New music commissions on the rise, report finds

BASCANew music commissions have increased by more than 20 percent since 2008 while competition for funding has stiffened, a new report finds.

The BASCA Commissioners’ Review has found that 234 new pieces of music were commissioned in 2008 compared to 282 in 2012 – a rise of 20.5 percent.

The report also predicted that commissioning activity in 2013 is expected to remain stable.

However, the total spend on commission fees decreased from £810,755 in 2008 to a predicted £792,400 in 2013.

Most commissioners contacted for the review said that funding is becoming increasingly difficult to secure and many organisations are dealing with the challenge by seeking partners for co-commissioning.

The report also found: ‘There is a possibility that each composer is receiving fewer commissions because there are more composers; commissioners reported that competition between composers is fierce and that there are always more available composers than capacity to commission.’

In total, 119 UK commissioners were surveyed for the report including orchestras, ensembles, choirs and arts organisations such as venues, festivals and broadcasters.

They were asked if they have a gender, race or age diversity policy in place when choosing composers. Of the 92 commissioners who responded, 63 per cent said they allocated commissions based on artistic merit rather than diversity, with just six per cent indicating they make their decision based on a diversity policy.

While most new works commissioned for the concert hall or stage were contemporary classical in style, the report found there is a small but growing activity in commissioning jazz.

Although respondents involved in jazz reported that it’s commissioned far less than classical music despite similar audience numbers, jazz composition is becoming increasingly recognised through commissioning and performance at festivals.

The report also found that the BBC is the single biggest commissioner of new music in the UK, both in terms of number of works commissioned and overall spending.

Read the full report at http://www.basca.org.uk/documents/the-commissioners-view/

 

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