Have you ever thought of commissioning a new piece of music?
A commission is when an individual or a group/organization pays a composer to write a piece of music especially for a specific event or purpose. Anyone can commission a new piece of music- whether you are a professional musician or ensemble planning to give the world premiere (first performance), or whether you are simply a music lover and would like to be part of bringing something very special and unique to life!
I am always accepting new proposals for commissioned works, and would love to hear from you! Please note that it does take some time to create a new work (anywhere from a few weeks to a few years, depending on scope and size of the project)- but I am very happy to consider any new and interesting proposals.
Basic info and resources
There are a couple of general types of commissions: privately-funded, and grant-funded (or some combination thereof). As far as privately-funded works, the funds could come from one individual, or from a group of people who have pooled their resources. As far as grants are concerned- a composer cannot apply directly for funding her own piece; it is up to the ensemble/performers/producer, etc. to apply for grant funds. There are many possible grant resources available for commissioning new music (some of them more easily accessible than others). Some general resources available in Canada include the B.C. Arts Council, (as well as provincial-level arts councils in other provinces), and the Canada Council for the Arts. There are also many smaller bursaries and funds available through various amateur and professional music organizations, and sometimes through organizations devoted to a specific instrument- those who may be interested in expanding the available repertoire for that instrument.
As a member of the Canadian League of Composers, I work according to the CLC’s minimum commissioning rates. These fees are based on size of ensemble (from solo instrument or voice, up to full orchestra), plus duration of piece (in minutes). As a general guideline, 50% of the commissioning fee is paid to the composer up front, with the remaining 50% delivered upon completion of the work. Please note that music copying fees (extracting parts, copying materials, etc.) are separate from the commissioning fee, and are the responsibility of the commissioner. The composer retains copyright to the commissioned work.