Commissioning a new piece of music is a participation a centuries-long tradition of supporting composers by inviting their creative process into relationship with the needs of your organization.
New music is commissioned for many purposes. I have written music for a variety of reasons and occasions, including:
- For retirements and ordinations of beloved ministers
- For a choir director's 20th anniversary
- For a couple's wedding, as a gift from the bride's parents
- For a church's founding anniversary
- For a church's new building dedication
- For a community chorus seeking new music from local composers
- For a denominational relief effort following Hurricane Katrina
- For a community gospel choir performing at Nashville's Symphony Hall with orchestra
What kind of work(s) can I commisson?
What do you want? In addition to hymns and choral anthems, I have been commissioned to write/arrange music for the theatre, ritual music for worship, and large-scale works for chorus and orchestra for major celebrations. There are no limits as to what interests me as a composer, so ask for what you need!
So, how do I get started?
There are many variables to consider when starting out with a commissioning process. As we get to know each other, we'll explore the connection(s) between the mission/vision of your organization and the kind of work you want me to write. We'll consider the parameters of the commission - things like musical style, instrumentation, voicing, difficulty, text (original or extant), timeline for delivery, the degree to which I might be involved in rehearsal/performance of the piece, and, of course, fees.
Oh right, fees. What's this going to cost?
Once we're on the same page about the scope of the commission, we can work out a fee (and payment schedule) that is mutually agreeable. Fees vary according to the variables outlined above, but most of my commissions have fallen into the $1,500-$3,000 range. Length, instrumentation and text are the major components that make for pricier commissions, so keep that in mind when imagining your project in the first place.
OK, so now what?
Now that we have the general outline of the project and have settled on a commissioning fee, it's time to put it into writing. The Commissioning Agreement or Contract includes all of the agreed-upon details of the commission as understood by the commissioning agent (you) and the composer (me). Once it has been signed by both parties, the project is officially given the green light. The contract is essential for mutual accountability, and helps to keep everyone well-informed about the process of the commission. If changes come up, they will be reflected in a contract revision so that there are no surprises along the way.
Got it. Let's do it!
Co-imagining new music that will inspire and enliven your choir/ensemble and their audience is a tremendous joy, and being entrusted with your project is a great honor for me. What will we dream up? I can't wait to find out.