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Fall 2015 Project Grants Awards

February 1, 2016


New Music USA project grants focus on responsiveness to artists’ needs, skill-building in the creative marketplace, and public exploration of new artistic work

February 1, 2016

New Music USA announced today its fifth round of project grants awards, totaling $276,770 in funding to support artistic work involving a wide range of new American music. The 53 awarded projects include concerts and recordings as well as dance, theater, opera, and more, all involving contemporary music as an essential element. Awarded projects from all five rounds can be discovered, explored and followed by the public via media-rich project pages.

To date, an additional $33,000 over our program’s original budget was made available through the actions of New Music Connect: The Network for Friends of New Music. This additional investment adds support to projects qualified for funding as part of our grant program’s panel process. New Music Connect is designed to connect and engage individuals from across the United States to advocate for and empower the new music field.

In response to feedback from artists who were surveyed following the two inaugural rounds of the program, the fifth round continued to include a special focus on requests of $3,000 and below. Approximately 47% of grants awarded were in this category. The next round of project grants will open for requests in March 2016, and decisions will be announced before July 2016.

Including the awards announced today, New Music USA’s project grants program, launched in October 2013, has now distributed $1,482,340 in support of 283 projects. Of these projects, 139 were for the creation of new work. 117 of the project grants awardees are first-time recipients of grants from New Music USA and its legacy organizations Meet The Composer and the American Music Center. The public-facing gallery of projects from all five rounds and the ability for artists to update their progress and interact with followers are important promotional tools that extend the program’s service to artists beyond financial support. The overarching goal of project grants is to reach and aggregate the communities of new music enthusiasts, irrespective of genre preferences, and allow the public to discover new artistic work.

Ed Harsh, president and CEO, comments: “We continue to be amazed and humbled by the incredible array of great projects brought to us by artists around the USA. We’re committed to doing everything we can to increase the amount of money we’re able to distribute in support of this groundswell of meaningful work.”  


New Music USA formed in November 2011 from the merger of the American Music Center and Meet The Composer with a mandate to increase the audience for new American music. New Music USA’s endowments include an $11.25 million corpus for grantmaking supplemented by support from a number of generous annual funders.

The approach to consolidating five of the legacy organizations’ grantmaking programs was driven by two core convictions. First, that the best way to serve new music is to ask practitioners what they need rather than tell them what they should want. Second, that the process for requesting financial support should be simple and should help artists and audiences connect.


Instead of filling out a traditional grant application, applicants for New Music USA project grants create a simple project page on newmusicusa.org complete with work samples and project information. The guidelines to applicants are indicative of a flexible and responsive approach. Project pages remain invisible to the public through the course of the review and decision process. Only awarded projects are made public.


Projects are evaluated through a peer review process. The fifth round involved 48 panelists working remotely online around the country. In general, the number of panelists is determined by the number of applications received so that each application is reviewed by at least three panelists. Panelists are assigned to projects based on eight project categories chosen by project creators as part of the application process.

The review process includes two stages: first an artistic review based on the submitted work samples, then a more in-depth review of the project for those that rated well in the artistic stage. The second stage criteria for evaluating projects are:

  • Artistry – as demonstrated by examples of past and/or present work
  • Impact – as defined by positive effect of the project on communities and participating artists
  • Capacity – as defined by the ability to execute the project as proposed


Over the past year and a half, project grants has succeeded in building a community of more than 10,000 artists and project followers who are registered and active on newmusicusa.org. By creating a user account, anyone can experience the development of creative work firsthand. Throughout the term of the funded projects and beyond, artists are able to add media and updates to their project pages, which are then shared with followers via email as well as on the website, according to stated user preferences. Exploring, listening to, and connecting with compelling music makers—and sharing those discoveries with friends—is easier than ever.


New Music USA is devoted to fostering the creation, dissemination, and enjoyment of new American music. New Music USA places special emphasis on broadening the public community for the music and musicians whom we serve.

Advocacy in the broadest sense is at the heart of all of New Music USA’s work. It is inherent in the work of the online magazine NewMusicBox and radio station Counterstream, in all of New Music USA’s grantmaking activity—which distributes more than one million dollars each year to the field—and in New Music USA’s role as a key voice in the national and international scenes.

“Should we go?” 10 Hairy Legs World Premiere Duet by Tiffany Mills set to Peter Whitehead Composition · 12th Annual Carlsbad Music Festival · 2016 LCCMF Young Composer Seminar Commission · Adams @ 70: Celebrating Music of our Time · American Notes: Harold Meltzer and Jessie Montgomery · Amy Briggs: Piano Etudes of David Rakowski, Vol. 4 · Appeasing Radhika* · Artist Engagement Residency at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago · Blue Streak Ensemble performs 12 concerts* · Borders* · CARIBOU (working title)* · Chaconne: a New Work for String Quartet by Fred Lerdahl · Chamber Dance Project Project* · Chimera: New work for five-string baroque cello by Ken Ueno · City Boy: Music of Judd Greenstein · City of Glass* · COLOR THEORY: SAXOPHONES AND PERCUSSION · Connecting Hamburg and Louisiana with Christopher Trapani* · Cuatro Corridos – A Chamber Opera* · Death With Interruptions – bringing a new opera to new audiences · Digital Streaming of “SONiC: Sounds of a New Century” · DREAM SEMINAR/DRÖMSEMINARIUM* · Ecstatic Music Festival 2016 · Eko Nova – premiere season · FAMILY TREE – STREET SCENES · FIVE · Galileo · Hydrogen(2)Oxygen* · Ken Ueno: Throat-singing, orchestra, and a new work · L.A. Signal Lab: “Whisper & Howl”* · LIGNEOUS 4 • A NEW WORK FOR MARIMBA AND STRING QUARTET · Luke DuBois Artist Residency and Installation · MASON: a debut album* · MEGA-ORGAN: the interactive improvisation space · Mill Town Memories · New works for flute and piano: collaboration, commission, and concert tour* · Newark in Tune* · Petite Afrique: The Other Black in Harlem* · Resonant Bodies Festival 2015* · RIFT · Six Perspectives on Latin America* · Somewhere in the Upstream · Studio Recording and Performances of Golijov’s Azul and Other Works with Yo-Yo Ma · The Black Iris Project* · The Click! Commission: Hannah Lash · The Garden of Diverging Paths · The Grey Land · The Propelled Heart’ World Premiere with Lisa Fischer · The Rendezvous* · The Set Up: Saya Lei* · Tod Dockstader: From the Archives* · Traces

*indicates first-time awardee


Harrison Bankhead, Chicago, IL · Dan Becker, San Francisco, CA · Suzanne Bocanegra, New York, NY · Samantha Boshnack, Seattle, WA · Stephen Burns, Chicago, IL · Brian Chin, Seattle, WA · Anthony Cornicello, West Hartford, CT · Brent Michael Davids, Bowler, WI · Mario Diaz de Leon, New York, NY · Cornelius Eady, Columbia, MO · Jennifer Edwards, Pittsburgh, PA · Marti Epstein, Cambridge, MA · Katie Faulkner, Alameda, CA · Ellen Fullman, Berkeley, CA · Orlando Jacinto Garcia, Miami, FL · Janice Garrett, Oakland, CA · Gina Gibney, New York, NY · Sara Graef, Portland, OR · Nathan Hanson, St. Paul, MN · Stephen Hartke, Oberlin, OH · Geoffrey Hudson, Pelham, MA · Jenny Olivia Johnson, Somerville, MA · Galen Joseph-Hunter, Acra, NY · Daniel Kellogg, Boulder, CO · Michael Korie, New Haven, CT · Robert Kyr, Portland, OR · William Lackey, Columbia, MO · Sasha Leitman, San Francisco, CA · Erica Lindsay, Rosendale, NY · David Ludwig, Philadelphia, PA · Rudresh Mahanthappa, Montclair, NJ · Lou Mallozzi, Chicago, IL · Gesel Mason, Boulder, CO · Lisa Mezzacappa, Berkeley, CA · John Musto, New York, NY · Eric Nathan, Providence, RI · Kevin Noe, Lansing, MI · Forrest Pierce, Lawrence, KS · Jacob Richman, Providence, RI · Steven Ricks, Provo, UT · Pierre Ruhe, Atlanta, GA · Laurie San Martin, Davis, CA · Carl Schimmel, Grinnell, IA · D.J. Sparr, Lubbock, TX · Mimi Stillman, Philadelphia, PA · Dan Tepfer, Brooklyn, NY · Spencer Topel, Hanover, NH · Clara Yang, Chapel Hill, NC


(Chosen by project organizer)

Dance (17)

Electronics (13)

Interdisciplinary (20)

Jazz (9)

Recording (23)

Large Ensemble (15)

Small Ensemble (20)

Theater (10)