Music has a way of etching memories into our brains. The creation of these memories is a composer’s greatest joy in collaboration with you.
Working one-on-one with each other, we have the advantage of discussing ideas, preferences, strengths, constraints, and other parameters for the project you envision from the start. We will share an objective that has never really been had before!
What and for Whom?
What is the occasion? If you are requesting an instrumental work, I have many ideas for band and orchestral projects which I have yet to explore; but what are your ideas? If you are requesting a choral or vocal work, the choice of text(s) to be sung is of utmost importance. So, I always encourage my collaborators to come with a text, poet, or subject matter in mind.
There are often obstacles in securing permissions to set, print, copy, and (self-)publish music on certain texts, e.g., delays in correspondence, significant fees, or refusal on the part of copyright holders. As a general rule, texts published after 1923 are still under copyright in the United States. In spite of such inconvenience, it is an especially enriching experience to work with a living author or poet, rather than to settle for an old, public domain text in archaic language.
For an original solo instrumental or solo vocal work, with or without an assisting instrument, i.e., piano, the commission fee is $1,000 USD per minute of music with the first $1,000 as a *non-refundable fee.
For an original work for small ensemble or mono-timbral ensemble, i.e., string quartet, brass or woodwind quintet, or a cappella choral work of up to four voices with moderate divisi or no divisi, the commission fee is $1,500 USD per minute of music with the first $1,000 as a *non-refundable fee.
For an original work for orchestra or wind band or for a choral work of two voices or more assisted by piano and/or other instruments, the commission fee is $2,000 USD per minute of music with the first $1,000 as a *non-refundable fee.
The time it takes to either A) commission an author to write an original text for me to set to music or B) secure the permissions to set a text not in the public domain to music, including rights to have the commissioned musical work published, is factored into the cost of these fees. The *non-refundable portion of these fees covers the unpredictable amount of hours worked in the process of obtaining the text.
Fees pertaining to a commission are comprehensive. They cover composition, engraving, part extraction if necessary, printing, copying, and shipping per your request. In most cases, I will ask for 1/2 of the fee upon signing the contract and 1/2 upon delivery of the score(s). If you are not able to pay 1/2 of the fee upfront, I will ask for 1/3 of the fee upon signing the contract, 1/3 upon delivery of the score(s), and 1/3 the day of the première of the commissioned work.
All fees are negotiable. However, partnering with other organizations to form a commissioning consortium is always encouraged.
Effective 1 January 2018, I require at least a six-month window between the date of receipt of your initial payment of the commission fee and the deadline for the submission of the commissioned work. I will not consider myself hired under any circumstances until I have received an initial payment, i.e., I will not “work ahead” on any particular project before I receive an initial payment.
Because I am composing multiple commissions per year, understand that I operate on a first-come, first-served basis. To ensure that our calendars run smoothly, it is advisable that we establish a Contract at least one year before the first anticipated rehearsal of the commissioned work. Doing so will give us plenty of time to discuss our thoughts concerning the work and to secure permissions for a text if necessary.
As soon as you are ready, contact me, providing your contact information, and we will set up a meeting in person, on the phone, or via video conference.
Updated 14 March 2022.