Robert S. Cohen | composer

Commissioning a New Work

Like most composers, I am very interested in having my music commissioned. The process of commissioning a new work can sometimes seem daunting so I’ve outlined a few questions that you should consider before you start the process.

1. When would you like to start rehearsing and what are your plans for the world premiere?

2. If the piece is for instruments, what is the instrumentation and approximate duration you envision?

3. If the piece is for chorus, what voicing (e.g. SATB, SSA etc.) and skill level is your choir? Is it sacred or secular? Do you have a particular text, style or subject of interest in mind or choose to leave that up to the composer – or lyricist if the text is to be original. If it is to be an original text, do you have any requirements or guidelines for the composer and lyricist? Also, does the concert where this would be premiered have a particular theme? Since much of my music is text driven with a focus on telling a story or exploring unusual subjects, I actually like it when the commissioning individual or organization has something more specific in mind. For example, my work “Alzheimer’s Stories.”

4. If the piece is for chorus, what is the accompaniment you envision… a cappella? Piano? Brass and percussion? Orchestra? Etc.

5. Ah… da money! While there are some published guidelines as to fees, I generally like to negotiate with each specific group to find a fee that fits within your budget. Obviously, the length and size of the instrumentation is an important consideration in determining the fee. Also, if the work is not based on a public-domain text, a portion of the fee will have to go to the lyricist or librettist.

I look forward to working with you to create a memorable and unique work that you and/or your musical organization can be proud of.

Previous Commissions, Fellowships & Awards

The Chicago Ensemble “Discover America IX” selected work

Harrisburg GMC first prize in composition (2017)

ChildrenSong of NJ Commission (2017)

Opera Kansas One Act Composition Winner (2016)

Hong Kong Children’s Chorus Commission (2015)

Philadelphia Boys Choir & Chorale Commission (2011, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Boston Metro Opera Director’s Choice Award (2012)

New England String Quartet International Composition Competition (2011)

Serbia International Review of Composers selection (2011)

St. Martin's Chamber Choir Commission (2010)

Susquehanna Valley Chorale Commission (2009)

Composer’s Circle Award (2008)

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Grant (2006, 2007)

New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship (2006)

Plutzik/Goldwasser Foundation Commission (2005)

American Music Center Grant (2005, 2007)

Meet the Composer Creative Connections Award (2005)

ASCAP Award (2005)

AACT Regional Award (2005)

U.S. Army Europe Entertainment Commendation (2004)

Foundation for Universal Sacred Music Commission (2004)

Westfield Symphony & Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Commission (2004)

Artie Award (Buffalo ArtVoice) Best Musical (Suburb) (2002)

Lucille Lortel Award Nomination – Best Musical (Suburb) (2001)

Outer Critics Circle Award Nomination – Best Musical (Suburb) (2001)

Drama League Award Nomination – Best Musical (Suburb) (2001)

American Academy of Arts & Letters Richard Rodgers Award (2000)