The Program’s Objective
To support performing and presenting organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of serious contemporary American music.
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.
The Fund is primarily interested in supporting the performance of works written within the last 40 years. However, extraordinary projects outside of this scope may still be considered; please contact the Grants Manager.
Applicants must meet the following requirements:
- Non-profit tax-exempt status.
- 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.
- 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
- Festivals (see note below)
- Presenter/ensemble hybrids
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.
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.
Special note regarding soloists: Soloists are not eligible to apply on their own, but presenters may apply to present a soloist.
Support window: Support will be given only for activity that occurs in the current season. Thus, for the 2022 grant round, support will only be given to activity that occurs between September 1, 2022 and August 31, 2023. 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.
Project Support applicants: 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. 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.
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.
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. Please note that 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.
Funding decisions will be made by a peer panel chosen by the Fund. 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: are the ensembles and repertoire being presented of outstanding artistic quality?
- 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.
- Will granting the request tend to encourage and improve the public knowledge and appreciation of serious American contemporary music?
Please be advised that the panel may consult an applicant’s web site, social media accounts, and other publicly available information as a means to verify information contained within a proposal.
How to Apply
If your organization does not already have an account on our site:
You will need to create a new account. We will approve new accounts as quickly as possible, but please allow one business day for approval.
If your organization already has an account on our site:
Log in here. Then click on the Start a New Application button at the top of this page to begin the online application process. You may work on your proposal and save it as you go along. It is not necessary to complete the application in one session. You will need to supply the following information:
- Contact information
- A copy of the IRS determination letter confirming tax exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and that the applicant is not a private foundation. If the applicant organization is not based in the United States, submit a letter from a lawyer in the home jurisdiction of the applicant confirming its equivalence to a publicly funded 501(c)(3) organization.
- Federal tax ID number (for U.S. applicants)
- 3-year financial snapshot
- Type of ensemble (if applicable)
- Type of presenter (if applicable)
- Mission of the organization
- Number of concerts projected in the support year and performed or presented each of the last two years
- Indicate the amount and type of support (general operating or project support) requested, and purpose of the request.
- If project support is requested, please provide a description of the project, a breakdown of the project costs, and sources of income.
- History of the organization and information on the principal artistic personnel and/or ensemble members.
- Description of the audiences that are served, including size, age groups, and geographic regions.
- Only for applicants who received an award in last year’s Performing Ensembles Program or Supplemental Program round: A summary of the activity during the period covered by the award, a general description of how the award was used, and a brief explanation if the activity differed substantially from what was proposed in the prior year's application.
- Recordings of 3 contemporary compositions performed by the ensemble (for performing applicants) or a representative sample of the ensemble(s) to be presented (for presenter applicants)
- All musical samples must be recorded within the two performance seasons immediately prior to the application date (i.e., for the 2022 round, within the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 seasons). Each recording should be between 3 and 5 minutes in length (excerpts are acceptable).
- Please submit recordings of live performances and not edited studio sessions unless no live recordings are available.
- Musical examples should demonstrate the performance quality of the core members of the ensemble playing together in representative repertoire, rather than feature extended soloistic passages.
- For each recording submitted, provide the title of the work, names of the composer and performer(s) and date of the performance.
- For 1 of the 3 recordings a score in PDF format must be supplied, and must be marked at the point at which listening is to begin. Only submit the pages of the score that reflect the relevant recording sample. If you cannot acquire a PDF score of any of your examples, please contact the Grants Manager for advice.
- If project support is being requested for the work of a particular composer(s), or if the project features a performer(s) not already represented in the musical samples, the applicant must include a recording of a representative sample of the recent work of that (those) composer(s) or performer(s), even if the recording is by performers other than the applicant ensemble. If necessary, the sample may be from a performance or a recording session prior to the two performance seasons immediately prior to the application date, but should be as recent as possible. If sample recordings cannot be furnished for a proposed project, or if there are questions about the appropriateness of sample recordings for a proposed project, contact the Grants Manager for advice.
- Applicants for opera, ballet projects, and any other applicant for which the visual element is important to the presentation of the music, must submit video work samples of the company, performers, the choreographer, the project’s director, and other key personnel, unless prevented from doing so due to legal or contractual obligations, in which case the reason for the omission of such samples must be clearly stated in the proposal. Video samples should involve live performances of contemporary music.
Work samples should represent a range of repertoire and instrumentation. If available work samples do not strictly meet the guidelines’ requirements, contact Grants Manager for advice.
All supporting documents should be letter size PDFs in portrait orientation.
- A list of all performances and repertoire in the year for which support is being requested (the Support Year*), the current year, and the previous year. Please submit the information in that order (the Support Year first). This should amount to three consecutive years of information. Works by American composers should be indicated by using boldface type for both the composer’s name and the name of the work. Please include timings of works. Please do not submit this list in the form of season brochures.
- A list with award amounts of foundation, corporate, and government support for the Support Year*, the current year, and the previous year. This should amount to three consecutive years of support information. (Projections are acceptable for the support year and, to the extent necessary, the current year.)
- A list of members of the Board of Directors (or equivalent) and their principal affiliations.
- Budget for the Support Year* and financial statements (audited if available) for the current year (projections are acceptable) and the preceding year. This should amount to three consecutive years of financial information. Download recommended Excel budget template
*The Support Year will be your 2022-23 performance season, which in many cases will coincide with your 2023 fiscal year. If your performance season and fiscal year do not coincide, please indicate this in the application. In any event, please submit financial information for the Support Year and the two years immediately preceding the Support Year.
Please save your work often.
The deadline for applications for each calendar year is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 30.
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.
IMPORTANT: You are responsible for complying with all legal and contractual requirements that may apply to the creation of your materials. The Copland Fund hereby disclaims all legal responsibility in connection with your submissions. In case of questions, consult your legal advisor.
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.
Updated: May 12, 2022
Performance Program FAQs
What is the Fund looking for in a project description?
The project description should be a detailed description of the specific project for which you are requesting support. For example, applicants should include information about the performers, repertoire, venue(s), timeframe and audiences served for a proposed concert series. For non-concert projects, applicants should supply details about the personnel and participants involved, timeframe for completion, and end goal of a proposed project.
Our organization regularly presents concerts of contemporary American music, but we don't have a "core ensemble." May we apply to the Performance Program?
What is the Fund looking for in a proposal narrative?
A proposal narrative should be a general description of your organization’s activities, plans for the upcoming season, and any other significant points to make your case for support. Applicants applying for general operating support are required to submit only a proposal narrative. Applicants applying for project support are required to submit a proposal narrative and a project description.
We are a performing ensemble that presents our own concerts as well as other performers. May we apply to the Performance Program?
Yes, the Performance Program accepts applicant ensembles that are self-presenting as well as hybrid presenter-ensemble organizations.
Our organization is applying with a fiscal sponsor. Whose information do I use to create the account?
Organizations applying with a fiscal sponsor should create the account using their own contact information, not that of the fiscal sponsor.
Our organization does not have non-profit status. Can we apply?
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. Create one PDF that contains both items.
How long should my proposal be?
Please do not exceed the maximum number of characters for each section of the proposal.
We are applying with a fiscal sponsor. For ‘organizational budgets’ should we submit our ensemble's budgets or the fiscal sponsor's?
Submit your ensemble's budgets. Do not include personal income and expenditures or other information not related to the activities of the performance entity for which you are applying. We will follow up with you if we need more information about your fiscal sponsor.
What is the difference between organizational budgets and financial statements (in the supporting materials section)?
Organizational budgets refer to three consecutive years of revenue and expense statements:
- the actual statement from the preceding fiscal year
- a projected statement (budget) for the current fiscal year
- a projected statement (budget) for the fiscal year for which support is requested
We strongly recommend using our Excel template to create your statement, which indicates the format level of detail we generally like to see. However, we will accept other formats.
Financial statements refer to statements, often prepared by an accountant and sometimes audited, that reflect a more complete picture of an organization's financial details, including statements of activity, cash flow, balance sheets, and accompanying notes. Not every organization is required to have an audited financial statement, however, if your organization has one for any of the past three fiscal years, you are required to submit the latest one.
When will decisions be announced?
Award decisions will be announced in or about November of the application year. Please do not contact the Fund for updates about grant decisions.