Composition Commission



FreshGrass is dedicated to providing roots music artists with opportunities to create new work and to take artistic risks outside the pressures of the commercial music space. We do this through several FreshGrass commissioning programs: the Composition Commission, FreshScores, Album Fund, FreshGrass Concertos, and Collaborations.


The FreshGrass Composition Commission is our flagship grant, given annually to an artist whose work reflects the FreshGrass mission to preserve and support innovative grassroots music. Composition Commission recipients write a new long-form piece of music for an ensemble that includes some elements of traditional string band instrumentation, and the piece has its world premiere at the FreshGrass Festival at MASS MoCA or another FreshGrass event. Half the award is given for the creation and premiere performance, with the other half given to support the recording and release of the work.

2023 Recipients

  • Mr Sun Plays Ellington Plays Tchaikovsky
  • Aoife O’Donovan performs All My Friends and newly commissioned songs for chamber orchestra featuring The Westerlies, Brooklyn Youth Chorus (Dianne Berkun Menager, Artistic Director), Rob Burger, Alan Hampton, & Griffin Goldsmith, conducted by Eric Jacobsen

2022 Recipients

  • Bluegrass Concertos Feat. Jerry Douglas, Sierra Hull, Corner House (Berklee)
  • Black Legacy Project (Co-commissioned by the Momentary)
  • FreshSongs Presents House of Songs (Co-commissioned by the Momentary)

2021 Recipients

  • Steep Canyon Rangers
  • Freshsongs Presents House of Songs (Co-commissioned by the Momentary)

2019 Recipient

  • Kronos Quartet (Winner: Album of the Year @ ’21 Folk Alliance International Awards)

2018 Recipient

2017 Recipient


Album Fund

FreshGrass Album Fund provides funding to artists and bands who are in the creative process of making an album. The funding is in the form of a grant so artists maintain all ownership of their work. These grants offered by FreshGrass Foundation are to inspire and facilitate artist’s and band’s creative freedom. The funds can be used for both production and distribution of new roots songs, music or tracks. Listed below are albums that have been produced with the help of the FreshGrass Album Fund. Click on the names below to learn more about each project and to support the artist.

Are you looking to get an album funded? We want to hear from you! Email us your album idea with the subject line “Album Fund” to

the mammals nonet
scroggins & rose curios


FreshScores are new original scores to films–usually short, usually silent–that FreshGrass commissions each year from esteemed artist(s). The following scores have all premiered at FreshGrass | North Adams at MASS MoCA or FreshGrass | Bentonville at The Momentary, with the artist performing live as the films are screened. This has become a signature element of the FreshGrass Festival.

Some of the great FreshScores featured at FreshGrass includes…

Michael Daves: Manhatta (1921)

Kaia Kater: Frankenstein Leaves for College (1910)

Melissa Carper: The Circus (1928, Charlie Chaplin) and The Battle of the Century (1927)

Alison Brown: A Child of the Ghetto (D.W. Griffith, 1910)

Mamie Minch: The Flying House (1921, Winsor McCay)

Lost Bayou Ramblers: The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter, 1903)

Aoife O’Donovan: As It Is in Life (D.W. Griffith, 1910)

Parsonsfield: Nanook of the North (Robert J. Flaherty, 1922)

Natalie Prass: A film by Jethro Waters

The Mammals: “La Glu” and “The Irresistible Piano” (Alice Guy, 1907)

Stephane Wrembel: Le Voyage dans la lune (Georges Méliès, 1902)

Dom Flemons: The Bronze Buckaroo (Richard C. Kahn, 1939)

Sunny Jain: Speedy (Harold Lloyd, 1928)

Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards: One A.M. (Charlie Chaplin, 1916)

Anna and Elizabeth: Hande (Stella Simon, Miklós Bándy, 1928)

Leyla McCalla: Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940 (1940)

Emel Mathlouthi: The Last Laugh (F. W. Murnau, 1924)

FreshGrass Concertos

Instrumental music is truly among the most ethereal and inspiring artistic forms of creativity. FreshGrass will explore a reinterpretation of the classical music form, the concerto, into the modern world of roots music. The concerto is the ideal platform for a virtuoso player (or players) to celebrate their skills in a way that is already very familiar to roots musicians through dance forms, yet with a new layer of depth and complexity given its more extended musical form. The concerto is a great metaphor for the empowered soloist reveling in his or her individuality and represents life lived on the extreme musical edge. At the same time, the collaborative relationship between the soloist and the ensemble is equally important to the success of the piece.

Stay tuned for more info about FreshGrass Concertos and be sure to sign-up for our email updates so you don’t miss a thing!


Are you an artist with a great idea? Interested in bringing it to life with the help of FreshGrass? Let’s connect!

Email us your pitch with the subject line “Collaborations” to