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Complete our New Online Application Here



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


Application deadline: Friday, February 24, 2017 (MIDNIGHT)

Maximum award: up to $3,000, and up to $4,000 for projects involving commissioning

Notification: Awards will be announced in mid-April 2017

Grant Period: Projects must be executed and completed between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019

Grant Application:Our 2017 application is now online!! CLICK HERE

Please click the link and complete the application using the Application Instructions below. You must provide a cell phone number in order to receive a text with a verification number in order to proceed with the application. As this is a new application process, we know there may be some questions along the way. If you need help, please email us at .






Musical Grant Program Informational Workshops - FREE


January 23, 2017 (Mon.) at 6:30pm - 135 Main Street, San Francisco - Lobby Level

February 1, 2017 (Wed.) at 12:00pm –135 Main Street, San Francisco - Lobby

* Feel free to bring your own lunch *


Note: Workshops are optional and FREE

Sign up for either of the FREE MGP Workshop



About the Musical Grant Program (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. SFFCM raises funds from large local foundations and awards grants annually through a competitive process. Awardees are selected by a panel of independent music experts unassociated with the board or staff of SFFCM.



The SFFCM 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 the San Francisco Foundation. In the past 7 cycles, SFFCM has awarded more than $590,000 to help support 211 projects in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area.





The MGP application can be found at: If you have not completed the MGP Eligibility Screening Test, please do so before completing the application and wait to hear back from us about whether your project is eligible. This is important so that you do not spend the time submitting an application that is not eligible.


Completing the Application


Applicant Information

  • Indicate whether you are applying as Performer, Composer or Presenter (see “Who Can Apply”).
  • Provide the name of your ensemble or presenting organization or, if you are an individual, your name.
  • As contact person/lead applicant, provide your name, address, phone, email and website.
  • Provide the name and email of an alternative contact person, if applicable.
  • Provide the name of your Project Partner(s), if applicable.
  • Provide your, your ensemble’s or your organization’s annual operating budget. (Must be less than $100,000).
  • Provide the total budget for your Project. (This amount should match the amount you report under the section “Project Budget”).
  • Provide the amount you are requesting. ($3,000 maximum for projects not involving commissioning. $4,000 maximum for projects that do involve commissioning.)
  • Provide the start and end dates of your project. (Must be during the two year period from July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2019).



Brief Description of Project:

For examples, see MGP past awards description.


History of Applicant

Include a statement about your artistic mission or purpose, your background and experience as an artist and performances and/or production history around your work. If you are a pre-existing ensemble, include a sample list of works in your repertoire. If your ensemble does not have a significant group performance history, provide biographical information for each performer, with a list of works in repertoire, if appropriate.


If you are a presenter, please provide your presenting history.


History of Project Partner(s)

Provide History/Background information for your Project Partner(s) -one page per partner. Please Note: Presenters and Composers must apply with a Project Partner.

For Composers: Your ensemble and/or presenter Project Partner;

For Presenters: Your ensemble or composer project partner;

For Performers: You MAY - but are not required to - apply with a Project Partner, such as a composer, presenter or an additional ensemble.


Performance History

Please list, in reverse chronological order, up to 12 past performances of your ensemble, your compositions or performances presented by your organization that are most relevant to your project. Please include musicians’ names and instrumentation. Include composers’ names and titles of works, if applicable.


Project Description

The project description should address the topics below. Depending on your project, some topics may be more applicable and/or may require more description than others.


    Project: Describe your project in detail. What will you do (commission, recording, performance(s), etc)? How will you execute the project?


    Motivation: Describe why you wish to undertake this project. Address the impact that the project will have on your ensemble, on you as a composer or on your presenting organization. Also address, if applicable, what impact your project will have on the local community. Why is this project important and worthwhile? If an ensemble is being newly formed for this project, what is unique about these specific performers? If there is a commission involved, why is it important that the composer and these performers work together? If you are a proposing a composition project, what is important about this new composition?


    Budget: What is the overall cost of the project? How will MGP funds be used? If the project costs more than the MGP grant, what other resources do you need to complete the project? How will you go about securing those resources?


Please Note: If an applicant wishes to create a new ensemble with no prior collective history, the application must address the specific purpose of the proposed formation under “Project Description” and all members of the new ensemble must show their intent to complete the project by signing a Letter of Commitment.



Promotion and Publicity Strategy

Explain the steps you will take to maximize the public impact of your project. If you are planning a performance, how will the public find out about it? If you are commissioning a composition, when and where will it be premiered? If you are recording a CD, do you have arrangements with a label? If you expect to self-release the CD, how do you anticipate publicizing and distributing it? How will you get the word out about your project and ensure it finds its audience?


Project Timeline

Describe the project timeline. What are the major dates relevant to your project from start to finish? (Reminder: the two year time period for the start and completion of projects for the 2017 MGP grants is from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2019).


Project Budget

Please complete the Project Budget so that all applicable boxes contain a number, even it is “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(s).


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 SFFCM 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:



Line 1: Foundation - List the foundations and amounts. Label grants pending or confirmed.

Line 2: Government - List the agencies and amounts. Label grants pending or confirmed.

Line 3: Individuals - Donations received or fundraising planned.

Line 7: Admissions - List ticket prices with venue capacity, expected number of tickets to be sold, etc.

Line 8: Product Sales – List anticipated CD sales.



Line 13 – 14: List fees for performers or composers for rehearsals, performances, recording sessions, etc.

Line 15: Technical Production – List fees for producer, recording/sound/light engineer, stage manager.

Line 16-17: List any expenses for those who will be hired to perform administrative or PR/marketing tasks for the project.


Please provide budget notes by writing either 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 in the inputs below, 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.


Work Sample List for Lead Artist(s) and for Project Partner(s) (if applicable)

Each applicant is required to submit two contrasting work samples of the ensemble involved in the project. Presenters of festivals may submit samples of past festival participants as demonstration of artistic merit if the proposed lineup is not yet confirmed. Samples should be uploaded where indicated on the application. (Acceptable formats are: zip, mp3, wma, mpg, flv, avi). If there is a problem with your sound file, you will be contacted.


Each Work Sample should be no longer than 4 minutes in length, and one sample should preferably be from a live performance. The samples can be excerpts from a longer work.


If applying to commission a composer to create a work for an ensemble, include two additional audio work samples by the composer. If this ensemble has performed this composer’s work in the past, it is ideal to include such recordings, if possible. Choose samples to demonstrate artistic merit and the rationale for the collaboration. Include the score, if notation is a significant component of the composer’s practice, for ONE of the samples. The score should be submitted as a scanned PDF to


Samples should be chosen carefully to show an applicant’s best work in the time allotted. Please bear in mind that panelists are looking for an accurate picture of the applicant’s musical strengths. The quality of the sound recording is important, as is the variety of music presented. Please choose contrasting selections – for example, with different tempos or densities, or from works by different composers or from different styles or historical periods. It is very helpful if your sound file is related to the project that you are applying for.


Letters of Commitment

This is not a recommendation letter, but rather a confirmation that your Project Partner(s) and all of their individual members are committed to carrying out the project with you. These letters will not be seen or considered by the panel. The letters are to ensure that your Project Partner(s) - ensembles, composers or presenters - are not part of multiple applications. Digital signatures are acceptable.


1. Sample letter of commitment for a composer creating a work for an ensemble to perform on a self-presented concert:


    This letter serves as notice of [composer’s] intent to create a new work, [title, if known], for [ensemble] to perform on [date], and of [ensemble’s] commitment to undertake this work as formulated in this application.

    Signed by ensemble representative and composer


2. Sample letter of commitment for a composer creating a work for an ensemble to perform on a local series:


    This letter serves as notice of [composer’s] intent to create a new work, [title, if known], for [ensemble] to perform on the [ensemble]’s upcoming season of performances, and of [composer’s] commitment to undertake this work. [Presenter] has committed to have [ensemble’s name] premiere the commissioned work as part of its season on [date].

    Signed by ensemble representative, composer and presenting organization representative.


3. Sample letter of commitment for an ensemble commissioning a work to be performed on a self-presented concert:


    This letter serves as a notice of [ensemble’s] intent to commission [composer] to create a new work, [title, if known] for the [ensemble’s] upcoming season of performances and of [composer’s] commitment to undertake this work as formulated in this application.

    Signed by ensemble representative and composer


For an ensemble or presenter commissioning a work to be performed on a local series – use similar language as above, but include all three parties (ensemble, composer and presenter) in the letter and have a representative from each party sign the letter.


List of Participants: All musicians and partner’s addresses must be included in the “List of Participants” section of the Application. Please Note: An application may include guest artists or substitute players from outside the required fifteen greater Bay Area counties, but the project must remain predominantly based within those counties.




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 SFFCM's Executive Director in May of 2017. Please send an email to to arrange a time to receive feedback.



Please be sure to review your application and supporting materials for completeness prior to submission. If, by the deadline, an application is missing required information or supporting materials the application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed by the MGP panel.




MGP 2017 Application is up!





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