This application cycle is currently closed.

About the Program

Performance Plus provides grants to U.S. based gender minority and women-led jazz ensembles to engage an experienced jazz artist-educator for six evaluative listening sessions with the goal of enhancing the ensemble’s performance. The listening sessions will culminate in a recording session resulting in a high-quality demo for use by the grantee ensemble. 

The Board of Directors of Chamber Music America has made diversity, inclusion, and equity a primary focus of the organization’s work. CMA’s goal in this program is, through the panel review process, to arrive at a final slate of grantees that is representative of the field in terms of race and style of jazz. Read CMA’s Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.

A component of the Doris Duke Jazz Ensembles Project, Performance Plus is funded by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.

For more info contact: Susan Dadian, Associate Director of Grant Programs,



Only ensembles may apply to this program. An ensemble is eligible if it

  • is a professional gender minority and women-led jazz ensemble;
  • is based in the U.S., its territories or Indian country, consists of 2-10 professional musicians; and the leader is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident;
    • student groups are not eligible;
  • includes improvisation as an integral part of composition and performance;
  • Is a current organizational-level CMA member;
  • has no overdue reports or financial obligations to CMA.


The bandleader must be a gender minority or woman-identifying professional jazz musician with a core ensemble consisting of 2-10 musicians. While there is no age restriction, applicants cannot have previously received major awards, commissions, prizes, or other types of institutional recognition.


The artist-educator must be an accomplished jazz bandleader with demonstrated experience in performance, composing, arranging, instruction, and recording. They must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. 

CMA has compiled a database of jazz artists who are recognized in the field for their creative practice and service and have expressed interest in partnering with applicants to this program as artist-educators. Applicants may contact one of these artists or apply with an artist-educator of their choice. 

Note: Grant funds do not include travel subsidies for the ensemble/artist-educator.

Application Documents


Emi Makabe; photo courtesty of the artist

Performance Plus Frequently Asked Questions

What is an artist-educator?

An artist-educator is an accomplished jazz bandleader with demonstrated experience in performance, recording, touring, composing, arranging, and instruction. They must be a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S.

I’m seeking funds to cover recording costs for a new release. Is the Performance Plus program a good fit?

​​No. Performance Plus offers support only for a demo recording of the work that has been rehearsed at the listening sessions with the artist-educator.

We are a newly formed ensemble and do not have any high-quality audio samples. Can we apply?

Audio samples are required to apply. You can feature music from a live concert, studio/home recording, and/or a commercial release.

Do the musicians recorded on Ensemble Audio Samples 1 and 2 have to be exactly the same as those in the application?

Each of the two audio samples should feature all ensemble members listed on the Performance Plus program application. If that is not possible, then each sample should feature a majority of the members listed in the application.

Does our ensemble need fiscal sponsorship or to be registered as a non-profit to apply?

Non-profit status/fiscal sponsorship is not required for ensembles to apply.

Who receives the payment if we are awarded a grant?

Performance Plus grant funds are disbursed to the bandleader, unless the ensemble has established itself as a nonprofit organization or another business entity, in which case grant payments are made to the organization/business. The leader is responsible for distributing the funds to the other ensemble musicians and artist-educator, as well as expenses associated with the demo recording, collecting payment receipts and/invoices, and filing a final report upon the completion of grant activities.