by Catherine Watts
Making a living as a musician can be difficult. A lot of aspiring musicians find it nearly impossible to make their dream of working full-time in the music industry a reality. Luckily, grant and fellowship opportunities offer musicians the financial resources they need to stay creative and keep performing. Although the competition for grants and fellowships is incredibly stiff, the rewards can be undeniably valuable.
Learn more about grants and fellowships opportunities for musicians below.
The Puffin Foundation has sought to open the doors of artistic expression. They have been providing grants for people who are inclined to arts. Mostly artists and art organizations who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy are their main focus.
New Music USA’s mission is to support and promote new music created in the United States. They do that in many ways, fostering connections, deepening knowledge, encouraging appreciation, and providing financial support. In recognition of the possibility and power inherent in the virtual world, we’ve worked to build a strong internet platform to serve our constituency. And that constituency is broad and diverse, from composers and performers to presenters and producers, casual listeners to die-hard fans. We’re truly committed to serving the WHOLE new music community.
Founded in 1917, American Theatre Wing provides grants and scholarships. Aside from that they also connect talent at all stages with educational and professional opportunities and create content that illuminates and preserves theatre. They also award excellence and foster artistry. They do this by providing a platform for strong and fearless voices in the American theatre.
Initiated in 1985 with the support of Jerome Foundation, Franklin Furnace has annually awarded grants to early career artists selected by a peer panel review to enable them to prepare major performance artworks in New York.
The Dena Epstein Award for Archival and Library Research in American Music was created through a generous endowment. It is from Morton and Dena Epstein to the Music Library Association in 1995. Grants are awarded to support research in archives or libraries internationally on any aspect of American music. There are no restrictions as to an applicant’s age, nationality, profession, or institutional affiliation. All proposals are reviewed entirely on the basis of merit.
The RMA offers a number of awards for musical scholarship, as well as conference affiliation (including financial assistance), and small grants for research students and scholars with no access to institutional support. Although awards and affiliation are available to all, grants are only available to RMA members.
Since 1998, The Rislov Foundation has awarded more than one million dollars to dozens of deserving and exceptional classical musicians, vocalists and organizations. The foundation awards exceptional classical musicians who demonstrate promise, including classical vocalists. Classical music is the emphasis.
Creative Capital supports innovative and adventurous artists across the country through funding, counsel, and career development services. Offers grants to individuals in the Performing & Visual Arts, Film/Video, Literature, and Emerging Fields. Creative Capital provides each funded project with up to $50,000 in direct funding and career development services valued at $40,000, for a total commitment of up to $90,000 per project.
Through a competitive submission process, NAMT’s Frank Young Fund provides grants to support new musicals at all stages of development, at theatres of all sizes, with the goal of bringing quality new musicals to audiences across the country.
An annual grant of $5,000 will be awarded to a member of Sigma Alpha Iota for the purpose of advancing her career in performance. The program, open to singers and instrumentalists, will be on a three-year rotation: 1) Strings, Woodwinds, and Brass: 2017-18; 2) Piano, Harpsichord, Organ & Percussion: 2018-19; 3) Voice: 2019-20.
The Northwestern University Library’s John Cage Collection is an extensive archive of primary materials documenting the life and work of the 20th century’s most revolutionary composer. The grant, in an amount up to $3000, may be awarded to support expenses for transportation, accommodations meals, and copying fees for one or more on-site visits to Northwestern University for the purpose of research using the John Cage Collection. Research may be in any field (e.g., musicology, art history, philosophy, literature, cultural studies), but projects must concern an aspect of Cage’s life and work and must clearly demonstrate a need for extensive use of the Cage Collection.
APAP’s grant programs provide support that underwrites individual professional development and fuels artistic initiatives in our local communities. Not only do the grants help artists, agents, managers, presenters, and promoters learn from each other and from the audiences they serve, but APAP shares the lessons from grantee projects through toolkits like the Creative Campus Toolkit and databases like the Digital Diaries, broadening the knowledge of the field.
The Kurt Weill Foundation for Music was founded in 1962. Although a few awards were made in the early years of the Foundation, the grant and sponsorship program began to flourish in the mid-1980s. Since 1984 independent grant panels have recommended, and the Board of Trustees has awarded, more than 500 grants and $3,000,000 to organizations and scholars worldwide in support of excellence in the presentation and study of Kurt Weill’s compositions. In 2013, the Marc Blitzstein catalog joined the list of works eligible for support.
The Bogliasco Foundation Fellowship program in Bogliasco, Italy is for artists and scholars in the arts and humanities. Fellowships usually have last one month or, in some cases, a half semester.
The program sends 800 faculty and professionals abroad to as many as 140 countries to lecture and conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields.
Located in Cassis, France and founded by artist and philanthropist Jerome Hill, The Camargo Foundation is a residential center offering to programme in the arts and humanities. The Foundation encourages the visionary work of artists, scholars, and thinkers in the arts and humanities.
The ISM Fellows are scholars, religious leaders, and artists at all career stages whose work is in or is moving to the fields of sacred music, liturgical/ritual studies, or religion and the arts. Fellows have the opportunity to pursue their scholarly or artistic projects within a vibrant, interdisciplinary community, and they may have the option to teach.
Support for individual artists has been a focus of the McKnight Foundation’s Arts program since its inception. McKnight Artist Fellowships increase the exploratory opportunity, economic stability, and productive capacity of artists by providing $25,000 in unrestricted support for mid-career artists and discipline-specific artistic and professional development opportunities.
This fellowship award will be granted to an advanced graduate student or a scholar in the early stages of his or her career. The fellowship is intended to support work in the area of Handel or other related research. The winner of the award is given the opportunity to present a paper at the biennial meeting of AHS. This Fellowship is awarded in even-numbered years.
The Guggenheim Memorial Foundation offers fellowships to further the development of artists by assisting them to engage in research in any field of knowledge and creation in any of the arts. Approximately 175 Fellowships are awarded each year.
The program promotes a new generation of young North American scholars with specialized knowledge of modern and contemporary Germany and Europe. The program supports scholars in all social science and humanities disciplines. Fellowships are awarded for doctoral dissertation research as well as postdoctoral research which leads to the completion of a monograph.
The American Academy in Rome is the oldest American overseas center for independent study and advanced research in the arts and humanities. Each year, through a national juried competition, the Academy offers approximately 30 fellowships. The School of Fine Arts provides support to the annual Rome Prize Fellows in architecture, design arts, literature, musical composition, and visual arts.
Housed in the Heyman Center for the Humanities since the 1980s, the Columbia Society offers one-year fellowships, renewable for up to two additional years, during which Fellows teach undergraduate courses, complete scholarly work, present projects to other Fellows and University faculty, and plan and participate in conferences on areas of research interest.
The National Humanities Center offers several fellowship opportunities. Most of the Center’s fellowships are unrestricted. Several, however, are designated for particular areas of research, including fellowships for environmental studies, English literature, art history, Asian studies, theology, and for early-career female philosophers. The Center also invites applicants from scholars in interdisciplinary fields, including the arts, African-American studies, cultural studies, film, and media studies.
The main mission of the Delmas Foundation is to support scholars intending to conduct their research and study in the Venetian region. The Venetian Research Program has provided such support since 1977 to 650 scholars through its U.S. program and to 323 scholars through its U.K.-based program. These awards have amounted to more than $4,500,000 from 1977 through 2014.
The American Antiquarian Society (AAS) is a national research library and learned society of American history and culture that offers fellowships for historical research by creative and performing artists, writers, filmmakers, journalists, and other persons whose goals are to produce imaginative, non-formulaic works dealing with pre-twentieth-century American history. Successful applicants are those whose work is for the general public rather than for academic or educational audiences.
The United States – Mexico Cultural and Educational Foundation (USMCEF) was founded on April 4, 1996, in Washington, D.C. as a 501 c.3. non-profit organization. USMCEF supports outstanding projects that foster cooperation and exchange between artists and intellectuals of Mexico and the U.S. Annual open round of applications start Mid-January and deadline is Mid-April.
ACLS continues to be the leading private institution supporting scholars in the humanities and related social sciences at the doctoral and postdoctoral levels. In the 2017-18 competition year, ACLS funded about 350 fellows and scholars through grant programs, supporting humanistic work at over 100 US institutions of higher education and scores more outside the United States. It has more than $24 million was awarded across all programs. An individual may apply to as many fellowship and grant programs as are suitable.
Every year, up to ten Spanish musicians and musicologists are awarded a Wardwell Fellowship. With this fellowship, they can come to Germany for one or two semesters and increase their knowledge and hone their skills at a conservatory or college of music there. Fellowships are granted to individual musicians for any instrument and to individuals from the composition or conducting fields.
A partnership of the NEA and the Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission (JUSFC), allows American artists to live and work in Japan for five months. Architects, choreographers, composers, creative writers, designers, media artists, playwrights, visual artists and solo theater artists who work with original material (including puppeteers, storytellers and performance artists) are encouraged to apply. Artists who create original work in a multidisciplinary form are also eligible.
CEC ArtsLink promotes international communication and understanding through collaborative, innovative arts projects for mutual benefit. This fellowship supports and produces programs that encourage the exchange of visual and performing artists and cultural managers in the United States and 37 countries overseas.
The Academy’s Visiting Scholars Program provides residential fellowships to postdoctoral scholars in the humanities and social sciences. The fellowship program offers a collaborative work environment and the opportunity to interact with Academy members. It also creates a national network for these scholars, assisting them in their research and professional development.
The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) is pleased to offer fellowships generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for dissertation research in the humanities or related social sciences using original sources. The program offers about fifteen competitively awarded fellowships a year in amounts up to $25,000. Each provides a stipend of $2,000 per month for periods ranging from 9-12 months. Each fellow receives an additional $1,000 upon participating in a symposium on research in original sources and submitting a report acceptable to CLIR on the research experience.
The Mellon International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) offers nine to twelve months of support to graduate students in the humanities and humanistic social sciences who are enrolled in Ph.D. programs in the United States and conducting dissertation research on non-US topics. Seventy fellowships are awarded annually. Fellowship amounts vary depending on the research plan, with a per-fellowship average of $22,000. Applicants are from select disciplines within the humanities including art history, architectural history, classics, drama/theater, film studies, literature, musicology, performance studies, philosophy, political theory, and religion.
The Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry (FCHI) was established from a long-term initiative. It is sparked by the grassroots advocacy of faculty members of Emory College. The originators envisioned a Center that promotes individual research, while also increasing the impact of the humanities across the University and ultimately on Atlanta, the region, and the nation.
The MacArthur Fellowship is a prize awarded annually typically to between 20 and 30 individuals. People who are working in any field, who have shown “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction”. Also, those that are citizens or residents of the United States. They also offer numerous other grants that musicians can apply for. You can find a list here.
The NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship is the highest honor that the nation bestows upon jazz musicians. The NEA encourages nominations of a broad range of men and women who have been significant to the field of jazz through vocal and instrumental performance, creative leadership, and education. Successful nominees will demonstrate a significant contribution to the art form through their body of work in the field of jazz.