A couple of months ago, Fahad Siadat, the owner of See-A-Dot Music Publishing, wrote this article about commissioning new pieces on a small budget. If you are planning on commissioning new pieces, these are good tips! Take a look!
“I can’t stress enough the importance of commissioning for composers. Based on my experience, those who make their living as composers do so by writing music, not selling their existing works, licensing it out for movie scores, etc. I run into many conductors and ensembles who want to support new music, and I tell them the single best way to do so is by commissioning. Buying scores is great, but if you want to support composers, pay them to write something new.
I recently sat on a panel for the New York Choral Consortium about the commissioning process. There was a lot of enthusiasm and interest from local choirs, but finances were the dominant barrier. In fact, many of the ensembles with the biggest need and hunger for new repertoire (public school choirs, for instance) are often the ones in the worst financial position to generate those works. Here are some of the great ideas that came from that conversation, along with a few of my own.
Don’t be Afraid to Start the Conversation
Payment Plans / Layaway
Performance Royalties and Tours
Your choir has a lot to offer, what can you trade in exchange for a new work? Are you planning a recording? Performing at a festival or conference where lots of conductors will be present? What exposure can you offer the artist and their work? Does your institution offer an artist-in-residence program? Get creative! Money’s not the only way to compensate a composer; the right opportunity for exposure and prestige might be the perfect motivation for them to write for your group.There are tons of creative solutions to commissioning work, many of which will be unique solutions for your particular community. Try brainstorming with your choir, fellow directors, and local composers to see what ideas you come up with. You’ll find these relationships with composers to be unique and lasting throughout the life of your ensemble.”