Counterpoint Composers Commissioning Project
We can help you live it.
Experience the joy of creation through commissioning a composer to write a piece for you, your organization or family.
Are there any composers alive today?! Yes indeed!!
People may view composers as someone on a pedestal who can’t be approached by ordinary people. However, composers are regular human beings like all of us, who have financial obligations and how they earn a living to meet those obligations is, in part, through the commissioning process. This project is being launched to create a bridge between those who wish to commission new music and composers who can bring those dreams into reality.
Composers create music because they love to do so and have an urge to do so. While they have been blessed with a particular talent for creating music, they are like other artists who have talents for what they create with their hands or minds: authors, painters, wood or metal workers, quilters, clothing designers, etc. Like all artists, composers love to have their work and efforts appreciated. However, music is unique in that it can only be appreciated if it is heard, otherwise it is only marks on a page. Only a live or recorded performance can bring it to life.
Why commission a new work?
Each piece of music is unique, and having a new work of music created for you is an exclusive gift for yourself or someone else you wish to honour.
All aspects of this process are entirely flexible: the type of music created, the length of the work, the number of performers and the instruments or vocalists for which it is written. Commissions can be set up for a wide range of budgets and you can have something written for one performer up to dozens of performers. The cost depends on how long the piece is and how many performers are required. Costs are usually based on a per minute of music basis, since the longer the piece of music the more work required to compose or create it.
Our company is especially well positioned to be able to provide this service. Our main “product” is the representation and promotion of classical music that we ourselves have published as well as music of a number of European and American publishers for Canada. We rent orchestral music to performing organizations across Canada for our agencies, and the world for the works we own or have exclusive representation. Through this operation over the last 27 years we have had contact with many composers and performers and therefore can act as the “bridge” between commissioners and composers.
Our company, Counterpoint Music Library Services, specializes in what most people would call “Classical” (also called “Serious”) music. For some this may conjure up the music of the great composers such as Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Brahms, and yes, these composers’ works would be under the general heading of “Classical” music. But there are many wonderful composers of our time, who are indeed still living and creating music. These composers write in many different styles of music and create music that you will want to hear. Each has his or her own stylistic signature. To borrow a phrase that I like very much, from the American radio station in Buffalo New York, Classical 94.5 FM WNED (www.wned.org), “all music was once new”, and the music we now know and love from the Masters was indeed once “the latest thing”. Some of it was considered shocking to their audiences, but since we are now familiar with it, we don’t find it shocking at all.
1. The first step is to have an idea of what kind of music you would like to have composed and the occasion or person or group for whom you would like to have it composed. What appeals to you? Once we have an idea of what you want, we can suggest composers who could create what you would like, if you don’t already have someone in mind. We can give you samples of music from different composers to give you an idea of what they have composed and to help find the right match. If you need assistance in formulating ideas, we would be happy to help.
2. Decide on the length of work and number of performers you want. Do you want instrumental or choral or solo voice (which type of voice), a solo instrument, a chamber ensemble of a few people, a full or chamber orchestra, or an opera?
3. Once you have decided what you want and possible composers whose music you like and would like to propose a commission, we can contact that composer or composers and see if he/she is interested in your proposal. Composers often have work lined up sometimes for years in advance depending on how popular the composer is and the size of their current projects, so this is not something that will likely happen quickly. You need to plan long term, at least a year or more before such a project can be brought to fruition. If you want a small work for one or two people, such projects may possibly fit in between other commissions and therefore happen sooner.
4. If the composer is interested, he/she will advise what the fee would be for the proposed project and advise when it could be accomplished.
5. If the fee is agreeable, we will then draw up a contract. A premiere date can be set and if you don’t have performers to present your piece we can arrange to have professional musicians who can bring the work to life.
Jean-Marie Barker (Ms.)
Music Publisher & President
Counterpoint Music Library Services