Most music grants are not awarded to musicians. In fact, direct support from organizations that offer grants for music is quite low. Instead, most of the foundation and corporate support for music goes to non-profit organizations. For example, the National Endowment for the Arts offers literally no music funding for individual artists. There are a few out there, however, that offer sizable grants that individual musicians and composers can apply for. These grants fund projects that create original composition and follow through with performance and recording of new work. These grants are available across musical genres from classical to jazz and from world music to electronic.
Aaron Copland Fund for Music
This fund was endowed by American composer Aaron Copland shortly after his death in 1990. Its overall mission is to support contemporary American music. It handles permission rights to Copland’s musical and literary works and provides three grant programs.
Recording Program – This program seeks to document and expose the music of contemporary American composers through recording projects and distribution of recordings. The grant will pay up to $20,000 or up to 50% of the total project cost of the recording project. The deadline for recording grants is January 15.
Performing Ensembles Program – This program supports live performance by performing ensembles and seeks to improve public awareness and appreciation of contemporary American music. Submission for ensemble support is due yearly by June 30.
Supplemental Program – While this program does not support individual artists, it funds many non-profit organizations that have shown a major commitment to contemporary American music. The annual deadline for supplemental funding is October 31.
Chamber Music America
CMA works to support the creation, performance and enjoyment of chamber music across the United States. It offers a Classic Commissioning Program to foster new chamber music work. The grant will pay a composer fee of $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the number of musicians used and length of each composition. It will also pay up to ten $1,000 payments to ensemble musicians for rehearsal and up to $1,000 in copying costs. The newly commissioned work must be performed a minimum of 3 times to be eligible for the grant. For further information, contact program director Susan Dadian by calling 212-242-2022, ext. 5082, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
New Music USA Project Grants
New Music USA is an organization that works to promote the American new music community. It offers around $600,000 a year through 100-150 project grants to fund recording and performance projects by American artists. Grant support can range from $250 up to $20,000 depending on the needs of each individual project. All music forms and genres are welcome to apply for these grants. New Music USA handles grant applications with two rounds a year with deadlines of November 1 and April 1. For information on project grants, sign up for New Music USA’s mailing list to receive grant making notifications as deadlines approach.