Performing Ensembles Program

The Program's Objective

To support performing organizations whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of serious contemporary American music.


Funds are available for 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 meet the following requirements:

  • Non-profit tax-exempt status.
  • Performance history of at least two years at the time of application.
  • Demonstrated commitment to contemporary American music.

It is advised that organizations whose programming (in terms of duration) for the preceding 2 seasons does not consist of at least 20% contemporary American music apply only for Project Support. Individuals, student ensembles, festivals and presenters without a core ensemble are not eligible. Grants will not be made for the purpose of commissioning composers. Requests from dance companies are eligible, but only for costs associated with live performances of music by contemporary American composers of concert music.

Project support will be given only for a project that begins in the current season. Thus, for the 2015 grant round, support will only be given to projects that begin between September 2015 and August 2016. Multi-year projects will be considered if they begin in the current season, but projects that have already begun generally will not be eligible for support.

Funding Provisions

In general, grants range from $1,000 to $20,000. Grant amounts for larger performing organizations with a demonstrated extraordinary commitment to contemporary American music may exceed these amounts at the discretion of the panel. Please note that the awarding of a grant in one year does not imply continuation of that support in subsequent years.

Review Procedures

Funding decisions will be made by a peer panel chosen by the Fund. The following criteria will be applied in evaluating grant proposals:

  • Artistic quality of the ensemble and its repertoire.
  • Commitment to the performance of contemporary American music over a substantial period of time.
  • Demonstrated financial ability to carry a season or project to completion.

Please be advised that the panel may consult an applicant’s web site, social media accounts, and other publicly available information as a means to verify information contained within a proposal.

How to Apply

If your organization does not already have an account on our site:

You will need to create a new account. We will approve new accounts as quickly as possible, but please allow one business day for approval.

If your organization already has an account on our site:

Log in here. Then click on the "Start a New Application" button at the top of this page to begin the online application process. You may work on your proposal and save it as you go along. It is not necessary to complete the application in one session. You will need to supply the following information:

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. 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.
  • Federal tax ID number
  • 3-year financial snapshot

Applicant Information 

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


  • Indicate the amount and type of support (general operating or project support) requested, and purpose of the request.
  • If project support is requested, please provide a description of the project, a breakdown of the project costs, and sources of income.
  • History of the performing organization and information on the principal artistic personnel.
  • 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 round: 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 performed by the ensemble and recorded within the two performance seasons immediately prior to the application date (i.e, for the 2015 round, within the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 seasons). Each recording should be between 3 and 5 minutes in length (excerpts are acceptable).
  • Please submit recordings of live performances and not edited studio sessions unless no live recordings are available. Musical examples should demonstrate the performance quality of the core members of the ensemble playing together in representative repertoire, rather than feature extended soloistic passages.
  • For each recording submitted, provide the title of the work, names of the composer and performer(s) and date of the performance.
  • For 1 of the 3 recordings a score in PDF format must be supplied, and must be marked at the point at which listening is to begin. If you cannot acquire a PDF score of any of your examples, please contact the Grants Manager for advice.
  • If project support is being requested for the work of a particular composer(s), please include a recording of a representative sample of the work of that composer(s), even if the recording is by performers other than the applicant ensemble.
  • For opera and ballet projects, the Fund strongly encourages, but does not require, video work samples of the company, any choreographer and the project’s director. Video samples should involve contemporary music.

Supporting Materials

  • A list of all performances and repertoire in the year for which support is being requested (the Support Year*), the current year, and the previous year. This should amount to three consecutive years of information. Works by American composers should be indicated. Please include timings of works. 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

*The Support Year will be your 2015-16 performance season, which in many cases will coincide with your 2016 fiscal year. If your performance season and fiscal year do not coincide, please indicate this in the application. In any event, please submit financial information for the Support Year and the two years immediately preceding the Support Year.


Application Deadline

The deadline for applications for each calendar year is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on June 30. Applicants will be notified of funding decisions in or about November 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 first encouraged to read the Frequently Asked Questions. If your question is not answered there, please contact the Grants Manager prior to the time of application.

Telephone: 212-461-6956

Updated for the 2015 round: April 24, 2015

See lists of grantees from previous rounds