Celebrating History: CAP Grants Since 1963

Celebrating History: CAP Grants Since 1963


Number of Grants Awarded: 1774Number of Grantees: 1201
Average Grant: $712.67Adjusted for inflation: $1,237.58
Total amount granted: $1,263,561.12 Adjusted for inflation: $2,195,470.50

Pulitzer Prize winners/CAP recipients:

This past summer, the AMC undertook research to chronicle the history of the Copying Assistance Program—analyzing funding and applicant trends, and highlighting notable applications—in order to accurately profile the program’s impact. Greg Spears, a doctoral student at Princeton, was the primary researcher on the project.

Since its inception, one of the critical missions of the program has been a desire to support young composers at decisive moments in their careers by underwriting production costs for performances of their work. This has allowed them to advance their careers while avoiding large debts incurred through copying bills.

By all indication, this mission has been fulfilled with great success. To date, 1774 grants have been awarded. Twenty-three CAP recipients have gone on to win the Pulitzer Prize, including Ellen Taaffe Zwilich (the first woman to do so) in 1983 for her Three Movements for Orchestra, Symphony No. 1 (the same piece was awarded a $850 CAP grant in 1982). Beyond that, many of the pieces funded by the program could qualify as “breakthrough” works in the careers of now prominent American composers such as David Del Tredici, John Corigliano, Robert Helps, Ralph Shapey, Charles Wuorinen, Henry Brant, Donald Erb, Todd Levin, Stephen Albert, Morton Subotnick, William Albright, Christopher Rouse, Alan Hovhaness, Aaron Jay Kernis, Laurie Anderson, Steve Reich, John Harbison, Ben Johnston, William Bolcom, Michael Daugherty, Michael Torke, and David Lang, who were all partially funded by CAP grants between 1962 and 1989.

Time, as we know, can be an unusual critic and who’s to say which of these works will endure. But a look down this list does indicate that the CAP program has contributed quite significantly to the progress of American music.

CAP chart
Source: American Music Center

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