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Commissioning a piece

Anyone have any experience with finding a grant to help a high school choir commission a composer to write a piece of music for them?  Any ideas, experiences or suggestions are welcome.
on May 17, 2011 7:24am
Dear Jon,
There are many of us out here prepared to write you a piece for free and gratis. All you have to do is ask and you can save your hard-earned money or not have to write a grant proposal. E mail me at smacmus(a) for details.
Stuart McIntosh
on May 17, 2011 8:14am
on May 18, 2011 1:45pm
The site is a very good beginning.  Depending on where you live, there are Subito grants available for composers in various areas across the country.  The American Composers Forum has numerous grant proposals that come up regularly.  Also, you might consider raising funds from the parents/students/school to have a piece composed expressly for them.  A modest sum from 40-50 or more people adds up to a fair sized commission fee.  In Los Angeles, there is a marvelous organization called the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra (LACO).  They designed a commissioning program called Sound Investments to which people contribute X amount of money, get to follow the composing process and progress of the piece and have their name published in the score as one of the contributors.  Be creative with your thinking and you will be on your way to achieving your goal!
All best,
on May 19, 2011 5:34am
I don't know if you saw my recent posting about a specially composed anthem for your choir, but I see below that Stuart McIntosh has responded to you.  He wrote an excellent piece for my church choir for Easter ( at no charge).   I was thrilled with the result - it included orchestration for the instruments I had available for Easter ( trumpet, trombone, and English horn/oboe) and he took into consideration the vocal ability of the choir.  He even took a text I chose ( an old poem) and got the piece to me in a matter of a few weeks!  The colloboration with him was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend you take him up on his offer below.  The  piece, "Because the Lord is Risen for Thee" was a big hit with both choir and congregation. 
I am happy to answer any questions you have about the piece or work in general. 
Catherine Campbell Nesbit
on May 19, 2011 8:28am
I've heard some great things about Kickstarter as a fundraising tool for commissions.  I haven't used it personally, but it looks like it might be an easy way to involve students, parents, school board, etc in raising money for a commission.  I like especially that you set a monetary goal for the project and a strict timeframe, so if you don't get enough pledges for support, the project doesn't go through and no one gets charged.  That's really helpful for composers who have a clear idea of what their time is worth and strict timeframes for commissions (but just browsing through the site, it looks like most things DO get fully funded!):
on May 20, 2011 9:13am
RedHouse Arts distributes the works of 5 different composers, all with different styles and levels of difficulty.  Take a look ( and see if one of our composers can help you out.
on May 21, 2011 11:59pm
Jon -- In addition to all the great advice above, you might explore a "pay-what-you-can" commission arrangement with a composer.  I wrote two pieces on that basis, both well-received.  The advantage is that you can go ahead with planning the project even though the fund-raising is not finished.  Also, there's the possibility that people wait to contribute until after they hear the piece, which provided incentive to this composer to keep the results listenable and fun to sing!  It's not free, of course, but is fair.  Purists might object, but Handel and Mozart were businessmen who created great art while keeping audience taste in mind, so why shouldn't we?  good luck, 
Christopher J. Hoh
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