New Music USA announces Inaugural Cohort of New Music Inc Awardees in Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City

Written By

Kate Dreyfuss

$244,000 awarded to a cohort of 30 small-budget, artist-led music organizations in Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City.

Awardees receive funding plus 12-18 months of mentorship and cohort learning opportunities led by local Program Coordinators.

With New Music Inc, New Music USA expands and deepens its resources across multiple US cities.

New Music USA is proud to announce the cohort of 30 new music groups and organizations that have been selected as the inaugural awardees for its newest initiative, New Music Inc: a groundbreaking incubator program in Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City that helps propel small-budget, artist-led new music organizations forward. The first cohort includes 8 Baltimore organizations, 12 Chicago organizations, and 10 New York City organizations. All the awardees are deeply committed to promoting and amplifying the music of our time in all its forms. 

New Music Inc elevates each participating organization through financial support coupled with 12 to 18 months of mentorship and hands-on skill-building in a cohort environment, led and facilitated by local Program Coordinators Marquis Gasque ‘Mighty Mark’ (Baltimore), Kori Coleman (Chicago), and Amanda Gookin (New York City). The program’s collaborative mentorship opportunities include 1:1 meetings with the Program Coordinators, cohort learning sessions, development of organizational plans, and peer-to-peer feedback from local arts professionals. The fundamental goal of New Music Inc is to create a supportive space that fosters engaging, collaborative learning between the artist-led organizations as they navigate through pivotal stages in their development, as well to foster connection within and between the music communities of Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City. 

The launch of New Music Inc, which is an outgrowth of the New Music Capacity Building Program that was launched in 2020 with support from The New York Community Trust, fulfills New Music USA’s vision to create a thriving, connected, and equitable ecosystem for new music across the United States. The inaugural New Music Inc cohort consists of 50% BIPOC-led organizations to reflect the diversity of creators and artists who are contributing to their local music communities. The program also marks a major step forward in New Music USA’s goal to deepen and expand its services across multiple US cities over the next 5 years. Work is in progress to bring the program to additional US cities to further reflect the new music community’s geographic diversity, and to enable New Music USA to extend its reach to areas of the country that are underrepresented in national music funding opportunities. 

The initial New Music Inc grant cycle drew 160 applications from a diverse range of new music organizations across Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City including performance groups, collectives, festivals, and venues. Applications were evaluated and awardees were selected based on the organizations’ demonstrated commitment to music by living creators, with emphasis on local community engagement efforts and on dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Vanessa Reed, President & CEO of New Music USA, says:  

“I am proud of the step New Music Inc represents in our organization’s continued efforts to expand and deepen our services to music creators and practitioners across different US cities and artistic communities. We thank our funders in Baltimore, Chicago, and New York for enabling us to provide professional development resources and connectivity that small, artist-led organizations need to keep driving innovation in our field.”  

James Young, Executive Director of Baltimore awardee Mind on Fire, shares:  

New Music Inc’s program could not arrive at a better time in the life cycle of this arts organization. Mind on Fire is in its seventh year of operation with a need to grow. Over the course of many shows, we’ve established connections between a panoply of musicians and performing artists, commissioning an adventurous body of creative work and gaining a reputation for exciting and thoughtful shows with many of Baltimore’s most powerful art makers. But it has become increasingly tricky to find the road forward, as we brush up against the limits of our own capacity. I’m excited for what New Music Inc will illuminate and what blind spots might be uncovered in the process of this program. Mind on Fire started as an experiment, a different path for new art music outside of the conservatory and academic nest. We’ve proven that this is a living art that can engage with us now, where we live. Now it’s time to build it a lasting foundation and I suspect New Music Inc’s mentorship and this cohort will be integral in laying that groundwork.” 

Chicago awardee Àkójọpọ̀ Music Foundation adds:  

“Àkójọpọ̀ is overwhelmed with profound gratitude for the incredible support we have received from New Music USA! This generous gesture fills our hearts with immense joy and hope, knowing that it will play a pivotal role in our mission to empower and uplift living composers and musicians. With this support, we can breathe life into new African music, infusing it with the rich tapestry of our culture, and thereby forging a path forward that will inspire and resonate with generations to come. We couldn’t be more touched and humbled by the belief and trust placed in us.”

New York awardee Pique-nique Recordings remarks: 

“New Music USA is one of the premier champions of jazz and improvised music and we cannot be more excited to join their New Music Inc program and cohort! We have been building out – and dialing in – our event offerings over the last five years and are now ready to take our organization to the next level, growing our programming to support more musicians and reach more diverse audiences. We’re confident New Music USA can help us advance our mission, refine our strategy, and deepen our commitment to diverse audiences and musicians for many years to come. We can’t wait to join and learn from this forward-thinking community of artists and practitioners.” 

Visit the program page to learn more about New Music Inc. 

Meet the Awardees 

Baltimore, led by Program Coordinator Marquis Gasque ‘Mighty Mark’
Development grant of $6,000 and 12 months of collaborative mentorship. 

  • 2640 Space 
  • Blakwater Production House 
  • Contemporary Arts Inc 
  • EPIC FAM Music 
  • High Zero Foundation
  • Le Mondo 
  • Mind on Fire 
  • MRI Studios Inc 

Chicago, led by Program Coordinator Kori Coleman
Development grant of $8,000 and 18 months of collaborative mentorship. 

  • Àkójọpọ̀ Music Foundation 
  • Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians 
  • Chicago Composers Orchestra
  • Crossing Borders Music 
  • Hearing in Color 
  • Lampo 
  • LYNX Project 
  • New Music Chicago 
  • NON:op Open Opera Works 
  • Pleiades 
  • The Chinese Fine Arts Society (CFAS) 

New York City, led by Program Coordinator Amanda Gookin
Development grant of $10,000 and 18 months of collaborative mentorship. 

  • Batalá New York 
  • Bergamot Quartet 
  • ChamberQUEER 
  • Irreversible entanglements 
  • LayeRhythm Productions, Inc. 
  • Pathos Trio 
  • Pique-nique Recordings 
  • Resonator 
  • TAK Ensemble 
  • The Healing Project 

New Music USA is committed to making all of its grant programs equitable, by removing barriers in the application process and by consistently elevating all artists and organizations who receive our support. New Music Inc applicants are given straightforward guidelines and are asked to reply to prompts about their organization (either written or video recorded) and to provide work samples.

New Music USA’s peer review process for New Music Inc applications reflects ongoing efforts to dismantle bias. For this round, New Music USA engaged 14 artists, composers, musicians, and administrators working in Baltimore, Chicago, and New York City to build a panel with 43% of people identifying as women or non-binary, and 64% of people identifying as BIPOC. As our panelists consist of artists and practitioners from the community, our conflict-of-interest policy ensures that when a panelist has a vested interest in a program applicant, the panelist recuses themselves from the evaluation of that applicant. 

New Music USA offers sincere thanks to the panelists who reviewed New Music Inc applications: 

Larry Caudle, Eric Cha-Beach, Kori Coleman, Hannah Edgar, Milena Casado Fauquet, Alexandra Gardner, Marquis Gasque, Amanda Gookin, Will Healy, Jamal Moore, Wendel Patrick, Heather Ireland Robinson, Chris Williams, Adam Zanolini 

Thank You to Our Funders 

New Music Inc’s regional programs are funded and made possible by The New York Community Trust (New York City) and the Walder Foundation (Chicago). The Baltimore program is supported in part by grants from the Robert W. Deutsch Foundation and The Jacob and Hilda Blaustein Foundation. 

If you are a funder or donor interested in exploring how to expand New Music Inc to your city, please contact Ami Dang, Development Director at New Music USA: [email protected].  

About New Music USA 

New Music USA nurtures a vibrant and inclusive community for artists and listeners by supporting the creation, performance, and appreciation of new music throughout the United States. We empower and connect US-based music makers, organizations, and audiences by providing funding through our grants; offering support and fostering new connections through our programs; deepening knowledge through our online magazine, NewMusicBox; and working as an advocate for the field. New Music USA envisions a thriving and equitable ecosystem for new music throughout the United States. 


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