MTNA is dedicated to encouraging the creation of new works by American composers and annually assists its affiliated State Associations with the generation and performance of new music through the national Composer Commissioning program. A newly commissioned work receives its premiere performance at the convention of the State MTA responsible for that commission.
To further promote and recognize outstanding contributions to American music, MTNA annually has its State Affiliates submit their commissioned works to a panel of recognized composers for selection of the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year. The new work of the selected composer is presented in a concert performance at the next MTNA National Conference, and the composer is proclaimed the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year. The selected composer also receives a check for $5,000.
A commission is a formal, written agreement between two or more parties authorizing the performance of a certain task-that is, the act of entrusting, of placing confidence in someone to carry out a task that person has been authorized to do. In terms of the MTNA Composer Commissioning program, a commission is for the successful creation of a new musical work, for which the commissioning State MTA will pay a commission fee, including MTNA's matching funds up to $750. A commission is not a prize for an extant composition; rather, it is meaningful encouragement for a recognized composer to create a new musical work after formal agreement is reached.
MTNA makes no stipulations regarding composer choice, performance medium, composition length or compositional style. These decisions are left to each state association and its commissioned composer.
However, three practical considerations are worth noting:
Important Notice Reproduction of this score, in whole or part, by mechanical or handwritten means is prohibited. The composer holds all rights pertaining to the attached score, including performance rights. Permission to perform this work must be obtained from the composer. The Music Teachers National Association can assist with contacting the composer. Write to Executive Director/CEO, MTNA, The Carew Tower, 441 Vine Street, Suite 3100, Cincinnati, Ohio 45202-3004, or call the Executive Director/CEO at (888) 512-5278.
Generally, commissioning is done one or more years in advance of the premiere performance. Some states allow two years. A minimum time of ten (10) months between commissioning a composer and the premiere performance at the state convention is recommended.
Previously commissioned works may be performed along with the new work.
The continued success of the MTNA Composer Commissioning Program depends on constructive input from the state MTAs. Questions and/or suggestions should be directed to the National Composers Commissioning Chair, found under National Chairs listed on the last page of every issue of American Music Teacher.