The Paul R. Judy Center for Innovation and Research is a division of the Institute for Music Leadership (IML) at the Eastman School of Music. The Center’s research and programming emphasizes the 21st Century evolution of the innovative ensemble, influenced by both the symphony orchestra and the chamber music traditions, with a focus on creative, artist-centered ensembles that reflect new models of artistic innovation, organizational relationships, and operational sustainability.

The Paul R. Judy Center Grant provides funding for research and innovative projects. The October 2023 grant cycle is open to all US-based musicians or musical arts organizations. The February 2024 grant cycle will be reserved for Eastman students, alumni, faculty and staff, and the organizations they represent. Eastman affiliates must be involved in the project proposal and execution, and submit the application in their name in order to be eligible in the spring. Grants will range from $5000-$10,000. 

October 2023 and February 2024 Funding Priorities:

The PRJC recognizes that the music profession must engage in systemic and transformational change in pursuit of a more just and equitable arts ecosystem. The time is now for all musical arts organizations to take bold and decisive actions to enact structural change. The integrity of the entire music profession – from the individual musician to the largest orchestra – is dependent upon these actions. To that end, the PRJC grant program will support innovative projects and research focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion in all elements of our profession, with a prioritization of projects that advance anti-racism work in the arts. The PRJC seeks projects and research that have potential for lasting and sustainable change in our field.

Grant Program Categories:

Research Support.  Interested individuals may submit a proposal to support a research project that aligns with the stated funding priorities. Funding may go toward travel, lodging, or other costs in order to complete the project (but not food).  Below are examples of recent research topics:

Hipster Opera: Research on The Industry 
Megan Steigerwald Ille (St. Louis, MO)

Indy Classical: Hip Consumerism and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra/New Amsterdam Partnership
Natalie Farrell (Indianapolis, IN)

New Music Theater and the New Music Ensemble
Ryan Ebright (Perrysburg, OH)

The Aesthetics of “Indie-Classical”: Music in the Age of Post-Postmodernism
Anna Reguero (Stamford, CT)

Innovative Projects.  Individuals, ad hoc groups, and pre-formed ensembles may apply for support for a project that aligns with the stated funding priorities of the PRJC Grant Program.  This category is intentionally broad and may encompass a wide range of activities.  A few examples of projects include educational engagement programs, concerts, and recording projects.  Below are three examples of past grant winners, with links to more information about their projects.

International Contemporary Ensemble
OpenICE, a new international initiative offering free programming in three major areas: Live Concerts, Online Innovation, and Education

Third Coast Percussion
March, 2015 performance at Constellation in Chicago, featuring the premiere of three new percussion quartets

Othello in the Seraglio, a music drama featuring 16th and 17th century European and Turkish musical sources along with original music by Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, presented at Oberon/American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, MA and Le Poisson Rouge in New York, NY

Who Can Apply

The October 2023 grant cycle is open to all applicants. The Feburary 2024 grant cycle will be reserved for Eastman students, alumni, faculty and staff, and the organizations they represent. There is no restriction in terms of age or professional level.  Students are encouraged to apply.  Previous grantees are eligible to apply and receive awards each year; there is no restriction on the number of consecutive awards a group or individual can receive.  However, priority will be given to groups and individuals who have not previously received an award from this program.

Instructions for Applying

All proposals must be submitted via the form at the bottom of this page by October 1, 2023 at 11:59pm eastern time or February 1, 2024 at 11:59pm eastern time. Please note: Through the IML, the Paul R. Judy Center is interested in supporting creative and innovative projects by funding expenses that are directly related to the proposed project. Funding for capital expenses such as technology purchases are possible but less appealing to the grant committee. Funding should always be used for direct project and program expenses.

Applicants are welcome to email IML Program Manager Jeff Dunn with questions:

Grant advising does not guarantee funding.

Notification of Awards

A panel of judges will review the submitted proposals and make recommendations for awards. The IML reserves the right to not select any grantees. For the October 1 deadline, applicants will be notified by November 15. For the February 1 deadline, applicants will be notified by March 15. Successful grantees will receive an explanation of the amount of their grant, as well as an explanation of specific expenses indicated in the grantee’s budget proposal that the money is intended to support. Thus, the submission of an accurate and detailed budget is very important. Under no circumstances will food or beverages be considered a reimbursable expense. Grantees will receive half of the grant amount upon acceptance of the award, and the second half of the grant amount upon submission of a post-project report. The post-project report must be submitted within 30 days of completion of the project

Requirements of Grantees

If awarded a grant, the project should be completed within three years of signing the grant agreement. To accept, grantees must submit a headshot and bio of themselves or group to be used for promotional purposes. Grantees are required to have a brief meeting within two months of accepting the grant after accepting the award to discuss their funding timeline with the IML Program Manager.

Grantees must also submit a post-project report to complete their obligation. This report should be between 250 and 500 words, and detail the completion of the project, applicable research findings, assessed impact, any applicable next steps for research or ongoing projects, and use of the PRJC Grant funding. The grantor reserves the right to use this report in part or whole, on the IML website, marketing materials, and social media accounts.

Grantees, and/or any delegated or related parties collaborating on the project, are required to have a conversation with the IML Program Manager recorded for Careers in Crescendo: Lessons for Musicians. This can be scheduled at a beneficial time for the grantees, at the discretion of the Program Manager.

Note: An asterisk next to any form item means an entry is required.