How to Commission a Symphony for a Concert

Commissioning original music provides a way for patrons of music to put their stamp on music creation and have a piece of music written especially for them. People commission works for museum openings, to perform in their personal recitals and to add a personal touch to a recorded album. It is not necessary to be wealthy to commission a symphony in C, but it is important to know where to go to get your commission started. Working with a composer on a commissioned piece is a unique experience and can be worth the effort.

Raising Money 

Step 1 Determine how much money can be raised for the commission. Determine the financial goal to raise money for the composer to write a symphony in C. It is possible that a composer will work for a trade agreement or some special benefit. Skip this section if there are no plans to raise money but there is a service or promotional activity that can benefit the composer as a result of the commission. 

Step 2 Start a campaign to raise funds for a commission to create a symphony in C. Go online to a website such as to find out how to request money for a specific project (see Resource).

 Step 3 Raise half the funds for the commission and then contact the composer. Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images Acquire approximately half the funds that are needed for the project, and begin to look for a composer within your price range who will write the symphony. It may be possible to negotiate the price depending on what level of experience, recognition and prior commitments the composer has.

Hire the Composer 

Step 1 Find a composer who will write in the appropriate musical style. Find a suitable composer to work with. Make sure he is willing to provide you with references. If the composer won't provide references, look elsewhere. Organizations such as Meet the Composer have options available for contacting professional composers.

Step 2 Contacting the composer is a crucial step. Contact the composer and provide the details of the project. You should tell her how much money is available for the commission and the purpose for writing the symphony in C. If there is no money being offered, explain how the composer would benefit from a partnership.

Step 3 Deadlines for projects like symphony commissions help ensure that everything stays on track. Decide on a deadline in consultation with the composer. If there is already an event planned, explain the event and tell the composer when the work will need to be ready. It can take a composer up to a year or more to complete a commission. Make sure you set a firm time frame, and explain the consequences for not completing the piece on time.

Step 4 The symphony commission will require a formal contract. Hire the composer and create a contract that states the parameters of the agreement. Visit Meet the Composer to get assistance with creating a contract, or contact a lawyer that specializes in these agreements.

Step 5 The composer needs to receive some of the money upfront. Provide the composer with half the payment upfront. Some composers will accept a lower down payment, some might request more. Work out how much will be paid upfront ahead of time. The composer will use the money to set aside a certain amount of time to compose.

Step 6 Regular meetings with the composer are necessary. Schedule meetings with the composer every two to three months to get an update on the composition. Some composers prefer to work in complete isolation. In these cases, it may be necessary to give the composer the privacy required.

Look for a composer who is willing to write tonal music. A symphony in C is going to be tonal, but not every composer is willing to write tonal music. Give the composer as much information as possible about the intended composition and the event for which it will be performed. Commissions don't have to be large-scale works. Many music majors in colleges request commissions for their recitals to add a level of customization.


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