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Commissions


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Know your friendly composer
   
     
grass path

There are plenty of reasons to commission a new piece of music. Let's look at the obvious ones first:

You become the hero who is responsible for a sonic contribution to society.

Your highest cultural values (and yes, even your ego), are satisfied, as you invest in the future of music and in the artistic legacy of your own era.

Your name will live on a score and recording that will be seen around the world. People will think you're cool. You will lose weight, find the love of your life and stop snoring. All because you commissioned a new piece of music.

It happens all the time.

 

Alex Shapiro

Alex Shapiro

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But none of the above is the real reason you should engage me to compose a new piece. The REAL reason is....

(are you ready? This is the stuff no one talks about)

The reason to commission me is:

Because it's really FUN!

 
     
shoreline
     
 

Life is too short not to have as good a time as possible, and that includes enjoying the process involved in the creation of ART. Of course I'm going to tell you how much you'll like the new piece. But I'll also tell you that:

 
 

• You won't lose sleep over whether you'll receive your piece on time, because I work smoothly under deadlines. I'll be the only one who may lose some sleep.

• I write music that, no matter how challenging, is playable and doesn't maim the musicians or force them to take calculus lessons.

• I deliver professionally bound scores and parts with humanly possible page turns, and often include an MP3 of a sampled realization of the music to speed up rehearsal time.

• I'm collaborative by nature and enjoy editing and adjusting a new piece. I do not bark, bite, or scream. Usually.

• I'm quite helpful with the necessary PR, and often assist ensembles with radio broadcasts and additional performance venues. I view the process of launching a new work as a team effort. Much like professional football, except that [most of the time] we don't need helmets.


• The most important thing to get from any composer is their heart and their original voice. And that's the reason a composer like me spends so much time writing music and exploring new ideas within the art form.

 

Want to get a sense of Alex? Hear her describe her approach to composing, in this excerpt from a June 2010 interview she gave to Carey Nadeau from the American Composers Forum:

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How does commissioning work?

If you've heard a radio broadcast or attended a concert during which you enjoyed my work, or if you've visited the Works page on this site, listened to some brief samples and would like to become a vital part of this artistic process, email me to discuss what kind of piece you would like to commission and what the costs of bringing such a project to life would be. Whether you're interested in an original piece of music for a private occasion or for a public concert or CD project, the process is an enjoyable one.

Budgets can be creative and flexible and are often determined by the nature of the funding source, as well as the instrumentation and scope of the desired project. Payments can be made either at the beginning and the subsequent delivery of the score, or over a longer, predetermined time period. I believe in placing the commissioning process within easy reach of anyone interested; the rewards of such collaboration ring out long after the last note is played.

It's also possible to bring together a consortium of several musicians, ensembles or patrons to jointly co-commission a work. Each enjoys a dedicated premiere concert and published credit for sponsoring the new piece, while easing the finances of the venture. Consortium commissioning gives a new piece immediate, broad exposure through the performances of many ensembles playing for a wide range of audiences.

Costs vary, and an excellent resource to get a sense of the range can be found in a booklet titled, Commissioning Music: A Basic Guide, that you can download from New Music USA, which offers a helpful guideline here . I can also personally assist with securing a fiscal agent for tax purposes.

waves at Zuma

inside the wave

waves at Zuma

 

     
  When a commission comes from a musician or ensemble, collaboration is a very important part of any project. I always begin by asking what the player's needs are: what would contrast well with other pieces on their program?  What mood would they like to explore– slow and pensive, a virtuosic program closer, or something else entirely? Who's the audience that they're trying to reach?  I firmly believe that a composer can take the needs of musicians and listeners into account without ever losing her own musical voice.  Respect for this vital triangular relationship is key.  
   
geese
     
Alex Shapiro

The interaction between the composer and commissioner is a wonderful— and fun— part of the creative process. I really enjoy working with clients, and I welcome the opportunity to dedicate meaningful pieces to musicians and music lovers.

The best way to reach me is through email,
by clicking here

You can also leave a voice message or a fax at: (270) 916-0093.

For wind band commission inquiries,
please contact:

Mark Walker

mark@themarkwalkeragency.com
318-381-3560, or 318-734-1153.


 

       
 

 

What's Alex like to work with?

Knowing a bit about a composer as a person often adds to the perception of her music. If you're interested in reading some of my musings about music, nature and the humor of life in general, click here

And for even more context about where my music comes from, I invite you to spend a little time perusing my award-winning, often grin-inspiring blog, Notes from the Kelp, here blog

 

off the Santa Barbara coast

Alex Shapiro, composer email2
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