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Recording Program

The 2023 Recording Program is now open for applications.
Application Deadline: March 31st, 2023 - 11:59PM

2023 Recording Program Guidelines
Deadline: March 31, 2023 at 11:59 P.M. Eastern Time

Any applicant wishing to apply to the Recording Program must first apply to the Recording Program Preliminary Round, for which the deadline is November 15, 2022. Please visit the program page for that round for instructions and to begin an application.

Only applicants who have already submitted an application to the Preliminary Round and received an invitation from the Fund to submit a full proposal may submit an application to the 2023 Recording Program. No other applications will be considered.

Program Objectives

  • Document and provide wider exposure for the music of contemporary American composers
  • Develop audiences for contemporary American music through distribution of recorded performances in physical and online media
  • Support the production of new recordings of contemporary American music and the reissuance of significant recordings that are no longer available

Application snapshot


Who is eligible

Proposals may be submitted by non-profit professional performance ensembles, presenting institutions, and non-profit or commercial recording companies. Fiscally sponsored professional ensembles, presenters and individuals may also apply. Non-professionals and students are not eligible.

Projects sponsored by universities and similar educational institutions are not eligible. For instances in which a proposal is made in support of an independent professional ensemble in residence at a university, but the ensemble does not have separate 501(c)(3) status, the university may serve as the fiscal sponsor, but the ensemble must be the applicant.

Any applicant who, as of the deadline date, has one or more Recording Program grants that have been paid but that have not been released within two years after receiving funds will not be eligible to apply. Prospective applicants in this position may request a written waiver from the Fund; please contact the Grants Manager for more information.

Due to the competitive nature of the application process and limited resources of the Recording Program, commercial and non-profit recording companies may submit a maximum of three proposals. All other applicants, including individuals applying with a fiscal sponsor, ensembles, and other organizations may only submit one proposal. Requests to exceed these limitations must be approved by the Fund in advance; please contact the Grants Manager for more information.

What is eligible

Concert music and jazz written by American composers is eligible. The Fund defines “American composers” as composers with U.S. citizenship, as well as composers that have lived and worked in the United States, its territories, and/or possessions for a significant period of time. The Fund does not set rigid parameters but considers any questionable situations on a case-by-case basis.

The Fund is primarily interested in supporting recordings of works written within the last 40 years. However, extraordinary projects outside of this scope may still be considered; please contact the Grants Manager.

Recordings that will be distributed digitally (download, streaming, etc.) and/or physically (CD, LP, etc.) are eligible. For all projects distributed digitally, grantees will be required to post liner notes and credits on an appropriate page of their web sites and to provide a permanent copy of the funded recording for the Fund’s archive.

First recordings are preferred. However, reissues of significant recordings are eligible if the music is not available from any other sources at the time of application. Grants will not be made solely for the pressing or reprinting of additional CDs by the same label. In general, the Fund does not support the reissuance of projects initially supported by the Recording Program.

Compositions for the proposed recording must be completed by the application deadline. Grants will not be made for the purpose of commissions to composers.

Please note that live streaming activity is not eligible in the Recording Program. You may seek support for live streaming activity in the Performance Program, which has its annual deadline of June 30.

Funding Provisions

In general, grants will not exceed $20,000. Grants will generally not exceed 50% of the total project costs.

Once awarded, all grants are subject to the following conditions and timetable:

  1. Funds will be disbursed upon receipt of written certification from the grantee that all other funding for a project has been secured, along with a list of the sources and amounts of funding
  2. A grantee may request an advance disbursement upon submission of confirmation of studio dates and estimates and/or invoices detailing the cost of the following items, provided that those items were part of the original grant request and itemized in the project budget, even if all the funding for the project has not yet been secured:
    a. studio time
    b. producer and engineer fees
    c. editing
  3. The amount disbursed in advance will be at the discretion of the Fund’s staff based upon submitted documentation, but will generally not exceed 50% of the total grant award
  4. A grantee receiving advance disbursement may request the balance of the award upon presenting certification that the funds needed to complete the project have been secured from other sources
  5. The recording must be released within two years after the date of the first (or only) payment

During this time, annual IRS expenditure responsibility forms may be required.

If the funds are not requested within two years, or if the recording(s) is not released within two years of payment of the grant, the Fund reserves the right to cancel the grant.

If a recording funded by the Copland Fund should become unavailable in any form, either physical or digital, the Fund reserves the right, on thirty (30) days written notice, sent to the grantee at its last known address, to make it available on the internet, subject to the payment by the Fund of all required royalties and fees to performers and publishers.

Review Procedures

Funding decisions will be made by a peer panel chosen by the Board of Directors, with no more than one of the panelists being a Director. The following criteria will be applied in evaluating grant proposals:

  • Quality of the music and the importance of the project to the recorded repertoire, to the composer(s) and to the performer(s)
  • Artistic quality and performance history of the performer(s) to be recorded
  • Feasibility of the recording project, including financial and other arrangements made with the recording company, timetable for the production and release of the recording, plans for distribution and promotion, and commitment from other funders
  • Demonstrated commitment to contemporary American music

How to Apply

Only applicants invited to apply after submitting an approved proposal to the Preliminary Round may submit a full application to the Recording Program.

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 save your work often

For record companies submitting more than one project:

  • Submit one application for each separate project. Do not combine information from multiple projects into one proposal.
  • Supporting Materials will only need to be submitted once.
  • Record companies may submit up to 3 proposals per round. Requests to exceed this amount must be approved by the Fund in advance of applying; contact the Grants Manager for more information.

All applicants must supply the following information:

Organization Information

  • Contact information
  • For non-profit applicants, 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 confirming its equivalence to a publicly funded 501(c)(3) organization.
  • For organizations and individuals applying with a fiscal sponsor, proof of fiscal sponsorship should be supplied in lieu of the IRS determination letter and the legal name and federal tax ID of the fiscal sponsor should be provided in the appropriate fields.
  • Federal tax ID number (all U.S. applicants, whether non-profit or commercial)
  • 3-year financial summary

The Project

  • Distribution plans, record label, project release date, and quantity of first pressing (for physical copies).
  • Budget form (download here). For best results, complete the form using Adobe Acrobat Reader for PC or Mac. Other software, including Apple Preview, may cause calculation or display issues within the form.
  • For all works to be recorded, include the composer, title of work, performers, and duration.


  • The rationale behind the proposed project.
  • If any proposed work is currently available in recorded form, a list of the existing recording(s), and an explanation of why a new recording of the work is desirable.
  • The plans for the proposed recording project, including a detailed timetable with specific dates and actionable steps for production, promotion and distribution.
  • Whether the composer(s) represented on the project will be involved in the recording and production of their work(s), and, if so, the extent of their involvement.
  • A brief biography and list of major works by the composer(s) whose music is to be recorded.
  • A brief biography (maximum one paragraph) of the performer(s) and each soloist proposed for the recording, and a list of (or link to) contemporary repertoire they have performed in each of the last two years. For ensembles, submit the bio and repertoire for the ensemble, not the individual musicians.
  • If the project includes video, a brief biography of the producer(s) and director(s) or other related creative personnel, and a list of their major projects, particularly those related to contemporary music.

Musical Materials

One complete score for each work on the proposed project, in PDF format. Physical scores will not be accepted.

When a score corresponds with an audio example (see below), the score should be clearly marked to illustrate where the listening example begins.

Audio examples:
Audio excerpts as follows with a total duration of no more than 15 minutes:

  • At least one example per composer on the project
  • At least one example per performer/ensemble on the project

Note: An excerpt that includes both a composer and performer/ensemble on the project will satisfy the audio example requirements for both. 

All audio examples must be continuous, uncut excerpts. Each example may be of any length, but the total timing of all submitted examples must not exceed 15 minutes. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit precise excerpts that best reflect the works and performers on the project. If an application includes more than 15 minutes of audio examples, panelists will be instructed to review only the first 15 minutes of examples. 

For each proposed work sample, audio excerpts should be one of the following, in descending order of preference:

  1. The final master of the proposed work
  2. A recording of the proposed work other than the final master (such as a live performance or rough edit), performed by the same performers as proposed for the project
  3. A recording of the proposed work performed by different performers than proposed for the project*
  4. A demo of the proposed work (such as a MIDI realization or a performance of the piano reduction)*
  5. A recording of another work by the composer composed around the same time as the proposed work and preferably in a genre similar to that of the proposed work*

*Reminder: If the proposed performers for the project are not represented in the work samples, an additional example of the proposed performers must also be submitted

The Fund does not require applicants to submit final masters to be eligible to apply to the Recording Program. However, if a final master is available, it should be submitted.

Video examples:
If the project incorporates video, submit a final master or rough cut of the video, if one exists. If video has not been created yet, submit an example that represents the production quality of the person or team primarily responsible for the video element (i.e., the videographer, producer, director, etc.).

Video examples are intended to demonstrate video production quality, not to demonstrate a musical work, and should be submitted in addition to audio examples, not in lieu of them (except in the case of a final master of the DVD, in which video alone will suffice).

Supporting Materials

  • For non-profit organizations or ensembles applying with a fiscal sponsor: Most recent financial statement (audited, if available). If the applicant is an ensemble applying with a fiscal sponsor, submit the ensemble's financials, not those of the sponsor. This item is not necessary for individuals applying with a fiscal sponsor.
  • For non-profit organizations only: A list of members of the board and their principal affiliations.
  • For all applicants applying with a fiscal sponsor: A letter from the fiscal sponsor, on the sponsor’s letterhead, committing to take financial responsibility for the project, and the sponsor’s most recent audited financial statement.
  • For record companies or other distribution entities: A catalog of released recordings or a link to a web site on which a representative selection of recordings can be viewed. (Note: Record labels that have previously received funding from the Recording Program do not need to submit this information. Established national or international retail entities such as iTunes, Amazon, etc., are also exempt.)
  • Foreign applicants should include an English translation of all official documents submitted and should send financial figures in US dollars.

Application Cycle and Deadline

  • November 15, 2022: Preliminary Round deadline
  • February 15, 2023: Preliminary Round notification via e-mail; invitation to apply
  • March 31, 2023: Full Application Deadline

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in or about June 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 strongly encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions before starting an application. 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)

See lists of grantees from previous rounds

Updated January 10, 2022

Recording Program FAQs

We would like to apply, but the composer has not finished the piece yet. May we apply with a sketch?

Only works that are complete by the time of the full application deadline (March 31) are eligible for support.

I am an individual or an ensemble applying with a fiscal sponsor. Whose information do I use to create the account?

Individuals or ensembles applying with a fiscal sponsor should create the account using their own contact information, not that of the fiscal sponsor.

Our project includes the music of American and non-American composers. May we apply?

Yes, but only the music by American composers would be eligible for support.

How likely is it that my proposal will be funded?

On average, fewer than 15% of applications are successful in the Recording Program. In recent years there have been an average of 125 preliminary applications per grant round and an average of 18 grantee projects per grant round. 

My recording will be distributed digitally online. May I apply?

Yes. Recordings that will be distributed primarily or solely digitally, whether by download or streaming, are eligible. For all projects distributed digitally, grantees will be required to post liner notes and credits on an appropriate page of their web sites and to provide a permanent copy of the funded recording for the Fund’s archive.

I am an individual (performer or composer) seeking funding for my recording project. (Or, I represent an ensemble without non-profit status.) Can I (we) apply?

Individuals (and ensembles without non-profit status) may not apply directly, but 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.

Alternatively, individuals (and ensembles without non-profit status) may request that their record company apply for the project directly. For the Recording Program, record companies may be either non-profit or commercial.

Does the Fund support archival recordings?
Recordings intended purely for archival or study purposes are not supported.
I am an individual and I run my own record company. May I apply?

In order to be considered a commercial record company for the Fund's purposes, your company must have a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) and a business checking account in your company's name. In addition, you will be responsible for completing annual IRS expenditure responsibility forms if you are awarded a grant.

We see that only 15 minutes of audio samples are required. May we submit more than that?

Due to the enormous amount of music under review, we can only allow 15 minutes of audio samples per application. Each example may be of any length, but the total timing of all submitted examples must not exceed 15 minutes. If an application includes more than 15 minutes of audio examples, panelists will be instructed to review only the first 15 minutes of examples.

May we apply for more than one project per round?

Because this program is extremely competitive, the Fund will not accept multiple proposals in the same round from organizations other than recording companies. Recording companies are limited to 3 proposals per round.

Please also see the General FAQs.
When will award decisions be announced?

Award decisions will be announced on or about June 30 of the application year. Please do not contact the Fund for updates about grant decisions.

What should we submit for the project rationale?

This should be the place where you “make the case” for funding your project. Explain why you have chosen to record the proposed works, the significance of your recording, the quality and appropriateness of the performers and recording personnel, and any other information that would assist the panel in its review.

Our project will be ready for release before the Fund announces award decisions in June. May we apply?

As long as the recording has not been released by the time of the full application deadline (March 31), you are eligible to apply. We understand that some projects may be released before funding decisions are announced.

We are only requesting support for some of the works on the total project (other works have been funded). How do we address this with our works list, samples and budget?

It is not necessary to list the works for which you are not requesting support in the Works to Be Recorded section, nor is it necessary to provide scores or audio samples for these works. Please mention these works briefly in your proposal narrative so that the review panel fully understands the context of the project.

We prefer to see the budget for the entire project, but you may decide to either provide us with the full budget or an abbreviated budget that only covers the works for which you are requesting support. Indicate which of these two options you have chosen in the Notes section of the budget form.