The Program’s Objectives
- To document and provide wider exposure for the music of contemporary American composers
- To develop audiences for contemporary American music through distribution of recorded performances in physical and online media
- To support the production of new recordings of contemporary American music and the reissuance of significant recordings that are no longer available
Who is eligible
Proposals may be submitted by non-profit professional performance ensembles, presenting institutions and non-profit or commercial recording companies. 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 shall 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 for a Recording Program grant, unless the applicant has received a written waiver from the Fund. Please address inquiries to the Grants Manager.
Because this program is extremely competitive, the Fund will not accept multiple proposals in the same round from organizations other than recording companies.
What is eligible
The Fund favors first recordings. However, reissues of significant recordings are eligible only if the music is not available from any other sources, such as ArkivMusic, Amazon, or other internet services 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 Copland Fund does not support the reissuance of projects initially supported by the Fund.
The Fund is interested primarily in supporting recordings of works by living American composers and those who are recently deceased. The Fund favors works that were composed more recently. For other projects, please contact the Grants Manager.
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.
Compositions for the proposed recording must be completed by the application deadline.
Grants will not be made for the purpose of commissions to composers.
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:
- 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
- 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:
- studio time
- producer and engineer fees
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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
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 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.
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.
- It will be necessary to submit your Supporting Materials only once.
- Record companies may submit up to 5 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:
- 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.
- Federal tax ID number (all American applicants, whether non-profit or commercial)
- 3-year financial summary
- Distribution plans, record label, project release date, and quantity of first pressing (if physical copies).
- Budget form (download here). You must save data typed into the form using Adobe Acrobat Reader for PC or Mac. Note: Do not use Apple Preview to complete this form, because your data may not calculate or display properly.
- For all works to be recorded, the composer name, 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.
- A brief biography and list of major works of the composer(s) whose music is to be recorded.
- A brief biography (maximum one paragraph) of, and a list of (or link to) contemporary repertoire performed in each of the last two years by the performer(s) and each soloist proposed for the recording. For ensembles, submit the bio and repertoire for the ensemble, not the individual musicians.
- If the project is a 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.
Scores: Please submit one complete score for each work on the proposed project, in PDF format.
When a score corresponds with an audio example (see below), clearly mark the page of the PDF at which the listening example begins.
Audio examples (All audio excerpts should be continuous, uncut excerpts):
Please submit 3-to-5 minute audio excerpts, as follows:
- For each composer, submit up to three contrasting samples of music to be recorded that you feel most fairly represent the works on the project
- For a project of the works of three or more composers: Submit up to a maximum of five samples of which each sample should be music of a different composer. The samples should fairly represent the range of works on the project
- Please note that for your proposal to be eligible, you must submit an audio sample of the performers who will record this project regardless of what other samples are submitted. For multiple performers, submit one sample per performer/ensemble to a maximum of three. If your repertoire samples are by one or more of the performers who will record the project, you need submit additional samples only for those performers on the project who do not appear on your repertoire samples, to a maximum of three performer samples (including those that are also repertoire samples)
For each proposed work, audio excerpts should be one of the following, in descending order of preference:
- the final master of the proposed work
- 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
- recording of the proposed work performed by different performers than proposed for the project*
- a demo of the proposed work (such as a MIDI realization or a performance of the piano reduction)*
- 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 (if this work is performed by performers other than those proposed for the project, see *)
*for options 3 through 5, an additional 3-to-5 minute example of the proposed performers must also be submitted (please submit separately)
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.
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).
- 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 applicants who are 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: It is not necessary to provide this for record labels that have previously received funding or established national or international retail entities such as iTunes, Amazon.com, etc.
- Foreign applicants should include an English translation of all official documents submitted and should send financial figures in US dollars.
Please save your work often
The deadline for applications for each calendar year is 11:59 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on January 15. 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 your question is not answered there, please contact the Grants Manager prior to the time of application.
Updated November 17, 2015
See lists of grantees from previous rounds