Over the past year I have looked at the question of how to build a more resilient arts economy that supplies a living wage for independent creators. I believe the solution is building commissioning families around creators' bodies of work. The people in these families know how powerful the arts can be. People who are looking to step into a deeper, more personal, more thrilling arts experience. I think there is a new kind of music lover out there who wants to erase the divide between creators and fans and become an equal partner in the creation of the arts. I think there is also a way for commissions to be a bit like collecting a new work of visual art - limited pressings of compact discs or vinyl, beautiful scores suitable for framing, signed sketch pages, the chance to sponsor performances. There are so many reasons I think people want to commission new work from living creators - gifts, holidays, birthdays, weddings, or just for fun! I think there is a bold new world here that we can build together that can build a thriving arts economy and supply artists with a living wage from their work.
I'm really excited to build an 'arts village' - people who want a closer relationship with adventurous new postclassical music - music that crosses the intersections of art music, indie rock, opera, musical theater. It doesn't take lavish sums of money to be a part of this, only a passion for the arts. I hope you will consider being a part of my 'village'! If you are interested in pursuing this relationship, just reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org!
For more information about this, as well as other artists who support these relationships, visit awencreative.org!
Commissioning Mission Statement
Making a new work celebrates the gift of music in a novel and deep way. It’s building a specially crafted universe detail by detail from the inside out. A sonic space whose creation you are fostering and being a part of. It’s like giving a new piece of visual art, or a miniature garden with each detail carefully cultivated.
The process of crafting a song is unique every time. I like to start with building the world the song takes place in. If you think about it, even the simplest love song or poem crosses a threshold into an imaginary space. Out of that space will come a moment, a character, an image, a story, and suddenly we’ve answered that question - ‘why are we singing?’ And that unleashes the stuff the song is made out of.
I like to work with a process that’s kind of like sculpture. There are many different layers and they all inform each other. The drama, the moment - is it serious? funny? The lyrics, the poetic form, the cadence of the words, all taking us to the world of the story. The music - the harmony, the melody coming out of the physical motion of the voice and hands on an instrument. What genres will it touch on? The relationship between lyrics and music. The counterpoint. The instruments. The vocal harmonies.
As you go, the song gets more tactile - the colors more vivid. Mixing and mastering blends them, bringing out lines and shapes. What you’re left with is a living ecosystem of balanced forms, of emotion. Then it’s ready to be shared.
A new world - that’s what you’re giving when you commission a new work. You receive physical artifacts that are a map of that world - a score, a compact disc. The gift itself is an audio sculpture that you and who you’re giving it to experience together.