A Closer Look at Chamber Music America's Classical Commissioning Program

The last time we came across Chamber Music America (CMA), it was accepting submissions for an ambitious residency partnership program. We found the program intriguing because it sought simultaneously to build audiences across the fields of classical/contemporary, jazz, and world chamber music.

These audience-building activities included educational clinics, interactive classroom programs, and lectures and demonstrations in libraries, hospitals, senior centers, social service organizations, youth clubs, and similar venues. The program underscored CMA's holistic approach to the creation of new work. After all, new works are great, but when there's a cultivated local audience nearby to actually hear the work, everyone wins.

We can expect more CMA-procured work in the future as the organization recently announced a new funding opportunity for American composers to create new chamber works.

The opportunity, supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund, comes in the form of grants slated to pay for commissioning fees—these range from $5,000 to $20,000—copying costs, and ensemble rehearsal honoraria for U.S.-based classical ensembles, presenters, and festivals. 

Compositions must be written for small ensembles (two to 10 musicians) performing one to a part, and may represent a "diverse musical spectrum, including contemporary art music, world music, and works that include electronics." The new composition must be performed by at least three times in the U.S. and applicants must be CMA members at the "organization" level. 


The application form is available at the CMA's website here, although applications must be submitted in hardcopy. The application deadline is Friday, March 20th at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.