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What does it mean to commission music?

Paying composers to write a new piece of music—a process known as commissioning—is a way for an individual or organization to create a legacy of music for the future. There are many reasons that you might want to commission a work of music, such as:
  • You want to add a new work to the repertory of a favorite ensemble.
  • You want to commemorate a particular event.
  • Or, you simply want to support the talented people who make our lives richer and more interesting.
Regardless of the reason, commissioning is a process that involves not only you, as the commissioner, but also the composer, the performers and even the audience.

How much does it cost?

A number of factors come into play, such as the length of the proposed work and the number of performers, but also a fee for the preparation of the final score and performance parts. Although the table below lists approximate value for commissioning a work (including music preparation fees), it is likely that this process might involve some negotiation between you, and, as the composer’s representative, us.
  • Short work for a few players, $1500
  • Short work for an ensemble of about five to seven performers, $3000
  • Medium-length work for a somewhat larger ensemble, $7500
As a point of reference, the minimum amount that ASCAP recommends in their guide to commissioning through the “Meet the Composer” program is $2000.

Something else to consider is how long it will take to compose the commissioned piece. Naturally, the shorter the work and the fewer the instruments, the less amount of time is necessary to compose and then prepare the work for performance. But as a good rule of thumb it’s probably a good idea to allow at least six months from the completion of an agreement until the work has been readied for performance. In any event, this is a factor that may also require some negotiation.

Who owns the music?

Although the legal ownership of the piece remains with the composer and his or her representative, the commissioner is acknowledged not only in the score but also in various other kinds of media, such as the concert program booklet or on any official recording. When possible, the commissioner is often presented with a special signed copy of the completed score.

How do I begin?

Once you decide on the work’s duration and ensemble size, simply click on the description below that most closely resembles what you have in mind. Clicking on the description will open a new window where, just as if you were purchasing an already published piece of music, you can add the selection to your shopping cart. Please bear in mind, however, that the amount that you will be charged is a deposit, and is not the full value of the commissioned work. Rather, once your transaction has been registered we will contact you to discuss the final price of the composition as well as an approximate timeline for its completion. Shortly before the work’s completion we will create a special page on our website where you will be able to pay any remaining balance.

Because Latin American composers work in many different styles, you are certainly welcome to read about the composers whose music we represent and, on various product pages, listen to samples of their compositions. However, please know that at any point we will be more than happy to help you make a decision that best reflects your musical taste and preference.
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short work for a few instruments
Short Work for a Few Instruments
Our Price: US$250.00

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medium length work for four to ten instruments
Medium Length Work for Four to Ten Instruments
Our Price: US$750.00

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longer work for larger ensembles
Longer Work for Larger Ensembles
Our Price: US$1,250.00

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