Commissioning a Composition
Commissioning a new piece of music is a wonderful, rewarding experience for both the composer and the commissioning party, and there are a lot of things to consider. The information below provides some general information about the commissioning process. Please feel free to email me or contact me via social media for more information.
A good “rule of thumb” is to allow 18–24 months from the signing of an agreement until the work has been completed and is ready to be given to the musicians to prepare for performance. A smaller scale work might be written in a few months.
Meet the Composer has created a PDF that answers many questions about commissioning as well as providing industry guidelines for commissioning rates. Below is my current rate schedule based on the information in the above PDF. All fees include engraving, copying, and delivery fees.
I. Chamber Ensembles Fee per minute
One or two $200
Three or four $225
Five to Eight $270
Nine to Fifteen $300
II Orchestra Fee per minute
Chamber orchestra up to 15 parts $300
Orchestra over 15 parts $375
III Chorus Fee per minute
A cappella (or with piano) up to seven parts $250
A cappella (or with piano) eight parts or more $275
IV Electroacoustic Music per minute
For the addition of an electronic part or tape to an ensemble add $75 to the appropriate rate
While the above fees represent a general range, many factors play a role in determining the commission fee. I’m always looking for interesting projects that stretch me, the audience, and your ensemble. Also, do let me know if you have concrete plans to help the piece live on past the premiere. Tell me if, for instance, you plan to make a professional recording of the commissioned piece, add it to your touring program, perform it at an international festival, partner with a sister chorus to ensure multiple performances, etc. This level of detail will help us negotiate a commission fee that works for both of us.
Creating a Consortium
Another option is to create a consortium of ensembles to commission a single work. While you may lose some creative control and sole commissioning credit, there are several benefits. Beyond the obvious benefit of splitting the bill, a consortium also
If the commissioning party has a contract they like to use, I am usually quite happy to sign it. I can also provide my standard commissioning contract. The contract considers duration, performing forces and difficulty level of the commissioned work, payment amount and schedule, degree of communication between composer and commissioner, and states what is and is not included in the commissioning fee. The commissioning fee does not include the composer’s travel to the premiere, guest lectures or community programs, interviews, workshops, etc.
Our Continued Relationship
I love to keep in touch after working with a commissioning party. If you perform your commissioned piece in subsequent seasons please let me know! I keep an online calendar of upcoming events and enjoy letting friends and fans know of performances in their area.
Thank you for your interest in commissioning a new work! I look forward to working together.