Musical Grant Program 2018

The MGP Application is Live! Complete your Eligibility Screening and start your application today!

About the MGP

Read about our grant aimed at professional ensembles, artists, composers, & presenters.

Who Can Apply

Find out who is eligible for the MGP and what type of projects we fund.

Cypress Award

Learn about our New Cypress Award.


FInd the answers to some of the common questions asked about our MGP program.

How to Apply

  1. Read the sections “About the MGP“,  “Who can apply”, and “FAQ’s” to see if your project fits the requirements of the MGP.

2. Fill out the MGP Eligibility Form. An InterMusic SF staff member will review this form to determine the eligibility of your project. Eligibility is based on project constraints and past award history of the applicant and project partners. This step is required.

3. Click the link below to begin your application.

Musical Grant Program Application


Application deadline Sunday, March 4, 2018, 11:59 PM

About the MGP

The MGP awards grants to support the creative musical activity of San Francisco Bay Area performers, composers and presenters whose projects focus specifically on music for the small ensemble. The MGP raises the profile of local artists and creates opportunities for audiences to experience the rich diversity of music in the Bay Area. InterMusic SF raises funds from large local foundations and awards grants annually through a competitive process. Awardees are selected by an anonymous panel of independent music experts unassociated with the board or staff of InterMusic SF.

Open to Performers, Composers, and Presenters – with projects (including the commissioning of new works) from Early Music Classical MusicNew MusicJazz

  • Application deadline: Sunday, March 4, 2018, 11:59 PM.
  • Maximum award: up to $3,000, and up to $4,000 for projects involving commissioning.
  • Additional award: The Cypress Award will be given to a deserving musical project that strives to make an educational impact.
  • Notification: Awards will be announced in mid-April 2018.
  • Grant Period: Projects must be executed and completed between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2020.
  • Grant Application: Coming Soon.
  • Website:
  • Contact:

Musical Grant Program Informational Workshops – FREE

InterMusic SF will offer two free, optinal informational workshops to guide you through the application process.

* Our office is located in the SF Chronicle Building in the Intersection for the Arts co-location space. Bring ID and check in with security at the front desk.

The InterMusic SF Musical Grant Program is made possible through support from the San Francisco Grants for the Arts/Hotel Tax Fund, the Clarence E. Heller Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and Generous individual donors of InterMusic SF. Since 2008, InterMusic SF (formerly San Francisco Friends of Chamber Music) has awarded more than $668,000 to help support 234 projects in the Greater Bay Area.

Who Can Apply?

Who Can Apply What Do We Fund?

Performers, Composers and Presenters must propose projects (from Early Music, Classical Music, New Music or Jazz) that involve the participation of one or more ensembles.

PLEASE NOTE: InterMusic SF defines an ensemble as “a group of two or more musical performers – instrumentalists or singers – each playing one on a part, without a conductor”.

PERFORMER applicant can apply as:

  • an ensemble with consistent membership and a collective history of public performance;
  • an ensemble created by an individual for a specific performance project where each ensemble member demonstrates a history of public performance;
  • an ensemble in collaboration with an eligible Project Partner: composer, guest performer or additional ensemble.

A COMPOSER applicant can apply as:

  • a composer of a new work in partnership with an eligible ensemble;
  • a composer who is a lead performing artist of an ensemble performing their original composition(s)

A composer applicant MUST include at least one Project Partner

A PRESENTER applicant can apply as:

  • a presenter of an on-going concert series (with a history of presenting professional music performances to the public) in partnership with one eligible ensemble;
  • a presenter of a short-duration festival (with a history of presenting professional music performances to the public) in partnership with one or more eligible ensembles.

A Presenter applicant MUST include at least one Project Partner

Please Note: Any presenter, ensemble or composer may appear on only ONE MGP application per cycle. However, individual performing musicians may appear on more than one application as members of different ensembles as long as the ensembles have separate and distinct identities.

Project Partner

A Project Partner is defined as an individual or ensemble that collaborates with the lead applicant for a project. The Project Partner must satisfy all MGP eligibility requirements and each of its members must sign a Letter of Commitment that they intend to complete the project as defined by the lead applicant.


All applicants must confirm their eligibility and the eligibility of any Project Partner(s) with InterMusic SF. Please visit MGP ELIGIBILITY SCREENING, answer the questions and submit your answers. InterMusic SF will reply as soon as possible and may ask for a phone appointment for further clarification about your project. For questions, please contact:

Applicants and Project Partners must be:

  • at least 18 years of age;
  • must be a U.S. citizen or a legal resident;
  • must reside in and plan to present their project in one of the fifteen counties of the greater San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, Sacramento, San Francisco, San Joaquin, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, Sonoma, Stanislaus, and Yolo);
  • must have an annual organizational budget of under $100,000.

Note: If your budget is above $75,000, you will be asked to provide a copy of your CDP or the first page of your most recent 990 Tax Form.

Past MGP Awardees

Those who received an MGP award in 2017 are NOT ELIGIBLE TO APPLY in 2018, but will be eligible to apply for the MGP 2019 cycle if your project is completed and you have submitted your Final Report by January 31, 2019. Other past MGP awardees (from 2016 and earlier) must have submitted a Final Report for their completed project by January 31, 2018, to be eligible to apply in 2018. This restriction also applies to all Project Partners who were part of a previous project.


The MGP is a music project-based grant opportunity. Eligible expenses include:

  • Artist, rehearsal and/or performance fees;
  • Direct production costs (sound and video recording and engineering costs, instrument rental, instrument tuning, and/or sound system rental necessary for performance);
  • Venue rental costs;
  • Composer fees  for commissioning and/or presentation of a new work and/or associated copying costs;
  • PR and marketing costs specific to the project.


  •  An entire season of concerts (although costs associated with a particular concert or festival are eligible);
  • Concerts not open to the general public (i.e., educational or outreach activities at schools or performances exclusively for residents of a senior center, etc.);
  • General operating expenses;
  • Projects proposed by applicants or their partner(s) where either applicant or their partner’s organization or ensemble has a budget greater than $100,000;
  • Fundraising events;
  • Purchasing of equipment;
  • Paying off of debts.

Cypress Award

InterMusic SF is thrilled to announce the new Cypress Award, piloting in the spring of 2018!

Made possible through a generous donation from the recently retired Cypress String Quartet, the Cypress Award will provide up to $5,000 to a deserving musical project that strives to make an educational impact in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Artists applying for funding through the Musical Grant Program can choose to be considered for the Cypress Award, with winners being selected by a panel that will include a former member of the Cypress Quartet. The Cypress Award will be in addition to the gift provided by the Musical Grant Program.

The Cypress Award seeks to celebrate artistic excellence and educational innovation across musical genres.  In their proposal, applicants must display both artistic excellence and a creative approach to education.  Applicants are encouraged to be innovative, thoughtful and bold.  Winners of the Cypress Award will be announced along with the full roster of Musical Grant Program recipients in the spring of 2018.


1. Do applicants or their partners need 501(c)(3) status to apply?

No. 501(c)(3) status is not required for applicants or their partners.

2. Do applicants or their partners need to have fiscal sponsorship to apply?

No, applicants or their partners do not need fiscal sponsorship to apply.

3. I am a member of several ensembles.  Can I be part of more than one application?

Yes, but each ensemble must have its own separate identity.

4.  I will be an Artist in Residence at a Bay Area cultural institution during the grant period.  Can I apply to fund a project that will be presented there?

Most likely not. The MGP is designed to support smaller organizations not otherwise eligible for other funding sources, and so requires that all partners for a project have an annual organizational budget of under $100,000.

5. My project is a CD recording and I have a contract with a record label to produce the CD.  Is the record label considered a project partner and does it have to meet the MGP eligibility requirement of having a budget of under $100,000?

No. Music publishers and labels are not considered project partners for CD recording projects.

6.  My ensemble (or my presenting organization) would like to perform concerts for the residents of an assisted living facility. Is such a project eligible for MGP funding?

No, because the concerts would most likely not be open to the general public. If the concerts will be publicly promoted and accessible to audiences beyond those living and working in the facility, then you would be eligible.

7. Can an applicant commission multiple composers?

Perhaps. It depends on the details of the project. Project budget allocation of fair and respectful compensation to composers for the commissioning of new works is important. The MGP may support an ensemble that commissions several 3-minute pieces from a variety of composers. Or the program might support the project of an ensemble that is commissioning multiple composers with a common theme.

8. If I am a composer or a presenter, can I submit an application that includes the participation of an ensemble that received an MGP grant in 2017 or has not yet submitted a final report on an MGP grant received in 2016 or earlier?

No. Projects with composers and presenters must have the involvement of an eligible ensemble. Ensembles that received a grant in 2017 are not eligible to apply in 2018, either on their own or as part of a project led by a composer.

9. If I received an MGP grant in 2016, can I apply in 2018?

Applicants who received MGP grants in 2015 or earlier must have completed their previous MGP project and submitted their final report by January 31, 2017, in order to be eligible to apply for – or be a partner in – a new project in 2018. If you received an award for the 2017 cycle, you may not apply until 2019.

10. In your definition of an ensemble, what do you mean by “one on a part without a conductor?”

The MGP supports music where each musician is performing a unique part, not shared by others in a section as in a band, orchestra, or choir. Unison parts played by different instruments, individual musicians doubling on multiple instruments and a single lead sheet, arranged on the fly by a jazz combo are all acceptable as “ensemble music”. This rule is not intended to constrain composition. Rather it is meant to promote the intimacy and the vitality of music for the smaller ensemble that performs without a conductor. Grants for orchestras, bands, choirs, etc. are available from other sources. The MGP’s purpose is to specifically support small-ensemble music.

11. I live outside the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, but am doing a project that will take place in this geographic region – am I eligible for the Musical Grant Program?

No, applicants must reside, work, and present their projects in the greater San Francisco Bay Area to be eligible to apply. If there are special circumstances that you believe would affect your eligibility under this area (i.e., you reside, work, and present artistic work half the year in the Greater Bay Area but reside elsewhere for the remainder of the year), please contact prior to completing an application.

12.  I’m part of a performing ensemble whose project is to produce a concert in the Bay Area. We want to include a guest musician who occasionally performs with us. The members of our ensemble all live and work in the fifteen Bay Area counties included in the guidelines, but our guest musician resides outside the fifteen counties. Are we still eligible to apply to the MGP?

Yes. An application may include guest artists or substitute players from outside the fifteen counties. But the project must be predominantly based in one or more of the fifteen counties.

13. How many guest musicians from outside the Bay Area can I include in my application?

It depends on the project. Our funding priority is to support the Bay Area musical community. But we understand that even established ensembles are not always based in the same locality full-time. If the majority of the ensemble is local, and if you have other sources of funding to pay out-of-town guest artists and can demonstrate that their inclusion will benefit the local musicians and our local audiences, your application will be eligible.

14. InterMusic SF requires letters of commitment from the parties involved in a collaborative MGP project.  What does that mean? Why does InterMusic SF require letters of commitment?

If you are an ensemble applying for funds to commission a composer, we require a signed letter from the composer stating that, if awarded the grant, she or he will complete the project. If you are a presenter applying for funds to pay an ensemble to perform, we require a signed letter from at least one member of the ensemble stating that, if awarded the grant, they will complete the project. In these collaborations, InterMusic SF requires letters of commitment to ensure that all parties are in agreement about the proposed project and all plan to complete it if awarded the grant. This requirement is also to help applicants ensure that their proposed partners are not part of other applications that could conflict, potentially rendering both ineligible. A template for the letter of commitment can be found within the application form.

15. Will you accept letters of commitment after the application deadline?

We will not accept any application materials, including letters of commitment, after the deadline.

16. If I am including a composer work sample, do I also need to include the score for the work?

You do not need to, but it is highly encouraged if available and pertinent to the type of music in question. The score should correlate to the sample being provided.

17. I am a composer/performer and would like to assemble a new quartet of improvisers for a project. Do I need to include a History/Background page for each musician?

No. Please fill out the first History/Background page for yourself, and include a second page, compiling short biographies of the other players onto that single page.

18. How many grants will be awarded?

Each year, InterMusic SF sets a particular dollar amount to be awarded and distributed. The number of grants awarded will depend on the number and quality of applications received.  We anticipate awarding 25-30 grants for the upcoming 2018 cycle.

19. Can you provide examples of the types of projects that could be supported by the Musical Grant Program?

Please see “Past Awards”.

20. Can you explain what to include in the mandatory project budget notes on my MGP application?

You can write budget notes in one of two ways:

  1. Provide a detailed description for each line item in the project budget.
  2. Provide a written narrative detailing the overall rationale for the project budget.

Examples of how to write both line item budget notes and narrative budget notes are included in the Application Information and Instructions.

Application Tips and Examples

Brief Description of Project

For examples, see MGP past awards description.


Please complete the Project Budget so that all applicable boxes contain a number, even if it is a “zero”. Your total Income should equal your total Expenses and your surplus or deficit should be zero. See below for information on how to complete the Budget Notes page.

Budget Notes

Budget Notes serve to clarify the amounts you have entered for your Project Budget. They should reflect your thinking on how you have arrived at a particular number. Budgeting of your income and expenses for your project should be based on your past experiences and also on as much firm information that you have about what your actual costs will be for the project. (ie., you should know how much a composer’s commission will be or what venue rental will be, etc.) Please be as realistic as possible and also note that InterMusic SF expects applicants to include fair and reasonable fees for any and all artists, composers and recording engineers. Please use as much or as little space as needed.

The following are examples of information to include in the budget notes:

**Budget notes can be writing either by giving a detailed narrative description of the finances of your project or by explaining each line item in the project budget. 

A narrative description example is below:

Our budget for this project is $9,700; we are asking $3,000 from the Musical Grant Program. In addition, we have a proposal under review with the Zellerbach Family Foundation ($2,500), which has supported our projects in the past. We expect to cover the remainder through earned income from ticket sales and our private donor base. Our last concert at the Music Center generated $1,800 in ticket sales and donations for that event totaled $1,500.

The current estimated breakdown of costs: $3,200 Performer fees ($800 flat fee rate for the 4 musicians for two performances and a projected 6 rehearsals); $250 for a recording engineer; $1,000 for an administrative/PR staff member; $500 to Music Center for venue rental, staffing fees, & event insurance; $2,000 for production costs, including audio and video documentation; $2,500 for PR/ marketing (poster and postcard printing, direct mailing to Music Center mailing list, and print media ads); and $250 for equipment rental.

Alternatively, here is an example of how to write budget notes by line item:

Line 1. Foundation Grants – Zellerbach Family Foundation $2,500 (pending)

Line 3. Individuals – this figure is based on a total of $1500 donations received for our last event,

Line 7. Admissions – $25 ticket x 75 tickets = $1,875 is what we received from our last event. So we have budgeted $1800 for the proposed project.

Line 13. Artistic Personnel – $800 fee x 4 musicians for 2 performances and 6 rehearsals

Line 15. Technical Personnel – $250 fee for recording engineer

In-Kind Budget

Please list all in-kind donations and explain them in the information box. In-kind donations are any non-cash goods or services you or your ensemble receives over the course of the project. Some examples are below:

    • • Graphic design, audio recording or videography provided by a friend for free or at a reduced rate;
    • • Food and/or beverages donated by a local business for a performance;
    • • Free use of venue space;
    • • Artist fees for rehearsal and/or performances donated back to the ensemble or project (ie., payment of artists fees at a level that would be significantly less than at a professional union level).

In-kind donations should be listed separately from the Project Budget and they should not factor into the total budget of your project. Listing these donations is useful in demonstrating to the panel your full understanding of the time and work required for a successful project.

Review Process


An independent panel of five experts from the San Francisco Bay Area, representing the diversity of our music community, will review the applications. Their identities will remain secret. The decisions of the panel are final. Below are some of the criteria the panelists will use to judge your application.

History & Mission/Artistic Vision of the Applicant

Does the Performer or Composer applicant demonstrate a compelling history of significant musical activity by listing performances, repertoire or compositions, major collaborators, career highlights (awards, festival appearances, commissions & premieres, etc), and other pertinent biographical information? Does the Presenter applicant demonstrate a significant history of successful concert presentation, citing past and/or upcoming programming and providing an organization mission statement?

Project Description

Is there a clear purpose or intention for the project, with a compelling artistic vision that is supported by good planning?

Artistic Excellence and Potential

Is there a high level of musical ability and potential from a Performer or Composer, and evidence of ability to present high quality concert experiences if applying as a Presenter?


Does the applicant address the impact that the project will have on the artists involved and, if applicable, the local community? Does the Presenter applicant address how the project will advance the visibility of the ensemble and/or series in the greater San Francisco Bay Area?


Is there a well-defined plan for publicity and/or promotion of the project?


Is the timeline for the project clearly defined and does it support the successful execution of the project?


Is the project budget well thought-out and does it demonstrate that the applicant has the potential resources and capacity to undertake and complete the project?

Panelists will be aware of prior MGP awardees and their projects. If you have received an award in the past, be sure to make a strong case for why you need to undertake your new proposed project, and why it’s important to do so for this grant cycle.


Feedback about your grant application will be available from InterMusic SF’s Executive Director in May of 2018. Please send an email to to arrange a time to receive feedback.


Grantees 2017 and earlier:

Complete this online form.

If it would be helpful to see the questions and prepare your answers beforehand, please use this PDF for reference and then copy and paste your answers online:


Completed Projects

Upon completion of your project, please submit a final report to InterMusic SF. The report narrative should not exceed 2 pages and should contain a project description, with date(s), location, and any printed programs or other documents related to the production (Ex: Invitations, Season Brochures, Advertisements, Reviews).

For financial information—please use the Financial Reporting Template.  Please compare the completed project to your proposed idea. What was the same, what was different?  Did you spend the award money as planned?  What other funding did you receive to produce your project?  If the project was a public event, please offer pertinent information regarding audience numbers and demographics, if possible.

We are especially interested in knowing what the impact of the project has been on your career, and what the experience overall has been for you.  From your report, InterMusic SF’s Musical Grant Program not only seeks proof of the completion of your project, but valuable information we can use to plan further cycles of the Program.

Please send a hard copy to:

InterMusic SF – MGP REPORT
901 Mission Street, Suite 306
San Francisco, CA 94103

Financial Reporting Template

MGP Financial Reporting Template

Past awardees who are applying for a new cycle:

Musical Grant Program awardees must have completed their projects, filed a project report, and wait out one cycle before reapplying. 

Please email if you have any questions regarding your final report.

Past Awardees


Anthony Brown to compose “Down by the Riverside: Requiem for a King” commemorating the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King. To be premiered at the 2018 SF International Arts Festival by the Asian American Orchestra and Voices Of A Dream vocal ensemble with recitation by Dr. Cornel West.

Berkeley Chamber Performances to present the Thalea String Quartet in a public evening concert on March 20, 2018 at the Berkeley City Club as part of BCP’s 2017–2018 Season.

Black Cedar to commission Ursula Kwong-Brown’s “In Transit” for flute, cello, guitar, and electronic tape, incorporating the voices of Bay Area residents and their experiences as transplants from other regions and cultures. To be performed around the Bay Area in October 2017, February and June 2018.

Nathan Clevenger for the recording and production of a new album by the Nathan Clevenger Group.

Composing Together to present “My Words, My Music,” a concert series partnering composer/musicians Katrina Wreede, Moses Sedler, Sarah Zaharako, and Brendan Lai-Tong with Poet in Residence, Alan Bern, to be performed in libraries throughout the bay area.

Kristina Dutton with electronic musician Silvia Matheus to compose and perform “Horizontal Cobalt,” a musical reimagining of famed Bay Area artist Sonya Rapoport’s visual work.

Ensemble For These Times to commission and perform “Die eichne Tür” (working title) by composer David Garner for soprano, English horn, violin, cello, and piano. Preview and premiere performances in April 2018.

Erik Jekabson Trio to complete the production of Erik Jekabson’s CD featuring Peter Barshay and Vince Lateano.

Amy Foote to produce “The Voice and The Machine” a concert program that examines the role technology has in our emotional well-being. Including the commission and premiere of Dennis Aman’s new work for invented instruments and five performers.

Galax Quartet to record works written or arranged for the ensemble including Robert Morris’s “Radif IV (Galax Quartet version)”, Joseph Schwantner’s song cycle “Dream Drapery: Thoreau Songs” and Marc Mellits’s “String Quartet no. 2: Revolution.” To be released with the label Music & Arts (Berkeley CA).

Aaron Gervais to compose and present a new piece for live electronics and a variable ensemble of 1-5 instruments, to be premiered by the StenbergCahill Duo in 2018.

Guerrilla Composers Guild to present the Siroko Duo for its season opener, commissioning two new chamber works from local composers Nick Benavides and Michael Kropf.

Andrew Jamieson to compose and record a set of original arrangements that integrate experimental and traditional African American spirituals, in partnership with the Trouble Ensemble made up of San Francisco Bay Area musicians.

Jazz In The Neighborhood to present “Emerging Voices – Edition 1” a concert with three local rising jazz professionals—Ian Faquini, guitar; Erika Oba, piano; and Dillon Vado, vibraphone—and their respective ensembles—at the San Francisco Community Music Center, October, 2017.

Kugelplex to commission and perform “The Hungarian Gospel Suite”, a collection of traditional American Gospel songs set to original music inspired by Transylvanian Romany dance music, composed by Dan Cantrell and performed by the Kugelplex ensemble, featuring guest vocalist, Linda Tillery.

Lieder Alive! to commission and premiere four “neue Lieder” by Kurt Erickson, Composer-in-Residence, and three additional composers, to be paired with Lieder from the standard repertoire. To be performed by soprano Heidi Moss, mezzo-soprano Kindra Scharich, bass Kirk Eichelberger January 2018.

Montclair Women’s Big Band to record and produce the ensemble’s second album, a collection of original big band tunes and arrangements primarily by women including ensemble members Ellen Seeling, Jean Fineberg, and Christy Dana and featuring many of the outstanding women jazz soloists in the Bay Area.

Nicholas Phan Recording Projects to record and film Ralph Vaughan Williams’ vocal chamber works “The Unquiet Grave,” “Blake Songs,” and “Along the Field” performed by Nicholas Phan, tenor; Benjamin Beilman, violin; James Austin Smith, oboe; and Robert Mollicone, piano.

Pt. Richmond Jazz Quartet to record their debut album of 10 pieces in several different styles of music written and arranged by ensemble leader Emily Onderdonk.

Ratatet to record, mix and manufacture a 6 song EP of original compositions by leader Alan Hall, exploring, in a modern jazz context, the unique tonal possibilities of Bassoon, English Horn, Cello, Vibraphone, Trombone, Voice, Piano, Organ, Double Bass, Electric Bass, Percussion and Drum Set.

Rossorose Duo to present their concert project “Nocturnes: Nightfall Illuminated” and to commission Alisa Rose to compose “Nocturne for America” a piece to be included in the concert project.

Cookie Segelstein with Veretski Pass for the composition and CD recording utilizing formerly lost melodies of pre-Holocaust traditional, Czech-Jewish music. Cookie Segelstein, Joshua Horowitz, and Stuart Brotman will create a program of music that combines traditional folk resources from Bohemia and Moravia with new compositions.

Van-Anh Vo to compose and perform “Songs of Protest” with her VA’V Ensemble of Vietnamese traditional instruments as the core sound, complemented by electronic music and Western instruments. To be performed at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in spring 2019.