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Commissioning a new piece

Commissioning a new piece of music is an exciting and gratifying process. To have music composed for you or your organization, here's how to commission it.


To start the conversation and exploring ideas, please email with an idea of what you'd like to commission. If you have a certain instrumentation, duration, concept, or performance opportunities in mind, that's a good start.



Based on what you've suggested, the next step is discussing the details to see what's exciting both to the performers and to the composer, and to refine any musical details like size of the orchestra or programmatic ideas.



Once there's a clear picture of the piece to be written, the next step is to find mutually agreeable terms. Here are some guidelines for how that usually works:

1) The composer keeps the copyright, and you'll get exclusive rights to the premiere, and possibly an exclusive blackout period afterward when no one else can perform or record it. All copies of the music, including publications, will acknowledge your commission and premiere, and generally you keep the set of music from the premiere.

2) Composers always want an archival recording of a new piece, and it's helpful to discuss whether it's OK to offer excerpts online, etc.

3) The commission fee depends on many factors including the duration of the piece, the number of instruments, how long it will take to compose, how busy the composer is with other commissions and deadlines, future potential of the piece, and estimated engraving costs.


Commissioning a new piece is a creative activity, and always memorable! Everything above is a general guideline, and everything is negotiable. If you think you might want a new piece, it's always worth asking!