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Recording Program Preliminary Round

We are not accepting applications for Recording Program Preliminary Round at this time.

2024 Recording Program Preliminary Round Guidelines
Deadline: November 30, 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. Please review the full Recording Program Guidelines to ensure eligibility prior to beginning a Preliminary Round Application.

Program Objectives

To increase the public's knowledge of and appreciation for contemporary American concert music and contemporary jazz through the documentation and distribution of commercial recordings.

Application snapshot


Who is eligible?

Applicants must meet one of the following requirements:

  • 501(c)(3) non-profit status (or foreign equivalent); or
  • Fiscal sponsorship by an organization with 501(c)3 non-profit status; or
  • Be a Recording Company with a Federal Tax ID (EIN).

Eligible Applicant Types:

  • Performing Ensembles
  • Presenting Organizations
  • Recording Companies
  • Fiscally Sponsored Individuals

Recording companies may submit a maximum of three proposals. All other applicants may submit only one proposal.

What is eligible?

The Recording Program funds commercial recordings of contemporary (within the last 40 years) American concert music and contemporary jazz (see definitions in the Recording Program guidelines for more information). First recordings are preferred.

Recording projects must meet all of the following requirements:

  • Unreleased prior to the Recording Program Application deadline;
  • Professionally produced and distributed;
  • A recording of a work that is complete by the time of application

All works to be included in the proposal must be completed at the time of the application—works in progress are not eligible.

NOTE: 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.

What is not eligible?

The Recording Program does not fund the following:

  • Recordings of works outside the field of American concert music and jazz; this includes commercial, pop, Broadway-style musical theater, sacred, holiday, and traditional concert band music.
  • Promotional and/or marketing materials
  • Archival recordings
  • Live streaming activity (this activity may be funded by the Performance Program)
  • Proposals to record works that have not been completed at the time of application
  • Recordings made by student ensembles*
  • Recordings made by volunteer, community, and amateur ensembles*
  • Recordings released by educational institutions*
  • Composer commissioning fees and/or honoraria
  • Applicants with overdue or delinquent Recording Program projects (please contact the Grants Manager with any questions)

*Such organizations are not generally eligible but may apply if authorized in advance by the Grants Manager. Educational institutions may not apply for projects 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.

How to Apply

NOTE: This is the first part in a two-part application process. Please review the full eligibility requirements in the Recording Program Guidelines prior to beginning an application for the Preliminary Round.

If your organization does not already have an account:

You will need to create a new account. Please allow 3-5 business days for approval. 

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

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.  

Please DO NOT create duplicate accounts. If you are not sure whether your organization already has an account, please contact the Grants Manager.

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.

Preliminary Round applications should contain the following information. Please be as brief as possible. The Fund will not consider musical samples in the Preliminary Round.

  • Project Name: Album name or working title
  • Name of Record Label or Distributor
  • Project Release Date
  • Request Amount: (Note: Grants do not usually exceed $10,000 or more than 50% of the total cost of the project)
  • Total Cost of Project
  • Prior Recordings: Indicate whether any of the works have previously been recorded and released by anyone.
  • Repertoire: A complete list of works for which you are seeking funding, the composer, and the year of composition.
  • Personnel: A list of key project personnel, including soloists, guest artists, and ensembles with links to their websites, if available. Do not provide detailed biographies.
  • Project Summary: A brief description of the proposed project
  • Timetable: A detailed timeline for production, promotion, and distribution of the recording (a bulleted list is sufficient).

Review Procedures

Preliminary Round applications will be reviewed a panel of experts from the contemporary American concert music and jazz fields. 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

Applicants invited to submit a complete proposal will be notified on or around February 15, 2024. The deadline to submit a complete a Recording Program grant application will be on or around March 31, 2024.

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 2024 Recording Program. No other applications will be considered.

Application Cycle and Deadline

  • November 30, 2023: Preliminary Round deadline
  • February 15, 2024: Preliminary Round notification via e-mail; invitation to apply to the Recording Program
  • March 31, 2024: Invitation Application Deadline

All deadlines end at 11:59 pm Eastern Standard Time on the date specified.

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.


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)

Updated October 26, 2023

Should I Apply?

What is "contemporary concert music?"

The Fund considers music composed within the last 40 years to be contemporary. 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. (For more information, please review program guidelines.)

If the composer has not yet completed the piece we’re planning to record, may we apply for a Recording Program grant?

No. Please submit an application at a future date once the piece has been completed.

I am part of a consortium project. Can I apply for funding?

Possibly. Please contact the Grants Manager with your specific inquiry.

What is "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.

May I apply to the Recording Program if my recording will only be released digitally?

Yes. If your project is funded, you will be required to post liner notes and credits to your website and to send the Grants Manager a digital file of the recording and related materials as proof of completion.

Can I apply to the Fund as an individual?

Fiscally sponsored individuals may apply for support in the Recording Program only; the Fund does not accept applications from individuals (fiscally sponsored or otherwise) for the Performance Program or Supplemental Program.

Individuals may find other grant opportunities on Candid.

Our organization does not have non-profit status. Can we apply?

Yes, provided you obtain fiscal sponsorship from a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. Be sure to review program guidelines and application instructions to submit proper documentation.

Does the Fund give grants to arts organizations outside New York City?

Yes! Non-profit and fiscally sponsored organizations with eligible activity throughout the United States and internationally will be considered for funding from the Fund. Please note that organizations based outside the United States are only eligible for funding of works by American composers.

Will the Copland Fund consider funding for holiday or pops concerts?

No, but pops and holiday concerts will not have an adverse effect on your application if there is sufficient eligible contemporary concert music activity throughout your season.

Does the Fund support jazz music?

Yes, the Fund considers American jazz music composed within the last 40 years. (For more information, please review program guidelines.)

May I apply to more than one grant program?

Yes! Performing organizations (e.g. orchestras, choirs, chamber music groups, opera and dance companies, etc.) that are seeking funding for live performances should apply to the Performing Program. Applicants seeking funding for commercial recordings should apply to the Recording Program. Applicants seeking funding for non-performing activities should apply to the Supplemental Program.

NOTE: Performing organizations may also apply to the Supplemental Program only if they operate a discrete and substantial standalone program that qualifies for eligibility, and only with permission from the grants manager.

Does the Fund support musical theater?

No, Broadway-style musical theater projects are generally not supported. Opera and dance projects involving live performances of contemporary concert music are supported.

Does the Fund provide funding for community, volunteer, or amateur ensembles?

No. Due to the competitive nature of the Fund’s grant programs, community, volunteer, and amateur ensembles are generally not competitive for support. For specific inquiries, please inquire with the Grants Manager.

Does the Fund provide funding for educational institutions or initiatives?

No, educational institutions and organizations seeking funding for educational outreach may not apply for activities involving school-age students, student ensembles, or credit-bearing university activities. Such organizations may apply for performances or other eligible projects that involve professional musicians (including faculty).

Youth choruses that perform contemporary concert music specifically composed for children’s voices may be considered. Please inquire with the grants manager.

Does the Fund make grants for retroactive support?

The Performance and Supplemental Programs provide funding for programming that occurs between September of the current year through August of next year. The current programs provide funding for programming between September 1, 2023 and August 31, 2024. Activity that occurs before this period is no longer eligible. Activity that occurs after this period should be submitted as part of a future application.

The Recording Program provides funding for recordings that have not been released prior to the application deadline. The next Recording Program deadline is March 31, 2024. Recordings that will have been released before that date will no longer be eligible.

May I apply for more than one project per Recording Program grant round?

Commercial recording companies may submit up to three proposals per grant round. All other applicants are limited to one proposal per grant round.

Can I apply to the Fund for a commission?

No, the Fund does not provide grants for commissioning fees.