There’s no better introduction to the process of commissioning than reading what the American Composers Forum has to say about it.
Here are a few supplementary thoughts to that excellent document:
My commissioning history
As of this writing, I have completed over 200 commissions for original music and arrangements. I have composed music to celebrate birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, retirements, Father’s Day, Minnesota’s 150th year of statehood, and the end of WWI, to name a few. I have written for dance and theatrical productions, a candlelight vigil for victims of capital punishment, and an opera for fourth-graders about alien invasion.
Things to think about concerning your project
- What the piece is for (who or what is being commemorated; what program will it be a part of)
- The performing forces (what kind of ensemble, voices, soloists, instruments)
- Approximate performing duration of piece
- If the piece is to have a text, do you have one in mind? If not, what style/author/message/period would you like?
- Performance date and/or delivery date of score
N.B. You don’t have to have answers to any of these questions; I will likely have plenty of ideas to make music from. But the more you can define your desires and context for your proposed piece, the more likely I will be able to produce something that will fully satisfy. It gives me perspective that I need to produce music that you and the performers can feel pride and ownership of.
Finding the money (aside from your personal funds)
- Donors (direct or crowd-sourced)
- Grants (if you are a not-for-profit organization)
- Consortium commissioning – a group of people or organizations each of whom commit to a portion of the commission fee. Such groups can be made up of similar arts organizations; supporters of your performer(s); supporters of the person or event the piece will celebrate.
Our project will begin upon the signing of a contract which will outline the agreements that you and I will make concerning the piece, its content, its ownership, and the commitments made on both sides.
Drop me a note if you have an idea to pitch. I’m always happy to dream about new music with you.
Have a question or want to pitch an idea?
Get in touch with me here.