Commissioning Choral Works: What to Ask a Composer Before Signing the Dotted Line
Commissioning music can seem daunting but, in reality, it just boils down to what you need mixing with what you want. If you need a brand new piece for your program, what do you want in order to make it extraordinary? If you want a commission for the first time, what do you need in order to be informed and protected?
Before we get to specifics, there are two tracks a chorus can take when inquiring about a commission: predetermined and open-ended.
Predetermined means that your program could be pretty much set but you want a new piece for an open slot. Open-ended means that you want to commission but have no idea how the piece will end up.
There’s a lot of gray in between these, but generally, you want to know where you are on that spectrum before you bring the questions below to your prospective composers.
Once you know what you want out of the final product, here are five questions a chorus should ask their prospective composer before signing the dotted line.