Composer for hire – a few things you should know about commissioning
Hiring a composer is different from hiring an orchestrator. You’re asking a creative artist to take responsibility for the style and content of a work, not just for its arrangement. Where an orchestration job might only take a few days to a few weeks, a commission might take quite a bit longer, especially if there are added concerns such as working with a specific ensemble or soloist, or with a director on a film.
Style and Approach
My own personal compositional style is populist – I’m interested in creating music that reaches out to and uplifts a community of listeners, and pulls them into a deeper understanding of concert music. I appreciate the older forms, like symphonies, concertos, tone-poems, and so on, and my music updates and reinterprets those idioms. I like music with a pulse, with melodies and themes, and with tonal centers. I’m also intrigued by sonic effects and subtle textures, and new ways to make an orchestra play with impact and conviction.
As a writer on music history and biography, I’m fascinated by the voices of composers of the past, and enjoy revisiting their eras in my works. I’ve done this as comedy, as period film music, and as tribute. Often a work can become the juxtaposition of my approach and outlook within the parameters of a different culture or world view, and I endeavor strongly to not have such a composition become a caricature or exploitation.
My roots and values as a composer derive from concert music. I emphasize structure, meaning, and emotional context in my work, companioned by a focus on craft. I value the interest and commitment of the player as well as the listener, which has resulted in repeat performances for many of my works. Every effort is taken for scores to be readable by the conductor, and parts engaging and playable by the musicians.
I am commissionable for the following categories of works:
- orchestral works with and without soloist (fanfare, overture, concerto, symphony, etc.)
- vocal works (solo, choral, cantata, opera, oratorio)
- chamber works
- solo works
- merging instruments of non-Western or folk origins with concert instruments
- music of a popular style performed by concert instruments
- works that introduce listeners to concert instruments
- scripted programs of music composed and arranged for the above
(these works may be scored for live performance or orchestral mockup)
- cues for film or television broadcast
- scores for choreographic works
- incidental music for theatrical works
- musical theatre
Commissioning fees vary widely from project to project. The size of the instrumentation, length of the piece, and complexity are all deciding factors. Also taken into consideration is the need by the performers for direct contact and collaboration, and any travel that might be involved. Most contracts also involve a 50% advance, with 50% upon completion.
Before any quotes can be given, it’s always good to have a dialogue with the composer. Please use the contact form to get in touch, and we’ll discuss your proposal.