In response to a question last December you said a gift from a donor to a 501(c)(3) nonprofit community band designated for a “holiday gift” for the conductor would not be a deductible as a charitable contribution and would be taxable income for the conductor. I am on a symphony board and as part of our Annual Campaign we ask donors to sponsor musicians, instrumental sections, first chairs, guest artists, and concerts. Will there be a problem with the deductibility of these donations? All the musicians and the conductor are independent contractors and not employees. There is no effort to link donations to individuals but rather positions.
From your description, it sounds as though the gifts will be deductible. The key difference is that the gifts are not designated for specific individuals, but are given to the symphony to support specific parts of its overall program. I think you can analogize your situation to gifts to a university for scholarships, academic departments, professorships, lecture series, or for general educational purposes. They are for the benefit of the organization, not named individuals, and therefore should qualify as charitable contributions for which deductions can be claimed.