Add Your Voice to the Musical Freedom Trail
This is How You Commission a New Work in this Series…
Commission a Choral, Orchestral and/or dramatic work that explores America’s struggle for racial equality from a global perspective.
Traditional Commissioning – Your ideas can be framed around a traditional commission model. Here is how it works…
Identify a Text, Theme or Goal- We begin a new musical work with your goals and ideas. This may start with a text you would like to use or it may start with a musical and/or development goal for your ensemble or institution. Here are some questions to consider…
- What local abolition story/historical figure do we want to celebrate in music?
- What artistic challenges would inspire my ensemble to new levels of performance?
- What new connections do I want to forge between my ensemble and the community?
With these ideas in mind, we will design a project that includes as much interaction with me as you want, working with performers, composition classes, donor events, pre-concert lectures, online chats, etc.
Use this Executive Summary to Build Support for Your New Commission Executive Summary (pdf)
Identify Partners-If we go with a partnership model, then we would engage your stakeholders in the creative process. Both musical and non-musical partners can contribute ideas, resources, and new opportunities that can…
- mold and shape the new musical work
- forge new ties with key partners at the local, national, and international levels.
Identify Common Goal(s)- Your partners will share a common goal that can be musical, civic, religious, or business related. We will articulate these goals, then design a project that places the creation of new music at the heart of sustainable collaborations between institutions and individuals.
Once we settle on these concepts, we will develop a contract that meets your financial needs and your production calendar. We will also explore ways to engage your audience in both the creation and the performance of the new work through web-based tools and social media.
We look forward to hearing your ideas! Contact Us
Menu of Project Components
Find here some ideas for framing your new commission project…
- Civic Celebrations/Workshops will engage your organizations in the question… “What does Emancipation Mean to Our Community Today?”
- Multi-disciplinary Educational Partnerships- projects may include partnerships with departments of History, English, Anthropology, Communications, etc. that both enhance the understanding of the music and extend the reach of stakeholders and funding streams.
- Technology Assisted Performance– New works will include opportunities for synchronous and non-synchronous global collaboration in the development, performance, and assessment of project activities. Artists and scholars in Ghana, West Africa and the United Kingdom stand ready to work with American project partners. We also have contacts in Haiti, Nicaragua, and Trinidad that can join appropriate projects.
- Network of artists/scholars whose work will be jointly promoted through the project website, journal articles, conference presentations, etc.
- Local Cultural Partners– projects may also include partnerships with local or regional cultural organizations that celebrate their region’s role in this pivotal point in American History.
- Domestic/International Concert Tours– Our network of partners stand ready to assist in domestic concert tours (for example, following the pathway of Frederick Douglass from slavery in Maryland to his famous newspaper in Rochester, NY) and international concert tours (for example, performing spirituals in the slave castles of Ghana and other locations).
- K12 Integration– projects may include a variety of K12 components including…
- Joint premier performances
- Artist-in-Residence master classes in composition/world music
- Artist-in-Residence student composition work that extends project activities and/or includes student work in the premier performance.
- Professional Development/Curriculum Design for K12 teachers in the integration of arts activities into the study of Math, Science, Social Studies, ELA, etc.
Suggested Additional Emancipation Texts and Project Concepts
- Lincoln-Douglas Debates– oratorio to chamber opera for multiple soloists, choir, ethnic percussion, 2 violins, cello, piano.
- The Autobiography of Frederick Douglass– oratorio to chamber opera for multiple soloists, ethnic percussion, strings, piano…exploration of this pivotal figure in American History who was born into slavery, escaped, and became one of the greatest orators of the abolition movment.
- The Autobiography of Oladauh Equiano– oratorio to chamber opera for multiple soloists, ethnic percussion, strings, piano…exploration of this early 19th c. slave narrative of a boy kidnapped in West Africa, his journey through Caribbean slavery, and his pivotal role in the British abolition movement culminating in 1807.
- The Emancipation Psalms– song cycle for multiple soloists, choir, ethnic percussion, piano…setting of Old Testament Psalms with musical gestures from the Americas.
- Caribbean Spirituals-song cycle for choir, ethnic percussion, piano…reimagining of American Spirituals within Caribbean rhythmic contexts.
- American Document Suite– Choir, world percussion, piano…world music settings of foundational documents including the The Pledge of Allegiance, “Give me your tired, your poor,” etc. to explore the multicultural meaning of these documents in our world.
- Slave Narrative Settings-single works, oratorio, and/or chamber opera forms are available for the exploration of a variety of slave narratives. Such works may also want to explore related topics such as 19th century women’s suffrage.
- Dante and Abolition– 19th abolitionists worked with leaders of the Italian Resorgimento (when Italy became a modern country in 1870) on their respective struggles for freedom and equality. Dante’s Divine Comedy became a surprising literary engine for much of this discussion. I propose a world music setting of Dante’s poem to explore its relevance in a contemporary multi-cultural world.
- Your Abolition Texts– musical settings of abolition texts from your area. Include your local texts in this global, artistic conversation.