The Merian Ensemble, based in Atlanta, Georgia, is one of 85 awardees of funding from the 2023 New Music Organization Fund. L-R: Merian Ensemble musicians Jessica Oudin, Marci Gurnow, Christina Smith, Elisabeth Remy Johnson, and Emily Brebach. (image courtesy of Atlanta Symphony Orchestra)

The Merian Ensemble among New Music USA’s 2023 New Music Organization Fund awardees

EarRelevant Staff | 16 AUG 2023

New York, NY— New Music USA has announced the selection of 85 awardees for their 2023 New Music Organization Fund, which provides grants to outstanding organizations that regularly work with and support the development of music creators and artists and offer a crucial resource to their community. Totaling $620,750 in funding, this year’s awards support groups working in various genres that need support to sustain their new music programming, nurturing of music creators, and other services.

Among the awardees, and the sole grant recipient based in Georgia, is The Merian Ensemble which applied for funding in the General Support category. The Merian Ensemble is a chamber music group composed of ASO musicians Elisabeth Remy Johnson, Christina Smith, Emily Brebach, Marci Gurnow, and Jessica Oudin, dedicated to performing works by women composers.

Awardees have demonstrated a deep and consistent impact on their community of artists and music lovers, including music organizations, performance groups, dance organizations, festivals, presenters, and venues spanning 20 states. These awards reflect New Music USA’s aim to work locally and regionally to increase and deepen its impact across the many diverse music communities in the US. It follows the announcement of $208,050 in funds awarded to 60 creators from across 21 states through the Creator Fund this past spring.


For this grant cycle, which attracted 523 applications, New Music USA made some minor changes to the Organization Fund in response to community feedback to better highlight its support of music for dance and to enable applicants who prefer funding for commissions to apply alongside those who are seeking general support for ongoing new music programs. Applicants were asked to select one of the following categories for their funding opportunity: General Support, Creation of New Work, or Live Music for Dance projects. Live Music for Dance Awardees constitutes 18% of the awardee group, Creation of New Work awardees are 21%, and General Support is 61%.

See the complete list of awardees below:

Live Music for Dance

  • Ananya Dance Theatre – Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Art of the Matter Performance Foundation/Deborah Slater Dance Theater – San Francisco, California
  • AXIS Dance Company – Berkeley, California
  • Creative Netwerk – Astoria, New York
  • Dark Circles Contemporary Dance – Las Cruces, New Mexico
  • Flyaway Productions – San Francisco, California
  • Heidi Duckler Dance – Los Angeles, California
  • Jeremy McQueen’s Black Iris Project – New York, New York
  • José Limón Dance Foundation – New York, New York
  • Katha Dance Theatre – Crystal, Minnesota
  • La Donna Dance, Inc. – New York, New York
  • LED – Boise, Idaho
  • Nava Dance Theatre – Alamo, California
  • ODC Theater – San Francisco, California
  • Parsons Dance – New York, New York
  • ShaLeigh Dance Works – Rougemont, North Carolina
  • The Leela Institute – West Hills, California
  • Treehouse Shakers – New York, New York
  • Yaa Samar! Dance Theatre – Brooklyn, New York

General Support

  • American Composers Orchestra – New York, New York
  • ANIKAYA/Akhra, Inc. – New York, New York
  • Ars Nova Workshop – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Audium Theater – San Francisco, California
  • Bang on a Can – Brooklyn, New York
  • Brooklyn Raga Massive – Brooklyn, New York
  • CapitalBop – Washington, District of Columbia
  • Chicxs Rockerxs South East Los Angeles – Bell Gardens, California
  • Composers Now – New York, New York
  • Copland House – Peekskill, New York
  • Creative Music Foundation, Inc. (AKA Creative Music Studio) – Woodstock, New York
  • DC Jazz Festival – Washington, District of Columbia
  • D-Composed Gives – Chicago, Illinois
  • Earshot Jazz Society of Seattle – Seattle, Washington
  • Either/Or Ensemble – New York, New York
  • Elastic Arts Foundation – Chicago, Illinois
  • Experiments in Opera – Brooklyn, New York
  • HEAL Center for the Arts – Saint Louis, Missouri
  • Hub New Music – Ann Arbor, Michigan
  • Imani Winds Foundation – New York, New York
  • InfraSound – Brooklyn, New York
  • International Contemporary Ensemble – Brooklyn, New York
  • Inversion Ensemble – Austin, Texas
  • ISSUE Project Room – New York, New York
  • Luna Composition Lab – New York, New York
  • Motor City Sings – Detroit, Michigan
  • Music Kitchen – Food for the Soul – New York, New York
  • Musiqa – Houston, Texas
  • Mutual Mentorship for Musicians – Woodside, New York
  • New Music Gathering – Brooklyn, NY
  • Next Edge Arts, Inc. – Raleigh, North Carolina
  • NYC Winter Jazzfest – Brooklyn, New York
  • Peninsula Women’s Chorus – Palo Alto, California
  • Project [BLANK] – San Diego, California
  • Qubit – Brooklyn, New York
  • Ravinia Festival – Highland Park, IL
  • Roulette Intermedium – Brooklyn, New York
  • Sound Off: Music For Bail – New York, New York
  • Sparks & Wiry Cries – Lansing, New York
  • The Crossing – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • The Jazz Gallery – New York, New York
  • The Lab – San Francisco, California
  • The Merian Ensemble – Atlanta, Georgia
  • Trilogy an Opera Company – Newark, New Jersey
  • Trinosophes Projects – Detroit, Michigan
  • Unison Learning Center, Inc., d/b/a/ Unison Arts – New Paltz, New York
  • Verdigris Ensemble – District 14, Texas
  • Wild Up – Los Angeles, California

Creation of New Work

  • Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts – Omaha, Nebraska
  • Beth Morrison Projects, Inc. – Brooklyn, New York
  • Cal Performances – Berkeley, California
  • Contemporary Youth Orchestra – Cleveland, Ohio
  • EMPAC / Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts
  • Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute – Troy, New York
  • Harlem Stage – New York, New York
  • Kronos Quartet – San Francisco, California
  • Mantra Percussion Inc. – Woodside, New York
  • Original Music Workshop d.b.a. National Sawdust – Brooklyn, New York
  • Orpheus Chamber Orchestra – New York, New York
  • Palaver Strings – Portland, Maine
  • Pittsburgh Opera – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Portland Jazz Composers Ensemble – Portland, Oregon
  • PRISM Quartet, Inc. – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Silkroad – Brighton, Massachusetts
  • The West Kortright Centre, Inc. – East Meredith, New York
  • VisionIntoArt – Brooklyn, New York
  • Works & Process, Inc. – New York, New York

New Music USA demonstrates a commitment to equitable grant programs by removing barriers in the application process and consistently elevating all artists and organizations benefiting from its support. Applicants for the Organization Fund receive clear guidelines and must submit a concise project description (written or video recorded) and work samples. The primary criteria for the fund encompass artistry, impact, need, equity, and inclusion.

The peer review process for New Music USA’s Organization Fund applications reflects ongoing efforts to dismantle bias. For this round, New Music USA engaged 19 artists, composers, musicians, and administrators from diverse locations across the country, forming a panel comprising 78% identifying as women or nonbinary and 51% identifying as BIPOC.

The panelists from across the US who reviewed Organization Fund applications were Nanci Belmont, Ixi Chen, Cory Combs, Kitty Daniels, Aliana de la Guardia, Alexa Dumont, Carmina Escobar, Teresa Fellion, Jonathan Golove, Juliette Jones, DaEun Jung, Alia Kache, Lisa Lipton, Christopher Nicholas, Carl Hancock Rux, Roshni Samlal, Alexandria Smith, AhSa-Ti Nu Tyehimba-Ford, and Yongyun Zhang.

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Generous funders who contribute to New Music USA’s endowment or donate annually make the New Music Organization Fund and New Music Creator Fund possible. Certain funders stipulate specific preferences for the types of supported work due to their geographic location or specialized genre focus, with approximately 46% of funds allocated to artists or organizations based in New York.

New Music USA fosters and amplifies the sounds of the future by nurturing the creation, performance, and appreciation of new music for intrepid listeners in the United States and beyond. The organization empowers and connects US music makers, organizations, and audiences through grant funding, program support, knowledge enrichment via its online magazine, NewMusicBox, and advocacy efforts for the field’s advancement.


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