Aaron Copland Fund for Music: Grants for Music

OVERVIEW: The Aaron Copland Fund for Music operates three grant programs for the purpose of encouraging and improving the public knowledge and appreciation of contemporary American music by living or recently deceased American composers. This includes presenting organizations, ensembles, choruses, recording projects, festivals, and other projects meant to preserve and continue the traditions of contemporary American musical forms.

IP TAKE: The Aaron Copland Fund for Music’s three grantmaking programs are focused strictly on the works of contemporary American composers of classical and jazz music.

PROFILE: The Aaron Copland Fund for Music seeks to “encourage and improve knowledge and appreciation of contemporary American music,” which it defines as music from living or recently deceased composers with U.S. citizenship. It will consider works written within the last century, but it primarily supports work by living American classical and jazz composers or those who died after 1980. Popular music is not considered in their programs. Copland funds three grants programs: Performance, Recording, and Supplemental.

The fund's Recording Program grants intend to "document and provide wider exposure for the music of contemporary American composers," to develop audiences through distribution of performances in physical retail markets and online media, 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."

Applications are accepted from non-profit professional performance ensembles, presenting institutions, and recording companies (either non-profit or commercial). Students, non-professionals, and projects sponsored by universities are not eligible. Around 30 grants are awarded each year and range from around $4,000 to around $12,000. Past grantees include Albany Records ($4,000), Los Angeles Jazz Society ($6,000), and Wet Ink Ensemble ($12,000). Deadlines are at the beginning of the year in January. Grants may not exceed $20,000 and will not normally cover more than 50% of the total project budget. Applicants must first submit a letter of inquiry.

The Performance Program seeks to "support performing organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of serious contemporary American music." These grants fund general operating support or project support for "professional performing ensembles with a history of substantial commitment to contemporary American music and with plans to continue that commitment."

Applicants must have non-profit, tax-exempt status, have a performance history of at least two years at the time of application, and have a "demonstrated commitment to contemporary American music." Some 110 grants are given out each year, ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 to places like Afro Jazz Alliance ($5,000), Dallas Wind Symphony ($2,000), and the Young People's Chorus of New York City ($6,000). Deadlines are set in June each year.

The Supplemental Program seeks to support the needs of non-profit organizations that are not addressed in the Fund's other two grant programs. This includes presenters, festivals, recording projects, and music service organizations, among others. Far fewer of these grants are given each year with amounts that vary widely. These grants are specifically tailored to the needs of each organization. Deadlines are at the end of October each year.

New grantseekers should check the full list of past grantees to get a better idea of the types of programs Copland funds.

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