GALA choruses have been leaders in commissioning new music for over two decades. Commissioning new music gives choruses a chance to work directly with living composers in creating a work of art that can be shared and performed many times. It also allows LGBT choruses to work with texts that directly speak to our mission or experiences as GLBT individuals.
In preparing for your commission plan carefully to select text, a strong composer and to clarify your expectations and parameters in order to commission a strong piece of music that has a life beyond the première.
Tips for Commissioning
Selecting a Composer
Take the time to find a composer who understands your chorus and writes in a style that will be a strong fit for your organization and project. Make sure the composer you select is skilled at writing for choirs! Look at other choral commissioned they have written, listen to their recordings.
Some ensembles use contests to find new music. Pieces are submitted in partial or complete form and a prize (commission fee) is awarded to the selected composition. An advantage here is that the chorus can choose from several pieces instead of just one. You also encourage newer composers to apply.
The organizations below offer composer databases, sample sound and score samples. You can also post a request for commissioning proposals on many of these sites.
This page offers a list of composers that have created commissions, and are familiar with, LGBT choruses along with links to their websites, recordings and score samples.
American Composer's Forum
The ACF is committed to supporting composers and developing new markets for their music. On their website you can list your commission project and request proposals, search their database for a composer.
New Music USA
This organization seeks to find new ways advance the cause of new music and inspire an ever-growing community to listeners. They stream a catalog of new music around the clock on Counterstream Radio as well as providing commissioning grants.
New Music On-Line Library
The Online Library is a searchable database with access to digital scores, sound files and biographical information on composers.
Templates and Sample Contracts
Adapt these contracts to make sure your commission expectations are clearly spelled out between all parties.
- Commission Contract Template
Download this document to use/edit as a template for your commission contract.
- Commission Contract More Contingencies
This template is more complicated and includes several contingencies including reduced fees if deadlines are not met.
Funding a Commission
The best way to fund a commission is to find an individual donor who is interested in leaving a legacy by contributing toward a new piece of music. This donor can be honored with recognition at your concert, in the program and in the PR for the concert premiere.
Some foundations or corporations may offer a dollar match for a fundraising campaign to encourage multiple gifts from your donors.
Consider collaborating with 2-3 other GALA choruses to share the cost of the commission. List your commission idea on this GALA commission discussion board.
The following organizations may provide commissioning grants to choruses or to composers:
New Music USA Supports commissioning fees as well as appearance and residency fees for composers.
The Dr. Catherine Roma Commissioning Fund
This new fund provide commissioning grants to GALA member choruses for new works by women composers.
For not-for-profit arts organizations applying on behalf of artists for the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists in New York City and Minnesota.
American Composer's Forum
These grants are mostly for individual artists but may be a resource for a commissioning collaboration.
GALA Choruses Commissions
Our member choruses have commissioned thousands of new commissions in our 30-year history. Check out these links and consider performing a new work that was previously commissioned by another GALA Chorus.
MUSE: Cincinnati’s Women’s Choir Commissions
MUSE has commissioned and arranged over 100 choral works for women’s chorus – many of them by women composers.
A Sample of GALA Commissions - ACDA Workshop
Excel - This compilation of commissions by GALA choruses was compiled by conductor Joe Buches for an ACDA workshop.
New York City Gay Men’s Chorus Commissions
Applications are now accepted for the first composition project which will be performed by 12 women’s choruses in their hometowns across North America between December 2015 and June 2016 and then performed as a mass chorus at the GALA Choruses Festival in Denver, Colorado July 2-6, 2016.