Commissioning music means paying a composer to write a new work for a special event, to showcase a soloist or ensemble, to honor an individual, or to commemorate a historic event or milestone anniversary.
Jesse Ayers’ THE PASSION OF JOHN BROWN commission is a total knock-out. On a purely visceral level it is magnificent. The audience was overwhelmed, and their powerful response has continued unabated. I keep hearing from people how moved they were by the music, the drama, the pacing, and the haunting flashbacks.
Why commission a new work?
- To celebrate a historic event, milestone anniversary, an inauguration, or building dedication
- To honor a retiring conductor, mentor, community leader, or friend
- To have an original composition written especially for you or your ensemble/organization
- To make your special event unforgettable with the excitement of a world premiere
- To create the opportunity for your musicians to work with a living composer
- To create new repertoire for a particular instrument or genre
- To enrich the world of concert music with a new work that will always carry your name as the commissioning party
How does the commissioning process begin?
We will need to discuss:
- the purpose or occasion
- your ideas concerning theme, style, or possible narration
- the performing forces (soloist, trio, chorus, full orchestra, symphonic band)
- the musical abilities of the performers (professionals, students, amateurs)
- the approximate duration desired
- the spacial/antiphonal possibilities of the space in which the work will be premiere
- will you want me to be present at the final rehearsals to work with your musicians, or available for radio/TV interviews, or in attendance at the premiere for audience “meet the composer” activities such as pre-concert talks or post-concert audience Q&A?
How much does it cost to commission a new work?
The commissioning fee depends primarily on
- the duration of the proposed work
- the number of performers involved
- the deadline
How can a commission be funded?
- An ensemble or organization’s budget may have sufficient funds.
- Consortiums may be formed with similar ensembles in other towns or states. Several ensembles agree to share the commission fee, and each gives a premiere in their own home town.
- Patrons may be found who would happily support a commission.
- Businesses may support the commission as a form of public relations and community enrichment. The business would be recognized in the printed program and its representatives appear on stage at the premiere.
- There are a number of private foundations that will support commissions that are in alignment with the foundation’s guidelines.
How do we get started?
Contact us and tell us about your ideas.
• 2022 Michigan City Municipal Band Commission
• 2019 OhioMTA-MTNA Commission
• 2016 Akron Symphony Orchestra-Chorus Spirituals Commission
• 2015 Soprani Compagni Commission
• 2014 Indiana Bandmasters Association Commission
• 2014 Milligan College Orchestra-Chorus Christmas Commission
• 2013 Wisconsin Lutheran Synod National Honors Band Commission
• 2013 Ohio Private Colleges William Schalacks Memorial Commission
• 2009 Akron Symphony “John Brown” Commission
• WINNER, 2011 American Prize for Orchestral Composition
• WINNER, 2016 Opera Kansas Zepick Modern Opera Prize
• WINNER, 2011 Dayton Ballet New Music for New Dance
• 2020 Ohio Governor’s Award for Outstanding Individual Artist
• 2019 Ohio Music Teachers Commissioned Composer of the Year
• 2018 Special Judges Citation, American Prize, Choral Division
• 2017 Finalist Honorable Mention, American Prize, Opera Division
• 2014 Named “Honored Artist” of American Prize
• 2014 Ohio Arts Council Individual Artist Excellence Award
• 2014 Finalist, American Prize, Opera Division
• 2014 Finalist, American Prize, Band Division
• 2013 Double Finalist (two works), American Prize, Band Division
• 2013 Boston Metro Opera Award