We Believe in a Vibrant Future for New Music in All Its Forms
Our community includes anyone who is shaping the future of music creation and sound
10 Years of New Music USA Impact
Since forming in 2011, New Music USA has given $12.1 million in funding that has pushed the creation of new music forward
New Music USA awards have launched breakthrough new performances, projects, collaborations, and more
New Music USA's support has reached 10,000+ artists and helped make thousands of stories come to life. Share yours: #WeAreNewMusic
New Music USA's web magazine NewMusicBox provides a vital platform for creators to speak about issues relevant to them in their own words, and has elevated 2,300+ creator stories since 2011 (and 7,000+ stories since launching in 1999!)
This is Only the Beginning
Help us give $1M to 100 creators and 100 organizations in our 10th anniversary year
New Music USA has made thousands of stories come to life. Explore ten remarkable grantee stories below, then share yours online using #WeAreNewMusic
"New Music USA is essential to the new music community. Support for all generations of composers, for new ideas in music, for a multiplicity of voices, is crucial for maintaining a vital musical culture. New Music USA is at the center of that."
"New Music USA's three-year Music Alive residency program with the Philadelphia Orchestra allowed me to work on a deeper community level as never before. It allowed me to enact ideas that had long been of great interest to me."
"Attention toward geographical reach of New Music USA is important... it's been great to see the ways New Music USA has deliberately served artist communities in smaller and non-coastal regions around the country, because so often the ideas of artists in these regions are excluded from institutional funding and access."
Gabriela Lena Frank
As a disabled woman of color coming of age in the 90s, I feel fortunate to have a good professional life as a composer. There were frustrations, of course... but I also encountered many angels: Teachers, agents, colleagues, and forward-thinking institutions. One of those institutions is New Music USA, which arose from the merging of two earlier institutions with long histories of supporting contemporary music and its practitioners."
"Changing the all-pervasive paradigms of exclusivity in all aspects of the music world is imperative going forward. New Music USA is clearly on the forefront of this change. While I consider myself blessed to have garnered support from the organization for my own projects, my greater sentiment is one of pride to be associated with such a forward-thinking and generous entity."
"Making art—particularly composing—is very lonely, and the community building that NMUSA does helps you remember that we can, if we choose, be in this together. I've been reading NewMusicBox since I was 18 years old (almost 20 years!) and looking back on this vicennial of nerding out, I am so thankful."
"I’ve served as a panel member for a grant cycle of New Music USA, it was amazing to see the wide breadth of projects that received funding, especially small projects - which can be the most difficult to fund. Seeing the impact of New Music USA’s from this vantage point made an impact on me!"
"As a woman composer, in a profession that has historically comprised mainly of men, receiving support from New Music USA at least four times during the past ten years has been a positive reminder of how important they value equality in our field."
"Support from New Music USA was one of the most influential contributions to the beginnings of my professional career. Aside from the funding, the connections with the classical community I was able to form, especially through the Music Alive: New Partnerships program, have continued to lead to other meaningful projects."
"I’m incredibly grateful to New Music USA for its continued support of my projects. When I look back over the last ten years of my career, New Music USA has been there at what turned out to be crucial inflection points in my musical development."
Our legacy includes decades of crucial work by the American Music Center and Meet The Composer, which merged to form New Music USA in 2011. We're building on the breakthrough opportunities the merger provided to push forward for a stronger future.
The American Music Center (AMC) Founded to Promote New American Music
AMC was founded by composers Marion Bauer, Aaron Copland, Howard Hanson, Harrison Kerr, Otto Luening, and Quincy Porter as a nonprofit membership organization aiming to promote creating, performing, and enjoying new American music. For many years, the main activity of the center was the accumulation of a library of American music which accepted score submissions from all composers who joined as members. In the 1950s, AMC created a landmark program funded by the Ford Foundation to commission, perform, and record new American orchestral works. In 1962, AMC launched the Copying Assistance Program (later renamed the Composers Assistance Program) to support composers in the engraving and parts extractions for their work.
Meet The Composer (MTC) Created to Increase Support for Composers
MTC was founded by the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) with a mission "to increase opportunities for composers by fostering the creation, performance, dissemination, and appreciation of their music." Initially, it was a program at NYSCA called Composer in Performance; after a few years, AMC was asked to take the project over as one of its own programs and composer John Duffy was hired as program director. Duffy gave it the name Meet The Composer, and founded the Meet The Composer Fund — placing composers in communities while establishing standard fee structures and guidelines for how composers could speak to audiences about their work. No genre was off limits.
MTC Creates Composer In Residence Program with US Orchestras
Meet The Composer's breakthrough Composer In Residence program underwrote placing composers in residence with American orchestras. By 1990, 32 orchestras had composers in residence, in a variety of roles. Successes include the Horizons festivals of contemporary music spearheaded by Jacob Druckman during his tenure at the NY Philharmonic and John Adams’s close relationship with the San Francisco Symphony. A series of commercially released recordings of works were created through this program, several of which were originally released on Nonesuch Records.
NewMusicBox and Music Alive Program Further Composer Support
AMC launches the web magazine NewMusicBox, offering a vital platform for music creators to speak about issues relevant to them in their own words. The same year, MTC launches the Music Alive program in partnership with the League of American Orchestras (the American Symphony Orchestra League at the time), designed to continue the composer in residence work with American orchestras. Over the program’s ten years it places 116 composers in 81 orchestras with 121 distinct residencies lasting from one week to three years.
New Music USA is Born to Meet the Expanding Needs of the New Music Community
Meet The Composer and the American Music Center merge to form New Music USA, which provides powerful new opportunities for the whole community, supporting artists who create new work and growing the market for that work. New Music USA operates in two broad program areas — grantmaking and media — reaching composers, performers, and listeners in all 50 states and projecting a more visible and audible profile for new American music all over the world. A financial endowment was created that mostly contributes to New Music USA’s annual grants program and is an enduring resource for new music. Ed Harsh, formerly of Meet the Composer, becomes the President and CEO of New Music USA.
Project Grants + New Music Impact Fund Provide Flexible Support Artists Need
New Music USA launches project grants in 2013, designed post-merger to combine the organization’s multiple grant programs into a single accessible, flexible format to better support and promote artists and their work. In 2016, New Music USA launches the New Music Impact Fund for small new music ensembles in NYC, with the goal of facilitating new work and new collaborative relationships in the New York City new music scene. This program continues the legacy of support begun by MTC and sows seeds for New Music USA’s New Music Capacity Building program in 2021.
New Programs Created to Address Inequities in Our Field
Amplifying Voices program marks first partnership with Sphinx organization (Detroit) and first New Music USA program designed explicitly to address inequities in our field. Launched to facilitate co-commissions and sharing of existing repertoire by BIPOC composers, this program aims to increase the support and promotion of under-represented composers, create space for their contributions to artistic-planning at major national orchestras, and make major strides toward transforming the classical canon for future generations. At the same time, New Music USA starts to develop new partnerships with major artists and industry partners to broaden its reach across communities which have been under-represented in the past. This includes The Reel Change fund for diversity in film scoring in partnership with composer Christophe Beck and SESAC. These programs are created under the leadership of Vanessa Reed, who joined as President and CEO in August 2019.
New Music USA Meets Community's Emergency Needs
In April of 2020, New Music USA develops the Solidarity Fund in collaboration with artist leaders from our community to provide emergency grant funding to musicians and creators impacted by COVID-19. In October, New Music USA re-imagines its Project Grants program into the New Music Creator Development Fund and New Music Organizational Development Fund in response to the impacts of COVID-19 on individual artists and organizations and their changing needs. The programs are designed to provide more direct support to artists through a dedicated fund alongside a second fund for organizations with a proven track record of supporting their new music community.
Further Programs Launched to Extend New Music USA's Services
New Music USA launches New Music Capacity Building Program, a two-year capacity-building program for a diverse cohort of small-sized, artist-led groups committed to presenting, performing, or promoting new music by living music creators on a regular basis. The first edition of this new program combines financial support with professional development opportunities to aid a cohort of NYC-based organizations, and is being explored for delivery in other cities and regions across the US. New Music USA and the Berklee Institute of Jazz and Gender Justice also launch Next Jazz Legacy, a new program that offers apprenticeships, two-way mentorship, financial support and promotion opportunities for women and non-binary improvisers who are underrepresented in the art form. NewMusicBox launches new podcast, SoundLives, which is recognized with an ASCAP Foundation Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award.
The Next Decade
November 2021, New Music USA launches its 10th Anniversary campaign to create the next chapter for new music by celebrating the community through a digital #WeAreNewMusic campaign and pledging to give $1 million in funding to 100 new music creators and 100 organizations still adapting to the changes brought about by a global pandemic. New Music USA commits to spending the next decade continuing to build an inclusive future that reflects the vision and needs of new music community; one that represents a plurality of voices across every region of the US, and new music in all its forms.
Create the Future of New Music
Music creators and organizations need support now more than ever.
A solo performance at the intersection of Gender, Race, and Age. Collaboration by Duane Cyrus and Jonboyondabeat.
The New Music Capacity Building Program, made possible by The New York Community Trust, is designed for a diverse cohort.
As an ensemble of four composer-performers, The Rhythm Method strives to reimagine the string quartet in a contemporary, feminist context.
Valerie Coleman is regarded by many as an iconic artist who continues to pave her own unique path, as a Grammy® nominated flutist, composer and entrepreneur.
“New Music USA is a vital resource for an extraordinary array of talented artists and organizations across the length and breadth of our country. Now, as we look to the future, there's an urgent need for us to do even more, providing support, and hope to our community during this period of uncertainty and change.” #WeAreNewMusic
Vanessa Reed, President and CEO of New Music USA
"I have seen firsthand how profoundly music changes lives and connects us to one another—soul to soul, across cultures and communities. I want our field to be a microcosm of the world we want to see." #WeAreNewMusic
Reena Esmail, Board Co-chair of New Music USA
"The support I received from Reel Change was instrumental in my completion of the score for The Neutral Ground. This fund allowed me to build positive relationships with an international network of orchestras, choirs, and engineers. I am extremely grateful for this affirming initiative as I was alloted more space to grow as a composer." #WeAreNewMusic
Sultana Isham, Composer, Reel Change Film Fund