The program’s objective is to support performing and presenting organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of serious contemporary American music.

The program’s objectives are to document and provide wider exposure for the music of contemporary American composers, to develop audiences for contemporary American music through record distribution and other retail markets, and to support the release and dissemination of recordings of previously unreleased contemporary American music and the reissuance of recordings that are no longer available. Pre-approval is required to submit a proposal; first see the Preliminary Round.

Pre-application to the Recording Program is required. Submissions will be reviewed and a select number of applications will be invited to submit a full proposal to the Recording Program.

The program’s objective is to support non-profit organizations that have a history of substantial commitment to contemporary American music but whose needs are not addressed by the Fund’s programs of support for performing organizations and recording projects. Organizations whose principal function is to support a specific performing ensemble should apply to the Performance Program.

General FAQs (applies to all programs)

What is the Copland Fund’s definition of ‘contemporary’?

Works of living and recently deceased composers are eligible, as well as other works written within the last century that are of importance. In general, the fund tends to support music written in the last 50 years. For projects of music written before that of particular importance to the field, please contact the grants manager.

However in the Recording Program, the Fund is interested primarily in supporting recordings of works by living American composers and those who are recently deceased. Regarding works by deceased composers, the Fund will give preference to works of composers who died in 1980 or later, but will consider funding extraordinary projects involving the music of American composers who died earlier.

What is the Fund’s definition of ‘American’?

Composers with U.S. citizenship, as well as composers that have lived and worked in the U.S. for a significant period of time, are eligible. The Fund does not set rigid parameters but considers any questionable situations on a case-by-case basis. For the Fund’s purposes, “American” refers to the United States, its territories, and possessions.

Our organization is located outside the U.S., but we are proposing a project featuring contemporary American music. May we apply?

Yes. Submit a letter from a lawyer confirming your organization’s equivalence to a publicly funded 501(c)(3) organization. All financial figures in the proposal should be converted to U.S. dollars.

What is the Fund’s definition of a ‘performing ensemble’?

Performing groups such as orchestras, opera companies and chamber music groups with a consistent core membership, as well as ‘flexible’ ensembles with consistent artistic leadership and identity, are considered performing ensembles. Dance companies are also eligible to apply for projects that involve live performances of contemporary American music. Perfrorming ensembles may seek support from the Performance Program.

What is the Fund’s definition of a ‘presenter’?

Music festivals, music venues, and any other organization that organizes and presents live musical performances by a variety of performing groups can be considered a “presenting organization”. Presenters may seek support from the Performance Program.

What is the Fund’s definition of a ‘music service organization’?

Organizations that support composers and performers through activities such as grants, residencies or training programs, or aid in the preservation and dissemination of contemporary American music, are considered music service organizations. Presenting organizations applying for support of composer training institutes may seek support from the Supplemental Program. Music service organizations may seek support from the Supplemental Program.

Does the Fund support jazz music?

Yes, jazz is supported. For examples of projects and ensembles that have been supported in the past, please see the lists of grantees from recent grant rounds.

Does the Fund support musical theater?
Opera and dance projects involving live performances of contemporary American music are supported. Broadway-style musical theater projects are generally not supported.
Does the Fund support popular music?

Popular music is not supported. The Fund’s emphasis is on contemporary American concert music.

Our organization performs/presents pops and holiday programming. Is this repertoire eligible for support?

Generally, no. The Fund’s emphasis is on contemporary American concert music. However, programs of this nature do not have an adverse effect on your application as long as there is sufficient eligible contemporary concert music activity.

Can our organization apply to more than one of the Fund's programs?

Applicants to the Recording Program may also apply to either the Performance Program or the Supplemental Program, if the applicant satisfies the program eligibility requirements.

Generally, applicants to the Performance Program may not apply to the Supplemental Program, and vice versa, except in instances approved by the Fund in advance. Please contact the Fund directly for further information regarding application to multiple grant programs.

Who is on your review panel?

In order to ensure a fair review process, the Fund does not release the names of the panelists. Panels for the Recording and Performance Program are comprised of experts in the field, and rotate each year. Panels for the Supplemental Program are made up of members of the Copland Fund’s board and administration.

Are universities and other educational institutions eligible for support?

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.

Are youth choruses eligible for support?

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.

Are community, volunteer, and amateur ensembles eligible for support?

Contact the Grants Manager for advice before beginning an application.

A university is serving as our fiscal sponsor, and they want us to include indirect costs in our budget. May we do so?

The Copland Fund will not fund indirect costs on a project, so it is advised that you do not include them in the budget.

How should I account for in-kind contributions in my annual or project budgets?

Only the donation of goods that have a fair market value are allowable as a budgetary item, consistent with IRS regulations for filing Form 990.

If you wish to show the value of the donation of services, you may do so in a supplementary note to the budget, but only if the contributed services:

  1. create or enhance nonfinancial assets, or
  2. require specialized skills, are provided by individuals possessing those skills and would typically need to be purchased if not provided by donation.

In this case, indicate the full value of the donated services in the supplementary note. Within the budget itself, indicate the actual amount of money paid for the services. If the services were completely donated, the amount of the expense should be $0.

Donated services that do not meet either of the two criteria should not be represented anywhere in the budget.

Are music education projects eligible for funding?

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.

Our proposal was not funded. Can you tell us why?
Programs are very competitive. Unfortunately, each year many worthy projects cannot be funded. You are welcome to call the Grants Manager at 212-461-6956 for feedback about how your proposal could be improved in the future.