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Performance Program

We are not accepting applications for Performance Program at this time.

2024 Performance Program Guidelines
Deadline: June 27, 2024 at 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time

The eligible activity period for the current application cycle is: 
September 1, 2024 to August 31, 2025.

Eligible applicant types:

Performing Organizations
Chamber-sized ensembles of any instrumentation
Chamber orchestras
Symphonic or other full-size orchestras
Opera companies
Dance companies and/or ensembles (see note below)
Vocal ensembles and choruses
Presenter/Ensemble Hybrids
(See "Definitions" section for further information)

All applicants must meet the following requirements:

  • 501(c)(3) non-profit status (or foreign equivalent), or fiscal sponsorship
  • Two or more years of performance history as an organization

The Program’s Objective

To support performing and presenting organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary concert music and contemporary jazz music by American composers.

Application snapshot


Who is eligible?

Eligible applicants must: 

  • Be a publicly supported non-profit or fiscally sponsored organization 
  • Have a minimum of two years of programmatic activity prior to the time of application (except for special projects of extraordinary significance; please contact the Grants Manager for approval)

Eligible organizations include:

  • 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

Special note for dance applicants: Dance productions that significantly feature contemporary American concert music performed by live musicians are considered eligible. The Fund’s review is focused on assessing the quality of music and musical performance, not the choreography. 

Special note for festival applicants and other applications with professional training activities: If the primary focus of the organization or project is public performance of music at a professional level, 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.

What is eligible?

Funding is available for eligible activity occurring between September 1, 2024 and August 31, 2025.

The Performance Program is dedicated to the support of performance-related activities that improve the public’s knowledge of contemporary American concert music. 

The program also supports online streaming performances. Expenses such as recording and electronic distribution can be considered as eligible costs in a request for general operating or project support when related specifically to live performance.

General operating support is available for organizations with a history of substantial commitment to contemporary American concert music and with plans to continue that commitment. 

Project support is also available for organizations that  do not typically engage in substantial programming of contemporary American music, but are planning an initiative of exceptional importance to such music in the forthcoming season. Please note:

  • Generally speaking, a single concert program featuring multiple composers but only one eligible contemporary American composer is not competitive for support.
  • Contemporary American music spread intermittently throughout the course of a season would not be eligible for project support.

What is not eligible?

  • Programming outside the field of American concert music and jazz; this includes commercial, pop, Broadway-style musical theater, sacred, holiday, and traditional concert band music. 
  • Unincorporated or for-profit organizations except via a fiscal sponsor 
  • Endowment funds 
  • Music publishing projects 
  • Student ensembles* 
  • Volunteer, community, and amateur ensembles* 
  • Educational institutions* 
  • Composer commissioning fees and/or honoraria** 
  • Composition competitions (except as part of a larger program of support for composers) 

*Such organizations are not generally eligible but may apply if authorized in advance by the Grants Manager. Educational institutions may not apply for activities involving school-age students, student ensembles, or credit-bearing university-level activities but they may apply for eligible activities that involve professional musicians (including faculty). However, the participation of some professional musicians in an ensemble that is primarily a student activity does not make that activity eligible for support. 

**Organizations that are part of a commissioning consortium and wish to apply for support for activities related to a commissioned work should contact the Grants Manager for further information.

Stand-alone recording projects (e.g., a studio album) are not eligible for this program, but may be eligible for the Recording Program.


For the Fund’s purposes, music composed within the last 40 years is considered contemporary. The Fund provides support for concert music and jazz composed within that time period; if your project falls outside of this scope but is of exceptional importance and relevance to contemporary American music, please contact the Grants Manager.

Concert Music:
For the Fund’s purposes, concert music includes opera, orchestral and chamber music for instrumental and/or vocal ensembles, as well as concert music in experimental genres and similar formats. Popular music, including commercial, pop, Broadway-style musical theater, sacred, holiday, and traditional concert band music, is not fundable.

American Music:
Music by composers with U.S. citizenship, wherever they may live, as well as non-citizen composers who have lived and worked in the U.S. and its territories for a significant period.

Performing Organizations:
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 organizations. Dance companies are also eligible to apply for projects that involve live performances of contemporary American music.

Music venues or similar organizations whose principal activity is to present live musical performances by a variety of performing groups throughout the year.

Organizations whose principal activity is to present live musical performances by a variety of performing groups for a discrete period.

Project (as it relates to Project Support):
The Fund considers a "project" to be an exceptionally important activity or set of activities relating to contemporary American concert music outside the scope of an organization’s regular programming, and often (but not necessarily) a discrete initiative.

How to Apply

If your organization does not already have an account:

You will need to create an account request. Staff will assess your organization’s eligibility; only organizations that are considered eligible will receive account approval. Staff may reach out via email with eligibility questions. Please allow 3-5 business days for your account status to be determined.

Please ensure that your organization does not already have an account before creating a new request; if you are not sure whether your organization already has an account, or have an account but do not have access to login credentials, please contact the Grants Manager.

Please note: Creating an account request does not mean that you have an active account; you may begin an application only if your account has been approved.

If your organization already has an account:

Log in here. Then click on the "Apply Now" button at the top of this page to begin the online application process. The proposal may be completed in stages; it is not necessary to complete the application in one session.

PLEASE NOTE: The online application does not automatically self-save. It is not necessary to complete the application in one session, but the application must be saved at the end of every session and should be saved at least once during each session to avoid lost work.

Applicants must prepare and submit the following materials:

Organization 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.
    • Organizations not based in the United States should submit a letter from a lawyer in the home jurisdiction of the applicant confirming its equivalence to a publicly funded 501(c)(3) organization.
    • Organizations applying with a fiscal sponsor 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, as well as the sponsor’s IRS tax-exempt determination letter. (Create one PDF that contains both items).
  • Federal tax ID number (for U.S. applicants)
  • 3-year financial snapshot

Applicant Information 

  • Type of organization
  • Mission of the organization
  • Number of concerts projected in the support year and performed or presented each of the last two years


  • The amount and type of support (general operating or project support) requested, and purpose of the request.
  • If project support is requested, 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: 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.

Musical Materials

  • Recordings of 3 contemporary compositions in MP3 format performed by the ensemble (for performing ensemble applicants) or a representative sample of the ensemble(s) to be presented (for presenter applicants)
    • Each recording should be between 3 and 5 minutes in length.
    • All musical samples must be recorded within the two performance seasons immediately prior to the application date.
    • Recordings should be of live performances and not edited studio sessions unless no live recordings are available.
    • Musical examples should demonstrate the performance quality of the members of the ensemble playing together in representative repertoire, rather than feature extended soloistic passages.
    • Each submitted recording must include the title of the work, names of the composer and performer(s) and date of the performance.
  • For 1 of the 3 recordings, applicants may include a score in PDF format marked at the point at which listening is to begin. (Only the pages of the score that reflect the relevant recording sample should be included.)
    • Score samples are not required for submission, but strongly encouraged if available; this can include non-traditional scores, such as graphic notation, written instructions, etc. 
  • For projects featuring the work of a particular composer(s) or a performer(s) not already represented in the musical samples: 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, must be included. 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.
  • For opera, ballet projects, and any other applicant for which the visual element is important to the presentation of the music: video work samples of the company, performers, choreographer, project’s director, and other key personnel may be submitted in addition to the required MP3 musical materials. Video samples should involve live performances of contemporary music.
    • If a video work sample is not available due to legal or contractual obligations, the reason for the omission of such samples must be clearly stated in the proposal

Work samples should represent a range of repertoire and instrumentation. If available work samples do not strictly meet the guidelines’ requirements, contact the Grants Manager for advice.

Supporting Materials

All supporting documents should be letter size PDFs in portrait orientation.

  • A list of all performances and repertoire in the Support Year, the current year, and the previous year, listed in that order. This should amount to three consecutive years of information and include titles, composers, and work durations. Works written by American composers within the last 40 years should be indicated with boldface type for both the composer’s name and the name of the work. 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
    • For applicants whose performance season and fiscal year do not coincide, please indicate this in the application.

Save your work often. The application does not save automatically.

Funding Provisions

Applicants should be aware that support in one year does not imply continuation of that support in subsequent years. In general, grants will range between $1,500 and $20,000; the average grant award for the Performance Program is approximately $4,000. Larger grants may be awarded to larger performing organizations with an extraordinary commitment to contemporary concert music or a particularly significant project. The Fund does not award grants larger than the amount requested by the applicant. For more information on grantees and award amounts, please see the past grants page.

Review Procedures

The following criteria will be applied in evaluating grant proposals:  

  • Are the applicant’s performances, recordings, programmed repertoire of outstanding artistic quality?
  • Does the proposal further the Fund’s mission of encouraging and improving the public’s knowledge of and appreciation for contemporary American music?
  • For general operating support applicants: Has the applicant demonstrated a consistent or increasing commitment to high-quality performances of contemporary American concert music? 
  • Has the applicant demonstrated the financial ability to carry a season or project to completion?
  • Will granting the request promote the performance and dissemination of contemporary concert music?
  • Has the applicant demonstrated that their activities enrich their community’s appreciation of and access to contemporary concert music, particularly as it applies to underserved and marginalized communities?

Application Deadline

The deadline for applications is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, June 27. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in or around November 2024. Please note: Grant awards will be disbursed following award announcements; staff will be in touch with further information.  

Please do not contact the Fund to check the status of your application.

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.

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Prospective applicants are first encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions. If a question is not answered there, please contact the Grants Manager prior to the time of application.

Telephone: 212-461-6956 (Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET)

Updated: April 23, 2024

See lists of grantees from previous rounds

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