Graduate Music Award

Many Presser Music Award Recipients Use Funds to Travel to Festivals and Educational Programs like The Aspen Music Festival and School.

*Please note that The Foundation only accepts proposals from invited graduate schools of music.

Introduction & Purpose

Invited annually, graduate schools of music at accredited colleges, universities and independent institutions of higher education have been invited to present the Presser Graduate Music Award to an outstanding graduate music student whom they select.

The program is designed to encourage and support in a special way the advanced education and career of truly exceptional graduate music students who have the potential to make a distinguished contribution to the field of music.

The Award is a cash stipend of up to $10,000, which is made available to a graduate student designated by the institution, provided that the institution agrees to the terms of participation and based upon receipt by The Foundation of a suitable plan prepared by the nominated recipient for use of the money. The amount of the award varies from year to year based on the number of graduate institutions.

The recipient is first nominated to The Presser Foundation by the executive head of the music school, utilizing judgments of faculty members able to gauge the relative merits of currently enrolled students who will be returning for further study next year.


The institution shall be of exceptional quality and distinction and be selected by The Foundation to participate in the program.

The recipient of the Presser Graduate Music Award shall be a returning graduate student who has demonstrated superb musical talent with emphasis in one or more of these areas:  performance, composition, musicology, music education.

The Presser Graduate Music Award is to be paid to the chosen Award recipient in cash or check and must be in addition to and NOT replace existing music scholarship support from the institutionIt is not to be applied towards tuition, housing costs, and other expenses normally incurred in pursuit of a degree.  Rather it is a supplement for enrichment and musical advancement, and is intended to afford to the Award recipient opportunities, which are not normally provided in a university or conservatory setting. The Presser Foundation also requests that proposals NOT include expenses associated with applying to and auditioning at other graduate schools of music for further study.

Award Recipient Criteria

Consistent with our Social Justice Statement and Values, the Foundation seeks to promote diversity, equity, inclusion, and access in our processes, practices, and decisions.

The student nominated shall submit to The Presser Foundation a written statement indicating how the Award, if granted, would be used in furtherance of his or her musical education and career.  To indicate The Foundation’s intent, the following are illustrative but not limiting:

1. A summer abroad to study with a noted teacher;

2. Travel to audition with orchestras, opera companies, chamber ensembles, etc., for professional opportunities;

3. Short-term enrollment in programs such as Aspen and Tanglewood.

The Foundation seeks proposals that are imaginative as well as practical and which will make clear how use of the stipend will enhance the student’s professional development.

Online Grant Management

The Presser Foundation uses an online grant management system powered by Foundant.  The system allows for all prospective and current grantees to submit proposals and reports online.


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