Commission Music

“When I compose, I am connecting my thoughts and emotions with the spirit,  a spirit of good intention and goodwill that steps over the ego and reaches out into the world.” WGN

So you want to commission a new piece.     Where does one start?

The first step is  to familiarize yourself with my music. You can do this by purusing my publishing website: the  You can also view videos of the performances of my music on my homepage.  There may be a piece that you heard that impressed you so much that you wanted to learn more about my music.  What are the aspects of this piece that attracted you as a listener, performer or conductor?

Second, can you tell me what special event, concert or occasion would showcase the premiere?  If you are a soloist and you would like me to compose a specific piece for you that exploits your special talents, then sharing recordings of your performances would help inspire me. My highest choice would be to compose a piece that is just the right piece for you, while expressing my musical ideas, displays your exceptional virtuosic gifts.  If there are also plans to commerically record the work,  it would be important to know how many additional performances after the premiere would be scheduled before going into the recording studio. 

How much does commissioning cost?

You don’t have to be rich to commission a piece of music. Commissions can run from several hundred dollars to many thousands. The cost depends on the size of the new composition (whether it is written for a soloist, chamber group or large ensemble), the length of the composition. 

You should be aware that the commission amount will often include the composer’s fee for writing the music as well as a second amount for the copyist who prepares the final score and performance parts. The compensation for the work could be a total agreed upon fee that is comprehensive and covers all the costs associated with writing the piece, preparing the score, renting the parts, travel and accomodations.  Or it could be broken down as separately negotiated fees:  a fee to compose the work, rental of the instrumental parts, a performance license covered by ASCAP or BMI and reimbursement for travel and accomodations to attend the premiere, etc.  

It’s also important to remember that this process always involves negotiation between you and I so don’t be afraid to initiate the conversation.  

Is commissioning tax deductible?

It can be, but only when a nonprofit organization is part of the project. 

How long does the process take?

This depends on when the premiere will take place,  the size of the ensemble and the lenght of the piece. When I agreed to a commission,  I will not commit to the project unless I know I can complete the piece to meet your preformance and rehearsal deadlines. 

Who actually owns the music?

It is standard practice that composers retain the rights to their own work, and so the legal ownership of the piece (the copyright) remains with the composer. However, the commissioner is acknowledged in many ways—on the first page of the musical score, on any official recording, in the performance program and often in other written materials. It is customary that the commissioner is given a presentation copy of the completed score, almost always specially inscribed by the composer. An archive recording may be provided as well. Most of all, the commissioner experiences a satisfying sense of participation in the creation of a new work of music.

Please do not hesitate to contact me and ask questions about your interest in a commission.   WGN