronic distribution costs can be considered as eligible costs in a request for general operating or project support when included live performance. Stand-alone recording projects (e.g., an “album”) are not eligible for support in this program.

The following criteria will be applied in evaluating grant proposals:

  • For ensembles: artistic quality of the ensemble's performances, as determined from the work samples, and its overall repertoire.
  • For presenters, or organizations that are otherwise involved with performances: artistic quality of the ensembles and repertoire being presented.
  • For general operating support applicants: commitment to high-quality performances of contemporary American music over a substantial period of time.
  • Demonstrated financial ability to carry a season or project to completion.
  • Impact of the funded activity on encouraging and improving the public knowledge and appreciation of American contemporary music.


Additional Eligibility Criteria
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- 501(c)(3) non-profit, fiscal sponsorship, or foreign equivalent.
- Performance history as an ensemble or presenter of at least two years at the time of application.
- For General Operating Support applicants, commitment to contemporary American music.
- Organizations located outside the U.S. are eligible to apply. They must submit a letter from a lawyer confirming the organization’s equivalence to a publicly funded 501(c)(3) organization. All financial figures in the proposal should be converted to U.S. dollars.

Eligible organizations:
- Chamber-sized ensembles of any instrumentation
- Chamber orchestras
- Symphonic or other full-sized orchestras
- Opera companies
- Dance companies and/or ensembles (see note below)
- Vocal ensembles and choruses
- Presenters
- Festivals (see note below)
- Presenter/ensemble hybrids

Organizations without non-profit status may seek support with the sponsorship of a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. You must submit a letter from the sponsoring organization describing the nature of the arrangement, and undertaking to be responsible for disbursement of funds if a grant is awarded. In addition, you must include the sponsor’s IRS tax-exempt determination letter.

Special note for dance applicants: The Fund’s primary focus for dance applicants is on the quality of the music and the performance, which must be by live musicians, not the choreography. However, the choreography must enhance the performance of contemporary American music.

Special note for festival applicants and other applications with educational activities: If the primary focus of the organization or project is public professional performance of music, the applicant should apply to the Performance Program. If the primary focus of the organization or project is educational activities, workshops, professional training, or career development, the applicant should apply to the Supplemental Program.

Projects involving youth choruses performing at an exceptionally high level are eligible for support, provided that they are performing contemporary American concert music intended for young voices.

Educational institutions may not apply directly, but they may serve as the fiscal sponsor for projects that involve professional musicians (including faculty). Projects including student ensembles are generally not eligible for support. Projects that primarily involve professional musicians are eligible even if some students also participate.

Special note regarding soloists: Soloists are not eligible to apply on their own, but presenters may apply to present a soloist.

Individuals and student ensembles are not eligible. Volunteer, community and amateur ensembles are generally not eligible except when authorized in advance to apply by the Grants Manager.

Popular music is not supported.

Education projects focused on pre-college age children are generally not eligible. The Fund will consider professional level performance projects with an education component, as well as training programs for professional and emerging professional-level musicians or composers, provided that they have a focus on contemporary American music.

Projects featuring only one contemporary American work on a single concert program are not eligible for support, unless authorized in advance by the Grants Manager. An aggregated list of contemporary American music activities spread intermittently over the course of a season would not be eligible for Project Support, but could be considered for general operating support if a multi-year history of substantial commitment to contemporary American music is demonstrated as an integral part of the season.

Grants will not be made for the purpose of commissioning composers. Organizations requesting support for the performance of a new work that is part of a commissioning consortium should contact the Grants Manager for further advice.

For additional information on eligibility, see FAQs link in Pre-Application Information, below.

Pre-Application Information
The deadline for applications for each calendar year is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 30. The 2023 deadline has been changed to July 7, 2023 in consideration of the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

New applicants will need to create a new account. Please allow up to 3 business days for approval.

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in or about November of that year. Please do not contact the Fund for information on funding decisions.

The awarding of a grant for general operating support in one year does not imply continuation of that support in subsequent years. Project support grants are for that project only, and no more than one grant will be awarded for a single project.

Please be advised that the panel may consult an applicant’s website, social media accounts, and other publicly available information as a means to verify information contained within a proposal.

For a list of application requirements, see the Full Grant Text RFP link.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") Policy:

Prospective applicants are first encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions:

If your question is not answered there, please contact the Grants Manager prior to the time of application.

Estimated Size of Grant
In general, grants range from $1,000 to $20,000. Grant amounts for larger organizations with a demonstrated extraordinary commitment to contemporary American music may exceed these amounts at the discretion of the panel.

Term of Contract
- Support Year: The year in which support is being requested. For the 2023 Performance Program, this will be the 2023-24 season, which in many cases will coincide with an organization’s fiscal year 2024.
- Multi-year projects will be considered if they begin in the current season, but projects that began in an earlier season generally will not be eligible for support.

Contact Information
To create a new account:

If your organization already has an account on the Fund's website, click here to log in and apply:

Contact the Grant Manager:
Phone: 212-461-6956

The Aaron Copland Fund for Music, Inc.
c/o Alter, Kendrick & Baron, LLP
156 Fifth Avenue, Suite 600
New York, NY 10010

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