If you are thinking about commissioning a new piece of music or learning more about the process, please read on....
What is a commission?
When you commission a piece, you pay a composer to create a new musical work. It’s a piece of music tailored to your specifications and requirements, such as choice of instrumentation, texts, length, occasion, and so on.
Why commission a piece?
Often, a piece is commissioned to celebrate a particular event, anniversary, person, or other special occasion. Alternatively, ensembles, groups and festivals may approach a specific composer simply because they like their writing and think it would be meaningful to have a piece written especially for them.
Whatever the reason, commissioning a piece of music is a very exciting process. It brings a new work of art to life. A work of art written specifically for you, with the legacy of being enjoyed by countless musicians and audiences in years to come. And don't forget that the work will always carry your personal dedication.
How much will it cost?
The commission fee will depend on the size of the project. Factors, such as the size of the instrumentation and length of the piece will greatly affect the overall cost. For instance, a 20-minute piece for orchestra will cost more than a 5-minute piano piece. There is a sliding scale fee structure which is employed when determining the commissioning fee. This is based on the number of instruments/voices (individual parts written) and the duration of the work in minutes.
What will I get when I commission a new piece?
Firstly, you will get a new work, written especially for you - one that you helped create. The score for your piece will always carry a personalised commission dedication, listing the individuals or groups who commissioned it.
Secondly, you will have the honour of premiering the new work, whether as a performer or a patron. 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.”
Thirdly, you will have exclusive performance rights to the music for a designated period of time. For example, you might have six months to perform the piece before anyone else is permitted to.
Can I commission a piece if I am not a performer or don’t have a particular ensemble in mind to perform the piece?
Absolutely. You may wish to commission a piece as a gift to commemorate an anniversary, birthday or other special occasion. Being able to hand your loved the score of a brand new piece of music, dedicated exclusively to them is surely an exceptionally unique gift. Should you wish to have the piece recorded, that can be easily arranged.
How collaborative is the commissioning process?
Commissions are, generally, collaborative projects. The piece is tailored specifically to your requirements, making sure that the difficulty level is appropriate for your performers. If your work requires text, specific requests are always considered, otherwise, texts that suit your group or a particular occasion will be used. After the initial discussions, a general plan determining the scope of the piece will be drawn up before the creative work begins. You can have as much or as little input as you wish and you will be regularly kept upto date on your work's progress.
How long will it take?
This is very much dependent on the size of the commission. If you require a large orchestral or choral work, the ideal time frame is around a year. For smaller pieces with fewer instruments and lasting up to ten minutes, a couple of months will suffice.
However, if something is required more urgently, it may be possible to complete a short-term commission. Please get in touch for further details.
To find out more, please contact Tim here.