WPA Performance Grants Overview

***The WPA Board of Directors is currently in conversation regarding how to best to move forward with the WPA Grants for the coming season.  We recognize the extraordinary circumstances that have been created due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are working to make sure that the grant funding will be of best use to organizations that are in need of support.***


WPA was founded in 2008, to carry on the legacy of The Women’s Philharmonic (1981-2004); and to encourage orchestras to include more music composed by women in their programming. The first Performance Grants were offered in 2012. The Grants have been offered annually since 2014.


ALL U.S. orchestras, including previous winners of the WPA Performance Grants, are welcome to apply.  Student and youth ensembles are particularly encouraged to apply. We are defining “orchestra” as an ensemble of ten or more performers featuring bowed string instruments of the violin family.  Opera companies and choirs are welcome to apply for performances that include orchestral forces.

Criteria for Selection

We are looking for a commitment to creative orchestral programming, expanding the canon and exploring new horizons, and offering educational components along with the concerts. It is suggested (but not required) to program two works by women. Also, we prefer that one of the two works be by a historic woman. Past and future commitment to programming of works by women is a plus, as is an understanding of the historic factors that were obstacles to the inclusion of works by women in the repertoire.

We encourage orchestras to consider creative and interactive ways to provide information about the music and the unique features of women’s lives to their audiences.  In the case of living composers, a visit by the composer herself with the audience and musicians is a valuable experience (whether in person or through technology like Skype). Particularly for youth and student groups, information and educational events should be available to the musicians as well as to audiences.

We require a link to an audio clip/recording.  This is both to demonstrate the artistic ability of your ensemble and also to demonstrate your technical ability (your ability to put an audio file up on the web), which we hope will be used to publicize the work that your orchestra is doing in performing music by women.

We hope you will make information about the work by women that you perform available on your ensemble’s website (with audio as well), and make it available beyond the performance season. This is a great way to generate “buzz” about your creative programming, and your ongoing commitment to recognizing women!

We reserve the right not to award all the available funds in the current grant cycle.

Performance Requirements

We ask orchestras receiving our grants to acknowledge us (including our logo and URL) in their program material and on their website. If possible, we would like to review a draft of the program notes on the relevant piece(s) in advance, since we can sometimes offer additional information.  Also we hope grant recipients will continue to program works by women in the future!  Ensembles who fail to meet Performance Requirements will be ineligible for future funding.  We understand that occasionally programming changes must occur.  If that were to happen, please contact us to inform us of the program change, whether the change is in date of performance or chosen work.

Getting Started

Please refer to the 2019 WPA Performance Grant Application Application Overview to get started. We also offer an Application Worksheet to guide your process, and a FAQ page as well as personal help for program-related questions or technical questions.

Good luck and thank you for your interest in our mission to more fully represent and perform the entire roster of exciting classical repertoire composed by women.

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