Classical Commissioning Program
Grants to ensembles and presenters for commissions of new Western European and/or non-Western classical and contemporary chamber works by American composers.
Information for the next application cycle will be available in early 2024.
For 2023 program details, please see below.
Chamber Music America’s Classical Commissioning Program provides grants to professional U.S.-based presenters and ensembles whose programming includes Western European and/or non-Western classical and contemporary music. Grants are provided for the commissioning and performance of new works by American composers. The program supports works scored for 2–10 musicians performing one per part, composed in any of the musical styles associated with contemporary classical music.
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The Board of Directors of Chamber Music America has made diversity, inclusion, and equity a primary focus of the organization’s work, and has adopted the acronym ALAANA (African/Black, Latinx, Asian/South Asian, Arab/Middle Eastern, and Native American) for use in its equity focus. Read CMA’s Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.
Women and ALAANA composers have historically been under-represented as Classical Commissioning program grantees. To help applicants become familiar with these artists, CMA has compiled a database of ALAANA, women, and gender non-conforming composers who have expressed interest in creating new work for classical/contemporary chamber ensembles. View the Composers Equity Project resource.
CMA’s goal, through its panel process, is to arrive at a final slate of grantees whose composers are representative of the field in terms of race, gender and contemporary style. Applicants are presented anonymously to panelists who, through multiple rounds, review submitted sound samples only, and make their selections without knowing the identities or demographics of the ensembles and composers.
Commissions are funded by The Mellon Foundation. Additional program support is provided by the Aaron Copland Fund for Music, the Amphion Foundation, the Alice M. Ditson Fund of Columbia University, and the Chamber Music America Endowment Fund.
For more info contact: Susan Dadian, Associate Director of Grant Programs, firstname.lastname@example.org
Current Grant Department Office Hours:
- Tuesday: 1 PM- 3PM
- Wednesday: 10AM – 12PM
An ensemble is eligible if:
- it is a professional group with a commitment to Western European or non-Western contemporary classical music (as demonstrated on a submitted work sample)
- it consists of fixed personnel and instrumentation or is part of a flexible roster or a collective that performs in varying configurations of no more than 10
- in the case of a duo, performs as equal partners, rather than as soloist and accompanist, and consistently publicizes itself as a duo
- the leader/primary member of the ensemble is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident (non-profit status is not required of ensembles)
A presenter is eligible if it
- is a 501(c)(3) organization or otherwise eligible for charitable contributions for federal income, estate and gift-tax purposes
- presents classical, contemporary, other music genres, and/or multi-disciplinary performing arts programs
Presenters and Ensembles
- must be based in the U.S. or its territories
- must be CMA Organization-level members, membership must be current through June 2023
- must have no overdue reports or outstanding financial obligations to CMA
- must have completed any previous CMA commissioning project before re-applying
If the applicant is an ensemble, they may not also be on a presenter’s submission or be a guest on another group’s application. An ensemble or a composer may be on one application in either CMA’s 2023 Classical Commissioning or New Jazz Works program, but not both. A presenter may submit only one application; the ensemble on their submission must also be a current CMA Organization-level member.
Eligibility: The Composer
- must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident
- may not have outstanding commitments to this commissioning program, or to New Jazz Works
- may be a member of the applicant’s ensemble
- is an individual, not a group
Frequently Asked Questions
U.S.-based ensembles and U.S.-based not-for-profit presenters are eligible to apply.
No, only ensembles, or presenters working with ensembles, may apply.
Yes, the composer must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. Those that have applications in process are not eligible.
Non-profit status is required of presenter applicants but not of ensembles.
No, CMA does not make payments to fiscal sponsors; rather, payments are made to the ensemble contact person that is administering the grant award.
If an ensemble does not have non-profit status, the group must designate one person who will manage the grant and receive payments. If a presenter or an ensemble has non-profit status, the payments are made to the organization.
Yes, the designated contact person who manages the grant is responsible for filing appropriate tax forms. CMA issues a 1099 form for grantees’ tax reporting.
An ensemble applicant must be a CMA member at the Organization level through June 2023. Likewise, presenter applicants must have an Organization-level membership, as well as the ensemble with which they are applying; membership must be current through June 20223 for both entities. CMA membership is not required of the composer.
CMA has compiled a database of ALAANA, women, and gender non-conforming composers who have expressed interest in creating new work for classical/contemporary chamber ensembles. The Composers Equity Project database can be found on CMA’s website.
Composers are welcome to submit their information at this link. Updates are made throughout the year.
No, it is not required; the Composer Equity Project database is available as a resource for researching composers.
No, CMA will only consider applications designating one individual as the composer.
No, CMA requires the composition of an entirely new piece.
You must complete your current project. However, if your composer has finished their commission and has submitted the score to CMA, they are eligible to be part of a 2023 grant application.
If your ensemble or if your commissioned composer has an open New Jazz Works grant, you may not apply to Classical Commissioning. However, current Ensemble Forward, Artistic Projects, Performance Plus or Presenter Consortium for Jazz grantees are welcome to apply, as long as they have a current Organization-level CMA membership and meet all the program criteria.
The new piece must be complete, and the score submitted to CMA in digital copy by September 30, 2024
A minimum of three public performances of the work for a live concert audience must take place by June 2026. CMA requires booking confirmation of the premiere by February 1, 2025.
No, the concerts must be open to the public.
Yes, selections from commercially released recordings are eligible.
At least one of the ensemble’s audio files must be from a live concert recording. The other selection may be from a commercially released recording.
Yes, one Score Sample (pdf only) for Composer Audio 1 and one Score Sample for Ensemble Audio 1 must be accompanied by a relevant section of the printed score or graphic notation. Score Samples must be uploaded to the online application. Please remove or delete any identifying information about the composer or work title in each upload.
No, videos are not accepted, as the adjudication process is done solely by listening to the audio samples. CMA accepts mp3 and m4a audio files only.
The recording may include varying configurations of the collective or roster, but at least 50 percent of the musicians that will perform the proposed commission must appear on each audio file. The ensemble size of each sample may not exceed 10 musicians.
CMA prefers works for small ensembles, so that the panel may hear how the composer writes for this form. However, if the composer has no recordings of small ensemble writing, other types of works are accepted.
No, an independent peer-review panel—musicians, composers and presenters with broad experience in new music—reviews the applications. Representative list of recent panelists.
- Use “Save Draft” to save your work in the online form and return to it at another time.
- Click “Submit” once you have answered all application questions and uploaded all required documents. You must submit on or before the deadline.
No, once you “submit” your application, your application is locked.
Yes, you will receive an email confirming receipt of your application.
CMA reviews the applications and contacts applicants with any questions or concerns regarding the application.
Applicants will be notified by the end of June 2023.
Contact Susan Dadian, associate director of grant programs. email@example.com
CMA collects data on race and ethnicity in connection to grant programs and applications; membership; and surveys with partner organizations, like funding partners. As such, CMA has developed a set of standards for keeping, collecting, and presenting data on race and ethnicity that aim to provide consistency in collecting and using this type of data.
These standards have been developed in accordance with data collection standards by other groups such as CMA’s funders, federal agencies, and agencies that track race and ethnicity data.