The Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service

A Program of the League of American Orchestras
Made Possible by

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Apply Now! Applications Due March 5, 2018

"The Ford Musician Awards experience and the funding for musician training have been so beneficial to me personally and our Music for Health Initiative overall"
2017 Awardee Diane McElfish Helle, Violin, Grand Rapids Symphony (MI)

About The Ford Musician Awards

Orchestra musicians are devoting an increasing amount of time, effort, and resources to community service activities that extend beyond the concert hall. To recognize the commitment of these extraordinary musicians and the impact of their work, the League seeks applications for The 2018 Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service.

Now in its third year, the awards program, made possible through the generosity of Ford Motor Company Fund, honors and celebrates professional orchestra musicians who provide exemplary and meaningful service in their communities and make a significant impact through education and community engagement. The Awards shine a spotlight on the work of these musicians with people of low incomes, the homebound elderly, immigrants, veterans, prisoners, students, and all those who may not otherwise have access to—or who are not traditionally served by—orchestras.

Award Details

  • Five musicians will be selected through a competitive application process, and each will receive a cash award of $2,500.
  • Each musician’s orchestra will receive a grant of $2,500 to support professional development for its roster of musicians.
  • The musician and one staff member from the orchestra will receive complimentary registration for the League’s National Conference, as well as round-trip airfare and one-night‘s hotel accommodation.


  • Your orchestra must be a League member in good standing. Youth, collegiate, and international orchestras are not eligible.
  • The community engagement work you do is performed under the auspices of your orchestra.
  • You must be a full-time member of the orchestra, with at least one year’s employment at the time of application. Substitute musicians and conductors are not eligible.
  • You have been performing your community engagement work for at least a year.
  • You and an orchestra representative must be available to attend the League’s National Conference in Chicago, June 13-15, 2018 to receive the award and participate as speakers in a session on community engagement and education. The exact date and time will be announced.
  • Awardees and their orchestras must produce a 3-5 minute video showcasing their work for the Conference session mentioned above. Please note, $1,500 will be provided to assist in the production of this video. Examples can be found by visiting our Ford Musician Awards website.
  • Past applicants are encouraged to apply again. Previous recipients are not eligible.

Application Instructions

Deadline: March 5, 2018 (midnight)

  • Complete application form, click here.
  • Pay $35 application fee.

Please prepare in advance the following materials to upload in support of your application:

  • Personal video statement (no more than three minutes in duration)
  • Resume (no more than two pages)
  • Letter of support from orchestra’s VP or director of education and community engagement or equivalent position or executive director (to be submitted via online portal by writer)
  • Letter of support from letter of support from a staff member with the related community organization or group (to be submitted via online portal by writer)
  • Optional: Images or video that help tell the story of the work you do (optional)

Personal Video Statement Guidelines

  • Only YouTube or Vimeo links will be accepted. If the video is password protected, please share that with us.
  • Using your phone to make the video is perfectly acceptable. It’s what you say and what you do, not the production value that is being evaluated.
  • Tell us your story. Inspire us.
  • Why do you love the work you do?
  • How is this work making a difference in your community?
  • How is your work affecting the individuals you engage?   

Letters of Support Guidelines

  • Only PDF files will be accepted. No more than two pages, using a standard, plain font.
  • How long have you known and worked with the applicant?
  • Please describe the impact their work is making in your community / organization.
  • What makes their work stand above others who perform similar community services?
  • Why should they be selected as a Ford Musician Awards winner?


Contact James Barry, manager, learning and leadership programs, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


The Ford Musician Awards for Excellence in Community Service,
a program of the League of American Orchestras,
is made possible by the generous support of 
Ford Motor Company Fund.




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