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Commissioning New Works

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.

GALA-friendly composers
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.
    Word Document
  • Commission Contract More Contingencies
    This template is more complicated and includes several contingencies including reduced fees if deadlines are not met.
    PDF Document
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.

Jerome Foundation
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.

Bayard Rustin: The Man Behind the Dream
This 55-min SATB musical (spoken word and music) celebrates the life of gay African-American civil rights activist, Bayard Rustin, who was a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Music by Steve Milloy and libretto by Vanessa German. The commission includes a curriculum for use in partnership with local schools. Recording. Contact smilloy738 [at] (Steve Milloy).

Quiet No More
An 8-movement commission celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising. Composed for SSAA, SATB and TTBB choirs. The commission also includes a school curriculum. Contact charliebmusic [at] (Charlie Beale).

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
Word Document

Dr. Catherine Roma Commissioning Project

The mission of the Dr. Catherine Roma Women Composer Commissioning Project is to fund new collaborations between GALA member choruses and women composers, resulting in new works that celebrate diversity, promote social justice, and stir the human spirit.

Applications are now for the current Roma Commission which will be performed by SSAA choruses in their hometowns across North America and then performed as a mass chorus at the GALA Choruses 2000 Festival in Minneapolis, MN July 4-8, 2020.

Apply here!



“Try to give a composer a bit of flexibility, especially with text if possible, since it can spark musical ideas. Also be clear about the range/ability of your choral ensemble! Send the composer a copy of any press notices and programs. And a thank-you card signed by the singers is still a nice thing. ”

- Marian Dolan, conductor

GALA Festival 2016 Song list

See the Repertoire resource page for a spreadsheet of music performed at Festival 2016 including publisher and composer contacts. Commissioned works are tracked.