Our Offices & Partners Abroad

Guidelines for Applicants Music

The Arts Council’s criteria for support as well as information about the procedures for submitting an application and the deadlines are contained in the Guidelines for applicants.

1. General conditions

Status: January 2019

Pro Helvetia promotes contemporary Swiss music creation and activities, with a focus on diversity as well as on national and international appeal. It supports the creation of works of music, the dissemination of Swiss music abroad, cultural exchange within Switzerland as well as audience outreach of music. As a national institution, Pro Helvetia supplements the promotional activities of Swiss cantons and municipalities and supports only projects that are cross-regionally or internationally recognised.

To qualify for support from Pro Helvetia, the project must

  • be clearly connected to Switzerland;
  • be of nationwide importance;
  • be publicly accessible;
  • be adequately co-financed by other public or private sponsors (incl. event organisers).

2. Scope of promotion

2.1 Work grants

Pro Helvetia provides work grants for Swiss composers as well as for Swiss music groups and music theatre ensembles. Support is granted for:

  • The composition of new works. A precondition is that the new pieces are premiered at a nationally renowned festival and/or as part of a series of concerts. Applications for such a work grant are usually submitted by the event organiser;
  • the production of recordings (e.g. CD etc.) in the areas jazz and pop music. This includes the creation of a new repertoire, recording, as well as international distribution and promotion. No support is granted for first-time productions (i.e. without prior CDs or other sound carrier recordings). Applications for such a work grant can be submitted by musicians or labels. The financial contribution is remitted partly to the musicians, partly to the label for international promotion work;
  • productions in the field of music theatre. Contributions can be granted to independent music theatre productions from Switzerland and to co-productions by Swiss and foreign music theatre ensembles. A condition for support is that several performance dates at least two transregionally recognised venues have been confirmed, and that at least one of these venues is in Switzerland.

2.2 Project contributions

2.2.1 Events in Switzerland

Pro Helvetia supports:

  • cross-regionally renowned festivals or concert series where Swiss compositions are world-premiered;
  • organisers of Swiss music events that place great emphasis on exchange between the linguistic regions of Switzerland in their programme.

2.2.2 Events abroad

Pro Helvetia supports:

  • Swiss ensembles and musicians in connection with tours abroad, as well as performances at internationally renowned festivals and venues;
  • internationally renowned festivals and venues for the inclusion of Swiss ensembles and music practitioners in their programme and/or the performance of contemporary Swiss works;
  • foreign ensembles and musicians for the performance of contemporary Swiss compositions;
  • independent Swiss music theatre ensembles for tours and guest performances at internationally renowned festivals and venues;
  • specialists who contribute to the content of public events outside of Switzerland on topics connected with Swiss music.

In the domain of classical music, a significant part of any supported programme must be dedicated to contemporary Swiss music.

As a rule, the amount of support is measured against the travel expenses. Event organisers are expected to make an appropriate contribution to local costs and fees.

2.2.3 High priority jazz promotion

With its three-year support programme, Pro Helvetia fosters selected young Swiss jazz formations that have already gained transregional acclaim, have undertaken international concert tours, and whose goal it is to enhance their presence on the international scene. The programme includes financial contributions towards tours, coaching offers and assistance in publicity matters.

Dossier High priority jazz promotion

2.2.4 Arts and audience projects

Pro Helvetia supports arts and audience projects in Switzerland that engage audiences in personal encounters with professional artistic creation and thereby heighten their awareness of artistic works and presentations. Projects can be considered for promotion if they contain an innovative approach to outreach and education in practice and therefore are of nationwide exemplary nature or if they focus on more than one linguistic region in Switzerland.

Factsheet on the promotion of arts and audience outreach

2.2.5 Residencies

Pro Helvetia supports studio and research residencies of Swiss music practitioners in China, India (or other south Asian countries), Russia, Egypt (or other Arab countries) and Southern Africa.

Guidelines Residencies

2.2.6 Publications and translations

Pro Helvetia supports the publication of work by professionally qualified Swiss authors dealing with topics related to Swiss music production from a contemporary perspective.

Pro Helvetia also supports the translation of theme-based publications dealing with topics of Swiss music production from a contemporary perspective. The authors do not necessarily have to be Swiss.

Factsheet on the promotion of non-fiction book projects

2.3 Promotion of aspiring artists

Pro Helvetia supports aspiring artists primarily in collaboration with recognised institutions in Switzerland and abroad (production sites, festivals, etc.). The promotion is aimed at composers and Swiss bands with outstanding potential and prospects of a national or an international career. Aspiring music practitioners are supported during the first five years of their professional artistic career either after they have obtained their artistic degree or following the first public presentation of their work. The upper age limit for support is 35. Only projects that are conducive to establishing the artist in a professional environment at national and international level are eligible for support.

3. Exclusions

Pro Helvetia provides no support if

  • the same part of the project is already supported by other Federal institutions (e.g. Swiss Federal Office of Culture, Presence Switzerland, Swiss National Science Foundation, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation);
  • the project is part of a school, college or university curriculum or a training course (incl. research projects, theses, dissertations, diploma projects, scholarship projects, etc.);
  • the support is intended for infrastructure or equipment costs, or for the operational costs of cultural institutions, archives or collections;
  • the project is not dependent on financial support.

4. Dossier contents

An application to Pro Helvetia must contain the following items:

  • description of the project;
  • place and date of the event(s);
  • information on the key persons involved;
  • detailed budget and finance plan including specification of the contribution requested from Pro Helvetia;
  • further documentation such as media clips, recordings and musical scores.

Pro Helvetia accepts applications exclusively via www.myprohelvetia.ch.

5. Application deadlines and time until decision is taken

Applications not subject to a fixed deadline are decided on within eight weeks, those subject to a fixed deadline within four months.

Application typeApplication deadlineBeginning of events
Work grants (compositions, productions of recordings and productions in the field of music theatre)1 Septemberfrom 1 January
1 Marchfrom 1 July
Project grants up to CHF 25‘000 towards events in Switzerland and abroad ongoing, up to 8 weeks before the first event
Project grants of over CHF 25‘000 towards events in Switzerland and abroad1 Septemberfrom 1 January
1 Decemberfrom 1 April
1 Marchfrom 1 July
1 Junefrom 1 October
High priority jazz promotion1 Septemberfrom 1 January

6. Processing of applications

6.1 Pre-assessment

Pro Helvetia decides to process an application only if

  • the project in question fulfils the general criteria for support (cf. section 1);
  • there is no reason for exclusion (cf. section 3);
  • the application is complete and has been submitted on time (cf. sections 4 and 5).

6.2 Qualitative evaluation

Pro Helvetia assesses whether

  • the project fulfils the requirements of high artistic and technical quality;
  • the project is executed in accordance with professional standards;
  • the costs are proportionate to the impact expected;
  • the project is likely to have a long-term Impact.

6.3 Decision-making bodies

  • Work grants: The decision on applications is taken by the directorate of Pro Helvetia on recommendation of a jury.
  • Project contributions: The decision on requests for up to CHF 25,000 is taken by the specialist division; for requests in the range of CHF 25,000 to CHF 50,000, the decision is taken by Pro Helvetia’s Cultural Promotion department.
  • The decision on applications for more than CHF 50,000 as well as on several years of support agreements is taken by the directorate of Pro Helvetia at the request of the Committee of Experts and after consultation with the Management Board; decisions on applications for over CHF 300,000 must be approved by the Board of Trustees.

6.4 Notification of a decision

A decision is communicated without detailed reasons being given. On receipt of the decision, applicants can demand an official decision statement from Pro Helvetia against which an appeal can be lodged.

6.5 Obligations of recipients of support from Pro Helvetia

A pledge of support by Pro Helvetia places certain obligations on the applicants. If the applicants do not fulfil these obligations, Pro Helvetia is entitled to reduce the amount of support accordingly or demand a refund of support payments already made.

Factsheet for grant recipients

6.6 Disbursement

Pro Helvetia makes the support payments only after a final report, including the accounts, has been examined. Advance payments are possible on request. Unless the applicants notify Pro Helvetia of any delays, funding expires at the latest one year after the project’s closing date specified in the application dossier. If no closing date has been specified, Pro Helvetia sets deadlines itself.

6.7 Appeals

Decision statements from Pro Helvetia can be appealed within 30 days of the date of receipt. The appeals must be lodged with the Federal Administrative Court (Bundesverwaltungsgericht). An appeal must include the original application as well as the reasons for the appeal, including appropriate evidence, and must be signed by the appellant. The decision statement being appealed against needs to be enclosed as evidence. Appellants bear the costs of this procedure.

Appeals are to be submitted to:
CH-9023 St. Gallen

7. Purpose of the guidelines and legal basis

The guidelines explain what is needed to submit a complete application for support from Pro Helvetia for an artistic or a cultural project, what the criteria for the evaluation of an application are, what deadlines and procedures apply, and what legal steps can be taken. The guidelines supplement the Grant Ordinance (Verordnung über Beiträge der Stiftung Pro Helvetia) adopted by Pro Helvetia’s Board of Trustees on 23 November 2011 as well as the Arts and Culture Promotion Act (Kulturförderungsgesetz) of 11 December 2009 and the Arts and Culture Promotion Ordinance (Kulturförderungsverordnung) of 23 November 2011. These legal documents can be accessed (in German, French and Italian) on Pro Helvetia’s website at


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