New Music USA’s Response to COVID-19

Written By

Megan Ihnen

To our New Music USA community:

We know that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is creating extremely challenging times for our entire community – emotionally, logistically, and financially. Here at New Music USA, we will strive to do everything we can to support you during this unprecedented crisis. Below is an overview of some of our current actions. We will be monitoring the situation and updating the information here regularly.

Please take care of yourselves and each other as we work together to get through the next few months and beyond. We look forward to the moment when we’re safely able to gather again in our love for the brilliant music you are all creating, performing, and enabling so many music fans to enjoy.

Best wishes and stay well,

Vanessa Reed
President & CEO, New Music USA


New Music Solidarity Fund has raised $460k – with final fundraising marathon this week!

[May 12, 2020]

We are so grateful for the generosity and camaraderie our whole community has shown in this incredible time – and for all of the support behind the New Music Solidarity Fund.

The artist-initiated New Music Solidarity Fund has quadrupled its initial goals, raising enough money to provide emergency resources to over 900 musicians impacted by COVID-19.

As we enter our final week of fundraising, we have received over $460,000 in donations and pledges, and are approaching our adjusted goal of $500,000. If we can meet this goal, the Fund will be able to distribute emergency grants to one thousand individual applicants.

You can help us by maximizing the impact of this incredible campaign by spreading the word among your friends and community, increasing your donation if you can, and attending and sharing related fundraising events.

Many artists and organizations, including Marcos Balter, Susie Ibarra, Jen Shyu, Rebecca Sigel, Nadia Sirota, Conrad Tao, PARMA Recordings, and Third Coast Percussion, have raised money for the New Music Solidarity Fund by turning online concerts into fundraisers. Claire Chase performed a live stream marathon concert with Music on the Rebound to raise money for the fund on Thursday, May 14; the program will consist of music by composers who have contributed to the Fund. The  OmniARTS Foundation has organized “Lean on Me,” a series of fund-raising concerts hosted by Lori Laitman, Tom Cipullo, Fred Hersch, and Isabel Leonard; the May 23 concert fundraises for the New Music Solidarity Fund. The New Music Solidarity Fund would also like to thank Larry and Arlene DunnSon Lux, and R. Andrew Lee who have pledged to donate proceeds from their albums to the Fund.

The future of our whole community depends on generosity, support and, compassion for those who are the most impacted by this global challenge. Thanks again for showing this compassion and giving hope to those whose livelihoods are at risk.

Announcing New Goals for the New Music Solidarity Fund

[April 16, 2020]

We’re excited to share a big update about the New Music Solidarity Fund‘s progress. This emergency response for independent musicians impacted by COVID-19 has now raised a total of $380,000 and successfully fulfilled 530 grants within four weeks of opening.

Having more than tripled its initial $100,000 goal, the Solidarity Fund now aims to raise $500,000 by May 15, allowing for a total of 1,000 grants of $500 each. 

On behalf of all the musicians who are benefiting, and the visionary composers and artists who initiated this fund, thank you for being part of this collaborative campaign! By donating and spreading the word about the Fund, you are supporting new music practitioners whose livelihoods have been placed in jeopardy due to cancelations and closures stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Please read more in the Solidarity Fund press release.

These words from a Solidarity Fund recipient also highlight the importance of this emergency funding:

“I want to express my gratitude to you upon receiving this grant. Not only does it help to contribute to my immediate financial need, it encourages me to stay creative and motivated in this challenging time.”

At New Music USA, we strive to support a thriving and interconnected ecosystem for new music and we are here to serve and assist our community in any way we can. As social distancing continues, and as concert halls and festivals remain closed, we are actively considering those who are most affected and evaluating how to respond further as these unprecedented circumstances evolve.

Please also feel free to share this information with others who might be inspired to help us reach the New Music Solidarity Fund target of $500,000 to support 1,000 musicians. Donations can be made here.


Announcing $130,000 in emergency funding for freelance artists in the new/creative/improvised music community through the New Music Solidarity Fund

[March 24, 2020]

We are proud to announce that we are supporting and collaborating with a group of visionary composers and musicians who have initiated the New Music Solidarity Fund to help freelance performers with urgent financial needs following cancelations of their work in this initial phase of the COVID-19 pandemic.

More than 100 artists, arts leaders, and professors in the field have announced the New Music Solidarity Fund, an initiative that aims to grant emergency funding to musicians impacted by COVID-19. At the time of the announcement, more than $130,000 has been pledged, with donations coming first from musicians, composers, and others from the new music community wishing to show their solidarity for those who they know to be suffering.

The fund will be administered by our team at New Music USA, and all donations are fully tax-deductible through our 501c3 status. The fund is accessible here and will run until April 30. Some members of the new music community are able to weather these uncertain times more smoothly than others. If you are in the position to be generous, please donate to help your friends and colleagues.

The New Music Solidarity Fund will distribute at least two hundred and sixty, $500 emergency assistance grants. Any musician who has had a project involving a living composer canceled because of the pandemic is invited to apply. The New Music Solidarity Fund opens to applicants at 12 p.m. Eastern time on March 31, and will run until April 30. Grants will be available on a first-come, first-served basis as funds last. Artists are encouraged to bookmark this page to gain access when the application form opens.

New Music USA’s Response to COVID-19

[March 16, 2020]

For current New Music USA Project Grant awardees:

We are expecting postponements and cancelations which relate to projects we are already funding and we will of course be flexible about these changes. Please email Monisha Chowdhary to let us know what has happened and please use “Project Grant Changes – COVID-19” as the subject line.   

For all individual artists and organizations who applied to the latest New Music USA Project Grants deadline (January 2020):

We are asking our independent panelists to assess the quality of your projects in accordance with our standard guidelines. The dates you are proposing for your activity will not influence the advisors’ assessment.  Advisors’ decisions will be made by the end of May as planned. We will then contact selected awardees with guidance on any projects which are likely to be subject to further restrictions.

Events and live-streaming

It is clear that the COVID-19 virus is already having a massive impact on our community. Many performers and organizations are canceling or changing performances, educational offerings, and other public events. We honor this crucial effort to support public health.  If you are modifying your events to a live-stream format, please let us know. We will gladly help you spread the word.

We are also happy to share any information you’d like the community to be aware of via our social media channels. Get in touch with us on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and we will respond. 

New Music USA staff

As of today, New Music USA’s office in NYC is closed until further notice. Our team is working from home and available by email between our usual working hours – 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Eastern time. We will be striving to honor all planned meetings by undertaking them by phone or GoToMeeting. We are committed to avoiding any non-essential travel within the US or internationally to support public health in this shifting situation.

Broader advocacy and cross-sector collaboration

New Music USA has signed a letter to the National Endowment for the Arts encouraging Congress to include the arts and individual artists in the distribution/consideration of any emergency relief funding. This is thanks to our membership of the Performing Arts Alliance. You can contact your local government officials to add your support as well. 

Emergency resources

Our friends at American Composers Forum have compiled a detailed list of resources that may offer help, guidance and financial support for those heavily impacted. We also recommended taking a look at the resources compiled by National Performance Network, Creative Capital, and COVID-19 & Freelance Artists. In addition to their list of resources, we encourage you to participate in The Economic Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on the Arts and Cultural Sector survey from Americans for the Arts.