Commissioning music - help needed

Discussion in 'The Rehearsal Room' started by Just Crazy, Jan 7, 2011.

  1. Just Crazy

    Just Crazy Member

    Help Needed

    how do you go about getting a piece of music commissioned?

    i wouldnt have a clue were to start
  2. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Depends what you want!

    Most composers and arrangers have a website or email address so you can contact them for rates. Quite a few post on here as well, and loads are on 4br business cards or whatever they're called.

    Obviously, if you engage the likes of Philip Sparke or Peter Graham on a project, the cost is likely to be a rate commensurate with the quality they're known to produce - although there'll be some variation regardless. Less well-known composers may charge less, but you never know the quality you're going to end up with.

    Likewise if you want a 15-minute test-piece, you cut down the number of people who could take that sort of project on, whereas if you want a four-minute commemorative march, or a bespoke solo, then that widens your horizons.

    The best thing to do is to contact a couple of composers with your proposition. Let's face it, at worst they can only say no. Shy bairns go hungry.....

    PS. If it's an arrangment of a copyrighted work, don't forget to factor in the amount you might have to pay for a copyright license - although for one copy this is usually a nominal fee.

    Good luck, whatever it is. :)
  3. towse1972

    towse1972 Active Member

    May i take this opportunity to recommend Andrew Baker. A very talented composer indeed. I have never heard a composition or arrangement of Andy's that I didn't enjoy hearing or playing.
  4. bigsound

    bigsound Member

    excellent post, also the timescale will vary from composer to composer, sometimes months to years.
  5. HBB

    HBB Active Member

    Get yourself down to the John Golland Award at the Festival of Brass. (Saturday the 29th - 2pm I think)

    Workshop by the Fairey (Geneva) band using Fellows/Masters of Conducting from the RNCM and brand new pieces for brass band by young composers. Should definitely be some new, fresh music to your listening pleasure.

    AND it's free.
  6. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Indeed, Andy Baker, who Donna recommends (Anno Draconis on here) is a very talented composer and arranger.

    Or indeed Ben Tubb (HBB) who just posted above - albeit choosing not to mention his own considerable abilities ;) - is more than a dab hand with a bit of manuscript paper as well...
  7. winterman

    winterman Member

    Agree about Mr Tubb, but 'outed' by yet another talented composer/arranger who is far too modest also me thinks (aka Thirteen Ball)! ;)
  8. Thirteen Ball

    Thirteen Ball Active Member

    Ahem... :oops: .... well, there's three names to get started with anyway....
  9. jockinafrock

    jockinafrock Active Member

    I spoke to Simon Kerwin ( and told him my requirements and he came up with a fab quartet at very reasonable rates. :D
    Kevin Birch ( is a local composer who will do everything from solos to ensemble/band pieces and will take into consideration what you want. :D
    Both very approachable and talented composers!
  10. Commissioning new Work

    It's great that you should want to commission a new work - brass bands have developed a wonderful array of works in it's short history. If you or your band do not have the required funds to commission a new work can I suggest that you contact one of the major music colleges in the UK to see if a student would be willing to write a work for you. All I would suggest is that you make it clear what type of piece you are looking for - how long etc. Good luck. Nigel Clarke
  11. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    I would welcome the contesting authorities commissioning something from yourself for a major contest. Your time for recognition is long overdue!
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2011
  12. simonium

    simonium Member

    I wholeheartedly agree. A no holds-barred test piece from Mr Clarke would be worth every penny. I can still recall hearing the bewitching City In The Sea for the first time - sublime, and likewise Atlantic Toccata. It's a shame the only recording I have of the latter is a tape made from (I think...) a Festival Of Brass concert given by Black Dyke under James Watson - absolutely superb.
  13. Thank you for your kind words. I have not to my knowledge had a brass band piece performed in the UK for well over 10 years, so I am a bit off the radar, or even `Yesterday's Man'! I am currently Associate Composer to the wonderful Brass Band Buizingen in Belgium and have in the last two years written my best two brass band works, which I thoroughly enjoyed writing. I left the brass band scene when James Watson left Black Dyke Band in the nineties as it seemed right at the time. In recent years I have concentrated on writing for wind orchestra and chamber works as well as feature film scores. It's wonderful at 50 to come back and write for Brass Band with a renewed enthusiasm and confidence. 2010 was a highlight for me having `Earthrise' played by Brass Band Buizingen in the final of the European Championships in Linz. Brass Band Buizingen came 5th in Europe, so i was very proud indeed. if you are interested I can send you a couple of my most recent works - I would be interested to see if you think that new Nigel compares to old Nigel! Regards Nigel Clarke
  14. brassneck

    brassneck Active Member

    It's good that you still consider brass bands as a medium to express musical ideas with. I don't know if I am fully up to date with your band output but I have collected a few works over the years for both wind and brass. A lot was said of "The Pendle Witches" when it was commissioned by Paul Hindmarsh for Radio 3's Festival of Brass and it showed maturity back then. Earth Rise has a phenomenal introduction and has moved forward with (in my opinion) respecting co-existing composition styles of others whilst creating a fresh voice in the repertoire. Buizingen are more than capable of delivering the goods too. I thought more work would have come from the likes of Cory though.
  15. Anno Draconis

    Anno Draconis Well-Known Member

    Pendle Witches is fabulous. Very much enjoyed it at the FoB, back in the day. Woefully underperformed, in my view.

    Thanks to Donna and Andi for their kind recommendation! :oops:

    If you're contemplating commissioning a work, could I also recommend Lucy Pankhurst and Paul McGhee? I've been lucky enough to play new pieces by both of them over the last year and thoroughly enjoyed them; challenging and fresh while still enjoyable to listen to. Lucy's Wired in particular has featured at loads of Wingates concerts over the last year and always goes down a storm with the audience.
  16. Mallyl

    Mallyl New Member

    Can I suggest the following chap, I had the pleasure of sharing a stand with him many times. He won arranging competitions whilst in the RAF and has good experience of both brass and woodwind.

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