Music Patrons Commissioning Ambitious New Works

A report in the Financial Times explores how patrons are finding their way into commissioning new music. The story includes insights from New Music Connect member Justus Schlichting.

The Schlichtings’ scale of involvement is wide. Often they give a composer free rein to write their dream piece and don’t even set a deadline. Once the couple gave violinist Jennifer Koh funds to help repay the loan she had taken out to buy her Stradivarius, in return for a set of capriccios written by her friends, who are significant composers. Sometimes they seek composers out, other times composers call them, and Schlichting adds that donating to arts organisation New Music USA has helped facilitate the process. He is a member of its New Music Connect group, which gives him access to artists’ grant requests. “If I see something that excites me, I claim it.” Schlichting’s advice to anyone who wants to follow his lead is simple: “Remember that every new piece requires three things: somebody to write the music, somebody to play it and somebody to present it. If you don’t have all three, it’s not going to happen. A composer doesn’t want to spend time and energy writing a piece, no matter what they are paid, unless they know it’s going to be performed.”

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