A COMPOSER'S VIEWPOINT: COMMISSIONING A NEW WORK

I. WHY WOULD YOU DECIDE TO COMMISSION A NEW WORK?

  • Contribute a new work of literature to the existing repertoire
  • Have the students experience the creative process first hand
  • Have the students develop a sense of ownership
  • Introduce the students to a "living composer"
  • Honor an outstanding individual or group of individuals (organization)
  • Establish a special work as a memorial to an individual
  • Present a new work as part of a dedication ceremony
  • Premiere a new work for a special performance or event

II. WHAT WILL THE PROJECT COST?

The over-all cost of the project will be directly related to:

  • The reputation of the composer that you select
  • The grade level and length of the work
  • The marketability of the work if it is to be published
Average pricing:
grade 2 band: $1000 - $2000
grade 3 band: $2000 - $3000
grade 4 band: $3000 - $4000
grade 5 band: $4000 - $5000

III. HOW DO YOU CONTACT THE COMPOSER?
  • Call the publisher with whom the composer is affiliated
  • If applicable, call the school where the composer is employed

IV. WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU NEED TO ASK?
  • Is a full score provided?
  • Who is responsible for copying the parts?
  • Are there any extra charges (i.e., for conducting the premiere, for conducting rehearsals, for travel expenses, etc.)?
  • Is a contract necessary?
  • Should a portion of the fee be paid in advance?
  • When should the fee be paid?
  • Will the parts be original manuscript or computer generated?
  • Is the composer willing to listen to suggestions that involve creativity?
    Title...Solo...Style of music
  • When will the parts and completed score be available?
  • Who writes the inscription for the score?
  • Will a complimentary copy of the published work be provided?
  • When will the work be published?
  • What about performance rights?
  • Who secures the copyright of the work?

V. WHAT INFORMATION SHOULD YOU PROVIDE TO THE COMPOSER?
  • Grade level and type of work that you desire
  • Background information about the ensemble
  • Projected year and possible dates for premiere

PLANNING IN ADVANCE IS THE KEY FOR SUCCESS!



James Swearingen
Capital University Conservatory of Music
www.JamesSwearingen.com
1999