Interested in commissioning a new piece
or learning more about the process?
Here are my answers to a few FAQs, to give you a quick overview:
What IS a CommissionED PIECE?
When you commission a piece, you pay a composer to create a new musical work with specific instrumentation, voicing, length, for a special event, etc. It’s a piece of music tailored to you and your ensemble.
Why Commission a New Piece?
Often, groups commission pieces to celebrate a particular event, anniversary, person, or other special occasion. Others commission a composer simply because they like their writing and think it would be meaningful to have a piece written specifically for them.
Whatever your reason, commissioning a new piece is an exciting process. It brings a new work of art to life, written specifically for you, to be enjoyed by countless generations of musicians and audiences. The piece will always carry the designation, “Commissioned by [you!]”
How much does it cost?
The commission fee depends on the scope of the project—things like size of the instrumentation and length of the piece. For instance, a 20-minute piece for wind ensemble (a relatively large group) will cost more than a 5-minute piece for three musicians. Contact me for more information.
How collaborative is the process?
Very! I will do my best to tailor the piece to you, your ensemble, and the event or special occasion (if applicable), making sure the difficulty level is appropriate for your ensemble. For works with texts, I am happy to consider specific requests or look for a text that suits your group or a particular occasion. After we have these initial discussions and make a general plan for the scope of the piece, the creative work begins—I grab my pencil and head to the piano!
Are there other ways of funding a commission, other than me/my organization coming up with the whole fee?
Yes! Often, several groups split the cost of commissioning a new piece. All groups receive the commissioning benefits (premiere performances, sheet music with their names listed on the score) but the cost is shared, and therefore less per group. I’ve had groups like this with as few as two members, and as many as 36. Need help finding commissioning partners? Send me an email!
Other creative funding ideas include: community partnerships, grants, donations and sponsorships.
What kinds of groups/individuals normally commission you?
I’ve written commissions for college and high school bands/wind ensembles, college choirs, community choirs, and professional chamber music ensembles. I enjoy writing a variety of music, including large-ensemble works, art songs, chamber music, choral pieces, handbell music, and more.
Even if I don’t have any music in my catalog for your exact instrumentation/voicing, please contact me—I’d love to discuss your ideas for a new project!
What do I get when I commission a new piece?
- A new work of art, tailored specifically to you, that you helped create. You will contribute a new piece of music to the repertoire, which is very important to maintaining the vitality of music in our culture. The score for your piece will always carry a commission designation, listing the individuals or groups who commissioned it.
- The honor of premiering the new work. I know from personal experience that as a performer, there’s nothing more exciting than preparing and performing a brand new piece of music that has never been done before. You’ll receive printed scores and parts for your piece, as well as the premiere performance rights. This means that you have the sole privilege of presenting the first performance and listing it in your program as a “world premiere.”
- Sole access to the music for a designated period of time. For example, you might have six months to perform the piece before it ever gets offered for sale to anyone else. We can also write a clause into the contract that allows you rights to be the first individual/group to record the work for commercial distribution, if that’s important to you.
Can I commission a piece even if I'm not a performer and I don’t have an ensemble in mind to perform it?
Yes! Say you want to commission a piece as a gift to your spouse. You aren’t an orchestra or a brass quintet, but you still want to commission a new piece. No problem! Let’s talk and come up with a plan.
Can I commission you to do an arrangement?
Yes! I have arranged choral music for wind ensemble, written arrangements of hymns and Christmas carols for orchestra/choir/organ/brass/congregational singing, and more. (Note: The music you’d like to have arranged must be in the public domain or you must obtain permission from the copyright holder.)
How long does it take? How far in advance should I be planning?
Ideally, we’ll begin our initial conversations about the piece one year before you need the music delivered. However, I’ve completed new pieces in as short a time as a few weeks!
After you write the piece, can you Skype or FaceTime or visit us to give us insight into the new piece?
Yes! This is one of my favorite parts of the process. I enjoy speaking (virtually or in person) with individuals and groups to answer questions, provide insight into the work, and give feedback in rehearsals. This is also a very rewarding process for the performers (especially students).
Working with a living composer and hearing about the inspiration behind the music, how it was written, and why the composer made various artistic choices is an exciting and meaningful experience for all involved. (Note: This type of work may require an additional fee, though this can be added to the contract at the outset of the project.)
Please feel free to contact me to discuss your ideas.