Who should commission a work?
Whether you are a professional, student, or amateur, if you like the idea of an original piece of music being created for you to perform, then commissioning may be the thing for you. I look forward to writing for:
- Instrumental and vocal soloists
- Chamber ensembles
- College, high school, or middle school ensembles
- Music camps, arts programs, community orchestras
- Poets, playwrights, spoken word artists, novelists, filmmakers, artists, etc. Knowledge of instruments not required. Some artists may want to commission an original piece of music to play for an exhibition. Writers may want to commission a piece of music to pair with their poem or story or character.
- You can also commission an original piece of music to dedicate or honor someone else, commemorate a special event, anniversary, birthday, etc.
If you would like to commission a work but are working with a limited budget, a creative and affordable way to make it work is to form a consortium. Forming a consortium means partnering with other performers (or schools, venues, organizations) to co-commission the work and split the cost. Chamber Music America has a good introduction to consortiums here.
NOTE: I do not take on jazz commissions, as that is out of the realm of my expertise and style, but I can recommend other colleagues if you're interested. I also don't take on ultra-specific stylistic and genre requests, as I need to work within my own voice in order to create something I'm proud of.
What does a commission entail?
First and foremost, the result of a commission is of course the delivery of an original piece of music written by me and intended for you. When you commission a work, you also usually have the right to premiere the work, exclusive performance rights for an allotted period of time, and the first opportunity to record it, if you so desire.
Before I write your piece, I will also want to know a little more about you, whether it's your personality, your technical tendencies (strong knack for ornamentation? hate playing triple stops?), the size of your ensemble, or if it's for a specific performance, what your venue and vibe are like. If you are a high school string orchestra, I'll especially want to know more about your players and their strengths, etc.
At the end of the day, a commission that is written with the players in mind and with the spirit of collaboration makes for a more positive experience for everyone. I will never write or deliver something I'm not personally proud of, and I don't want you to feel I have written something that doesn't fit your context. I won't write a big bass soli if you have no basses enrolled in orchestra class that year.
I am open to discussing commissions at any time! Due to my current queue of commissions, earliest delivery dates for new works would be this summer 2016 (depending on length and instrumentation, of course). After those slots are filled, I will continue to fill up the list for the rest of the year.
Why commission a piece of music?
Commissioning a piece of music is a wonderful way to be part of the living, breathing fabric of the music world. By commissioning a work, you are directly contributing to bringing new music into the world. And, of course, it's something personal. Something special for you. What could be more special than music written for you?
And why specifically commission something from you, Chrysanthe?
Of all the wonderful composers in the world, why choose me? Am I the most skilled? The most studied? Most famous? Oldest, wisest, most experienced? Is it because I will deliver something that sounds like John Williams or John Cage or John Adams? If you are looking for any of the above, I must kindly suggest you look elsewhere. There are multitude of talented living composers, many of whom I am a fan of, and I encourage you to discover as many new voices as you can. Why am I telling you this? Because we are all different, and each composer, artist, and ensemble brings something unique to the table.
What I do sound like is me. And hopefully that's why you're considering a commission from me to begin with! If not, you can listen to my work here and decide for yourself.
I also work like me. I am detailed and organized. I believe music and art should be situated and relevant to the current world we live in. I do not believe in art music being something that exists solely of the past centuries. I am a strong advocate for social justice, so I am particularly interested in tackling themes and projects relating to that, whether in the actual music, message, poetry (for choral works), organization, or intention and audience of the performance. As someone with a background in poetry, I also love the challenge of weaving textual and spoken elements into an otherwise instrumental work (as in the "Monolith" commission below. Last but not least, I like to share my process, and I am quite active on social media and in other public elements. When I write your piece, you and/or said piece will naturally become a part of what I talk, write about, and promote in other areas of my life (unless you request not to be part of that, of course).
How much does this cost?
The prices vary, depending on instrumentation, desired time length, etc, but a simple solo work can begin at as low as $1500, with larger ensembles building from there. If you're not sure how a commission will fit into your budget, please contact me anyway; if it's a lighter season for me, I am especially open to discussing creative budget solution suited for your situation. And as mentioned above, a consortium option may be another option.
Sounds exciting. How do we get started?
Shoot me an email. Think about the questions on my Commission Questionnaire so we have a good starting point for our conversation. If you give me all your details and requests, I can respond with a quote, or you can tell me your budget first and I'll let you know if something is possible for that amount/what that is. Bringing forth new music into the world is truly an endeavor worth pursuing, and I'd love to make this work for the both of us!