SiskindOne of the greatest joys for a composer is the opportunity to create new music for someone’s appreciative request. Commissioning has been a well-spring for creativity throughout the ages, and it’s not just the province of royalty and wealthy patrons; musicians and music-lovers of all sorts can support the creation of new music through commissions.

Commissions can be conceived and crafted in many ways: to celebrate a joyful occasion or commemorate a solemn event; to feature the talents of a particular performer or ensemble; to lend one’s support for an artistic community; or simply to foster the creative work of a particular composer.

Commissions can range in size from a short piece for a solo instrument to a major work for chorus and orchestra. My commissioning fees vary accordingly, and they take a number of factors into account (such as the length and scope of the piece; the opportunities for performances and/or publication and/or recordings; the circumstances of the commissioning party; etc.). I do not calculate from a fixed per-minute rate; rather, I fashion each project individually, through consultation with the commissioning party.

Sometimes, groups of friends will pool their resources to commission a piece collectively. Also, opportunities for funding support from third-party sources are sometimes available. I can help you in the process of looking for grants, preparing applications, etc.

If you would like to discuss the possibility of commissioning a new piece from me, do not hesitate to contact me (even if your ideas seem very preliminary). We can work through the details together, to fashion a successful and meaningful project.


Examples of commissions by ensembles:

  • Dale Warland Singers, funded by the Jerome Foundation and the Ditson Fund
  • Gotham Chamber Orchestra, funded by the Minnesota Composers Forum and the Jerome Foundation
  • Monmouth Civic Chorus, funded by the Dodge Foundation
  • Crane School of Music Opera Ensemble, funded by the New York State Music Fund
  • Julia Gleich Dances and Norte Maar Collaborative Projects
  • 2000 Winter Goodwill Games
  • St. Olaf College Band
  • North Country Public Radio
  • Leiv Ericksson International Festival
  • National Conference on John Berryman
  • East Meadow Public Schools All-District Orchestra
  • Mi-bemol Saxophone Ensemble
  • Allegro Theatre Productions
  • Heartland Men’s Chorus
  • Sweet, Fair, and Wise

Examples of  commissions by individuals:

  • Luis Canales and Susanne Daye, for the Orchestra of Northern New York
  • Philip and Eleanor Hopke, for the Orchestra of Northern New York
  • Virginia Cayey, for the Orchestra of Northern New York
  • Kathy Bina, personal commissions
  • Luke Shwart, for the Rocky Mountain Singers
  • Michael Reiser, for the Gateway Men’s Chorus
  • The music teachers of the Potsdam School District, to honor the retirement of a colleague
  • Charlotte Ramsay, Robin Duncan Remick, Betsy Northrop and Bill Kirchgasser, and Judy Gibson, as gifts for the Unitarian-Universalist Church of Canton NY

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