Commissioning is a great way to engage yourself or your ensemble in brand new music written by a living composer. In recent years I have taken on many exciting commissions for a variety of solo and ensemble types; everything from high school choirs to professional ensembles like the BBC Singers, and pieces for vocal soloists and oboists. This is, without a doubt, my favorite part of the job - writing new music for living, breathing humans and engaging with them on a personal level throughout the commissioning process. If you have any questions about this process, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to begin a discussion!
In the meantime, here are some useful things to consider...
Below is a sample list of some works that have I have been commissioned to compose recently. Click the links to learn more about each resulting work!
Starlight: An Anthology of Works for Mixed Chorus - Eight choral works commissioned individually by choirs from Scotland, New Zealand, and five U.S. states.
O Great Beyond - Commissioned by the John Armitage Memorial (JAM) for the BBC Singers (Nicholas Cleobury, conductor).
Salvator mundi - Commissioned by the Pennsbury High School Touring Choir (James D. Moyer, conductor) for their tour to Germany.
Ave, maris stella - Commissioned by the Chapel Choir of King's College, Aberdeen (David J. Smith, conductor) for their tour to Budapest, Hungary.
The Same Stream - Commissioned by the Fort Myers High School Greenwave Singers (Matt Koller, conductor)
Phaenix alumna mortis - Commissioned by the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir (Paul Mealor, conductor) for their tour to Belgium and Holland.
Jock and Jenny - Commissioned by Margaret Carlaw for inclusion in the book Trees and Woodlands of Stichill Parish.
Adam lay ybounden - Commissioned by the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir for their London Nine Lessons and Carols Service.
Fanfare: Pereat Tristitia - Commissioned in honor of Margaret Carlaw.
The Immortal Memory - Commissioned by the University of Aberdeen Chamber Choir as the title track for Immortal Memory: A Burns Night Celebration.
A Child's Requiem - Commissioned by the Marquette Symphony Orchestra for the 100th anniversary of the Italian Hall disaster.
When daylight came... - Commissioned by Niall Anderson in memory of private John Anderson, 1st Gordon Highlanders.
Fees and Funding
First of all, my commissioning fees are negotiable... to a point. I fully recognise that funding a commission is a strain on any individual or ensemble, and I strive to work with any interested party to come to an agreement that suits everyone involved. If you have an idea of the type of piece you would like to commission - what kind of ensemble (SATB chorus, string orchestra, etc.), length of composition, text - then the first step is to email me directly with your ideas, and from there we can start discussing fees and a timeline.
Please keep in mind that standard practice is to pay 50% of the total fee up front as a retainer, with the final 50% being paid on delivery of a commissioned work.
Commissioning by Consortia
Commissioning by consortia is a wonderful way to bring new music to life without breaking the bank. If you would like to pool your resources with other individuals or ensembles to raise the money necessary for a commission, I am more than happy to hear your ideas! Please email me and copy the other interested parties, if applicable. Additionally, if you would like to be added to the list for future consortia, let me know and I will keep you and your ensemble in mind for upcoming projects.
In general I ask for six months to a year from the time of signing a contract to delivery of a commissioned piece of music, depending on the size of the ensemble and the length of the piece. However, this depends entirely on my current workload. If you have need of a quick turnaround on a commission, I urge you to contact me - it is entirely possible that I will be able to accommodate your needs!
Some videos from commissioning projects...