Anatomy of a Commission

Designed for both music creators and their collaborators, “Anatomy of a Commission” is a digital resource that aims to increase transparency about the commissioning process.

The goal of this year-long initiative is to amplify the powerful impact of collaboration with living creators and encourage equitable experiences.

Rather than directing a one-size-fits-all approach, “Anatomy of a Commission” supports the dynamic nature of each unique commissioning scenario.

“Anatomy of a Commission” offers information, insights, and resources in multiple formats:

  • A Discussion Guide to encourage necessary pre-contract conversations between artistic parties
  • Updated contract templates with annotated fields for different scenarios
  • Written articles from composers and other collaborators providing examples of their own successful (or unsuccessful) experiences
  • Filmed conversations between collaborators (composer/presenter, composer/commissioner) who discuss the nuances of an equitable experience
  • A “National Co-Commissioning Hub” for those seeking to join a commission consortium (a collaborative effort among ROCO, New Music USA, American Composers Orchestra, and American Composers Forum); and
  • Office Hours concerning common legal issues when commissioning new music.

Do you have experiences you’d like to share, or questions about the process you’d like to see answered here? You can share them with us by visiting the Ask ACF page and we will follow up! Join ACF’s newsletter list or keep an eye on this page for updated information.

This project is supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional support is provided by Augusta Gross and Leslie Samuels, and Rob Mason, and the Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation.

We wish to thank the Eastman School of Music’s Master of Arts in Music Leadership graduate cohort members (Samantha Andrew, Sarah Bertrand, and Rebecca Clarke) for their work on the initial design of this project as well as Daniel Bernard Roumain, Melissa Ngan, Rachel Roberts, and everyone who contributed feedback on the concept.