Chamber Music America’s Performance Plus program recognizes the contributions and diversity of perspectives that U.S.-based gender minorities and women bring to the field of jazz. The program provides grants to U.S.-based gender minority and women-led jazz ensembles to engage an experienced jazz coach for six coaching sessions with the goal of further developing the ensemble’s performance. The coaching sessions will culminate in a recording session resulting in a high-quality demo for use by the jazz 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 racial diversity, as well as the aesthetic range of jazz. Read about CMA’s Commitment to Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity.


An ensemble is eligible if: 

  • it is a professional gender minority and women-led jazz ensemble consisting of 2-10 musicians that includes improvisation as an integral part of composition and performance. (The ensemble bandleader must be a gender minority or woman-identifying professional jazz musician);  
  • it is based in the U.S., Indian Country, or U.S. territories; 
  • the ensemble bandleader is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident; 
  • the ensemble bandleader or the ensemble have no overdue reports or financial obligations to CMA 
  • the bandleader must be a CMA member at the individual membership level or the ensemble must be a CMA organization-level member at time of application; 


  • The coach 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.  

Current primary contacts/bandleaders for New Jazz Works and Artistic Projects grants cannot apply.  

If needed, applicants can consult with CMA staff for recommendations. Applicants are still responsible for choosing their coach. CMA does not assign coaches. 


A Performance Plus grant is made up of the following components: 

  1. Ensemble Coaching Sessions Payment: Funding of $200 per ensemble musician for each of the six coaching sessions with the Coach. (Total of $2,400 for a duo to $12,000 for a 10-member ensemble). Ensemble members must be present for the sessions. Sessions must be completed by March 31, 2025.
  2. Coach Payment: Payment of $500 for the Coach for each of the six coaching sessions with the ensemble. Sessions must be a minimum of 90 minutes. (Total of $3,000 for six coaching sessions.)
  3. Demo Recording: Funding ($6,500) must be used for recording a demo of only the works rehearsed in sessions with the coach. Demo recording must be completed by September 30, 2025.
  4. Consultations with CMA Staff: Check-ins with CMA staff on the group’s progress throughout the grant cycle.

Note: Grant funds do not include travel subsidies for the ensemble or the coach. 


Performance Plus applications are reviewed by an independent panel of professional jazz musicians; CMA staff and board do not participate in the deliberations (Representative list of previous CMA panelists).

Written Application 

The panel will review: 

  • why and how the coaching sessions will benefit the ensemble at this stage in its career; 
  • why the ensemble has chosen a particular coach and its plan for working with them; 
  • proposed timeline for the coaching sessions and the studio recording. Include the months, city, and state where coaching sessions will take place.

Audio Review 

  • Ensemble audio samples are evaluated for artistic and technical strength, and cohesiveness of the ensemble in performing scored and improvised music. 


If awarded, the bandleader must serve as the primary contact for the grant.   

They will be responsible for:  

  • serving as the grant contact for CMA; 
  • providing government issued documentation as proof of their U.S. citizenship or permanent resident status; 
  • U.S. citizenship or permanent residence confirmation for their coach; 
  • scheduling the coaching sessions;  
  • studio documentation for the demo recording; 
  • receiving and managing the grant funds;
  • filing the interim and final report (reports must be submitted for grantees to remain in good standing with CMA). 

Grant funds will be disbursed as follows: 

  • The full ensemble and coach payment disbursed after the signing of the CMA grant contract with the inclusion of required materials (proof of residency, bank information, etc.). 
  • The full demo recording payment is disbursed after receipt of the interim report.  

Grant funds are taxable income; grantees must comply with all applicable city, state, and federal laws, ordinances, codes, and regulations regarding the reporting of grant funds. 


CMA uses the online application platform Submittable. Go to to create a free Submittable account if you do not already have one. 

  • Complete the online form directly or draft your responses in an offline document as backup, then copy/paste your information into the online application. 
  • To save the work you have done on your application, you must click SAVE DRAFT at the bottom of the form before exiting.  
  • You can return to your saved application to continue working on it by following the log-in instructions. 
  • The application will close promptly at 11:59 PM ET on Thursday, February 1, 2024. Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications at least 24 hours in advance of the deadline to avoid any last-minute complications. 


Audio Uploads 

  • Two ensemble audio samples are required and must be uploaded to the online application. 
  • Samples can be up to 5 minutes each and feature works for small ensemble (2–10 musicians). 
  • Samples should demonstrate the ensemble’s performance level and must feature either the full ensemble or at least 50% of its musicians.* Include contrasting works, if possible.  
  • Soloistic works are not recommended. 
  • *A duo must submit works with both partners.* 
  • Only mp3 and/or m4a file types are accepted.  
  • Samples do not need to be of studio quality but should be clear and representative of the ensemble’s performance within the last two years.   

Audio Summary 

  • Instrumentation, track length, and cue times are required to guide the panel’s listening. 

Memorandum of Understanding 

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is a signed statement of intent and consent between the bandleader and proposed coach. The required MOU includes intended session dates, meeting location, and payment to the coach. A sample MOU can be downloaded below. 

Sample MOU: PDF or Word Document.

To submit an application 

  • Go to and click on “Performance Plus.” 
  • Complete all required fields, including text boxes, the Funding Request, and Audio Sample information.  
  • Prepare your audio samples and MOU attachment. 
  • Save audio files as: Ensemble Name-Audio 1 and Ensemble Name-Audio 2; acceptable file types: mp3, m4a.  
  • Upload the audio files and MOU to the application. 
  • When complete, sign and date your application. 
  • Click “Submit” to send application to CMA; you will receive a confirmation email.

Program Support: José Feliciano, Director of Grant Programs,

Technical Support: Submittable Help – For Submitters | Submittable

Application Deadline: Thursday, February 1, 2024, 11:59 PM ET

Late submissions will not be accepted. Applicants are encouraged to submit their applications 24-hours in advance of the deadline to avoid any last-minute complications.

CHAMBER MUSIC AMERICA, the national network of ensemble music professionals, was founded in 1977 to develop, strengthen, and support the chamber music community. With a membership including musicians, ensembles, presenters, artists’ managers, educators, music businesses, and advocates of ensemble music, CMA welcomes members representing a wide range of musical styles and traditions. In addition to its funding programs, CMA provides its members with consulting services, access to instrument insurances, conferences, seminars, and publications including Chamber Music magazine.

The mission of the DORIS DUKE FOUNDATION is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and child well-being, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties.