This program supports performing organizations, institutions, summer festivals and conferences whose artistic excellence encourages and improves public knowledge and appreciation of works by younger and relatively unknown, living American composers of classical concert music.

There are two semi-annual deadlines:
April 15 deadline: Support for professional performing ensembles and institutions.
November 15 deadline: Support for summer festivals and conferences. 

This program’s objectives are to document and provide wider exposure for the music of younger and relatively unknown, living American composers.

There is one annual deadline: November 15.

General FAQs (applies to all programs)

How should I account for in-kind contributions in my annual or project budgets?

Only the donation of goods that have a fair market value are allowable as a budgetary item, consistent with IRS regulations for filing Form 990.

If you wish to show the value of the donation of services, you may do so in a supplementary note to the budget, but only if the contributed services:

  1. create or enhance nonfinancial assets, or
  2. require specialized skills, are provided by individuals possessing those skills and would typically need to be purchased if not provided by donation.

In this case, indicate the full value of the donated services in the supplementary note. Within the budget itself, indicate the actual amount of money paid for the services. If the services were completely donated, the amount of the expense should be $0.

Donated services that do not meet either of the two criteria should not be represented anywhere in the budget.

What is the Ditson Fund’s definition of ‘younger and relatively unknown composers’?

The Fund only supports the work of living American composers of classical concert music with an emphasis on supporting important works of composers who are younger and at the beginning stage of their career as well as music by more mature composers who deserve wider recognition and support. During each meeting the Advisory Committee will determine who best deserves support among the current applicants.

What is the Fund’s definition of ‘American’?

Composers with U.S. citizenship, as well as composers that have lived and worked in the U.S. for a significant period of time, are eligible. The Fund does not set rigid parameters but considers any questionable situations on a case-by-case basis. For the Fund’s purposes, “American” refers to the United States, its territories, and possessions.

Our organization is located outside the U.S., but we are proposing a project featuring contemporary American music. May we apply?

Yes. The application will require an American fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status. Any awards will be paid to that fiscal sponsor. All financial figures in the proposal should be converted to U.S. dollars.

Does the Fund support jazz, musical theater or popular music?

No, in general jazz is not supported. The Ditson Fund supports contemporary American classical concert music.

Who is on your review panel?

The Ditson Advisory Committee makes all decisions.

Are universities and other educational institutions eligible for support?

Educational institutions may not apply directly, but they may serve as the fiscal sponsor for projects that involve professional musicians (including faculty). Projects including student ensembles are generally not eligible for support. Projects that primarily involve professional musicians are eligible even if some students also participate.

A university is serving as our fiscal sponsor, and they want us to include indirect costs in our budget. May we do so?

The Ditson Fund will not fund indirect costs on a project, so it is advised that you do not include them in the budget.

Are music education projects eligible for funding?

The Ditson Fund does not support music education programs.

Our proposal was not funded. Can you tell us why?

Programs are very competitive. Unfortunately, each year many worthy projects cannot be funded. You are welcome to contact the Grants Manager at ditson@columbia.edu for feedback about how your proposal could be improved in the future.

Can our organization apply to more than one of the Fund's programs?

Applicants to the Recording Program may also apply to the Performing Ensembles, Institutions, Summer Festivals and Conferences Program, if the applicant satisfies the program eligibility requirements.

Generally, applicants to the April deadline of the Performing Ensembles, Institutions, Summer Festivals and Conferences Program may not apply to the November deadline, nor may applicants to the Recording Program apply to the April deadline, except in instances approved by the Fund in advance.