Welcome About Me News Contact Music 

JOHN CAREY COMPOSITIONS SERVICES 



Composing / Arranging
If you are interested in commissioning an original musical work or an arrangement of an existing one, please contact me with the pertinent details. Though you are welcome to be as specific or as general as you like regarding the particulars of the work, here are some aspects you might want to consider in your commission:
 
 
Event / performance / occasion for which this work is being commissioned;
 
Genre (Classical, Jazz, Rock, musical theatre, etc.);
 
Ensemble / Instrumentation (piano solo, string quartet, full orchestra, wind ensemble, Jazz band, etc.);
 
Length (exact or approximate);
 
Difficulty level (professional / high school / beginner / etc.);
 
Mood / character / emotional content that the work should convey (be as specific as you wish);
 
 
I will be happy make as many of the creative decisions as  necessary depending on the information you provide for me, though it should be noted that it will take significantly less time for me to compose a quality work if I have some guidance from the com-missioner; therefore, if the work must be finished by an early deadline, providing as many details about the specifics of the work would be quite helpful.
 
________________________
 
 
For examples of my work, please visit my Recordings page.
 
For a quick overview of my versatility as a composer, I recommend listening to my piece Anachronisms, which can be found on my Recordings page under the genre labeled “Electronic.” This is a suite of very short pieces (between 15 and 30 seconds in length) that are all based on the same melodic theme, but are all written in drastically different genres. They are parodic in nature, highlighting the clichés of each genre whilst still attempting to provide a fresh and unique interpretation of them.
 
For examples of my work as an arranger, I suggest Abracadabra! (found in the “Musical Theatre” category), an original musical for which I was commissioned to com-pose instrumental arrange-ments. Genres from which these arrangements draw influence are Folk, Country, Rock, Latin, and others. You may also be interested in my arrangement of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen for piano and mountain dulcimer, or my rendition of Claude Debussy’s Feux d'artifice for mixed ensemble.
 
For an example of my original work as a songwriter, please listen to The Song of the Lucky Buckaroos. Since I do not own the rights to the lyrics, I provide only the instrumental track. This song could be considered a Pop ballad of sorts, with some musical theatre influences.
 
In terms of my work in the realm of classical / concert music, my early works (pre-2008) are heavily influenced stylistically by late Romantic composers, such as Sergei Rachmaninoff and Gustav Mahler, though elements of Jazz and Impressionism can also be found. In pieces composed between 2008-2010, the tendencies toward Impression-ism / Jazz are greater, creating a slightly more “Contemporary” sound. Works written from 2010 to the present (starting with my String Quartet) continue to progress in a more modern direction, but still retain the elements of Romanticism found in my music since my earliest compositions.
 
However, I am also open to accepting commissions for classical pieces written in styles that are significantly different than my own -- this includes pieces written using modern techniques (serialism, minimalism, prepared piano, etc.) as well as pieces meant to imitate the style of a particular historical era (Baroque, Classical, etc.) or even the music of a specific composer (a piano nocturne in the style of Chopin, etc.). Keep in mind that the degree of detail requested regarding stylistic preferences may affect the price of the commission.
“What is this page?”
 
This page contains information regarding my work as a composer. A professional composer derives the majority of their income through commissions. Generally, an individual or company will require original music for a particular event, performance, or project; they will then hire a composer which they believe possesses the musical abilities or style best suited to the occasion for which the music is needed.
 
 
“What styles of music may be commissioned?”
 
As a composer, I find it important to be as creatively flexible as possible, and I am confident in saying that I offer an immense amount of versatility and variety to those interested in commissioning me. Due to my formal training in the discipline of classical composition combined with the fact that I am an avid listener and appreciator of nearly every major musical genre, I feel completely comfortable composing in nearly any style requested of me. No matter what the ensemble or genre, I approach every new compositional endeavor with the same amount of passion and dedication that I apply to all of my works.
 
I am capable of composing music in all of the following genres:
 
 
Classical / Concert music [including imitations of music from all the major historical eras (Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Impressionism) or 20th century movements (minimalism, aleatoric music, etc.)];
 
Jazz (big band, Ragtime, bebop, etc.);
 
Rock (including most subgenres, such as Metal or Progressive);
 
Electronic music (both the concert and dance varieties);
 
Musical theatre;
 
...and many others! (Pop, Hip-hop, and Folk/Country among others)
 
 
I believe that my knowledge and training in all of these types of music make it possible for me to compose convincingly in just about any genre desired. If you have an idea for a commission in a style I have not listed above, do not hesitate to contact me about it, and I will let you know honestly if I feel I possess the capabilities to do it. As a general rule, the only styles of music that I will not accept commissions for are those in which the production values are a major component of the compositional process (i.e. many forms of electronic music, such as Dubstep) -- though I do have some training in production and may provide commissioners with recordings that could be considered adequate in quality for, say, a demo tape or backing track, I consider my abilities as a producer to be too limited to compose convincingly in genres of the aforementioned type.
 
 
“Why should I commission an original work?”
 
In modern society, it seems unlikely that most individuals would have any reason to commission a composer. However, I would like to challenge this idea -- I am convinced that there are actually many people who could use the services of a composer such as myself, but sadly have no idea about the immense variety of occasions for which original music could provide great value.
 
Situations in which one might commission an original work include:
 
  1.  Choral concerts (school and professional)
  2.  Competitions
  3.  Dance / ballet
  4.  End of semester evaluations
  5.  Film soundtracks
  6.  Funerals and memorial services
  7.  High school and college bands
  8.  Incidental music for plays and other theatrical performances
  9.  Jingles for advertisements
  10.  Musical theatre
  11.  New repertoire for chamber ensembles and symphonic orchestras
  12.  Religious services
  13.  Solo instrumental and vocal recitals
  14.  Special events, both personal and business-related
  15.  Television programs and commercials
  16.  Unique gift to a friend or loved one
  17.  Video game soundtracks
  18.  Weddings
 
The amount of occasions that could benefit from an original musical score are literally endless. A commissioned piece of music can make any concert or recital significantly more memorable, or add an incredibly personal touch to a wedding or other significant event. Whether one is a professional musician in need of new repertoire, a filmmaker in need of an inspiring soundtrack, a family member who wants their own words about a deceased loved one set to music to be performed at a funeral, a school band director who needs an exciting new piece to perform in a national competition, or just an individual who simply loves music and wants to have an original composition tailored to their liking, there are actually thousands of average people who could greatly benefit from the services of a professional composer.
 
 
“What does it cost?”
 
It is a common belief that the act of commissioning the work of a composer is a luxury reserved exclusively for the rich -- in fact, most people earning a regular salary would not even consider the idea, assuming immediately that such a service would be far too expensive for them to afford. It is unfortunate that this is such a common assumption, because it makes the career of a composer who has yet to achieve widespread recognition very difficult, and it also prevents a lot of wonderful new music from being written.
 
With that said, it is undeniable that the work of a composer is incredibly time-consuming, difficult, and often quite tedious and frustrating. Even a rather short section of music can take a tremendous amount of time to write. Furthermore, the abilities possessed by a competent and experienced composer are not something with which many are endowed -- in addition to the immense amount of knowledge required about quite literally every aspect of music, which is usually the result of many years of rigorous education and practice of the craft (which even the greatest composers would admit is a lifelong process), many would argue that any notable composer must, to some degree, also possess an innate talent and natural passion, which would mean that a person could theoretically dedicate their entire life to learning composition and still never truly learn to compose well!
 
Therefore, considering the amount of time and effort involved in composing a new work combined with the fact that there is such a small amount of individuals actually capable of composing professionally, it would again seem that the price of a composer’s work would be quite high. However, there are many factors to take into account to determine the price of a commission, for example: the length of the piece, the amount of performers required,  the amount of time given before the deadline, any additional specifications provided by the commissioner that may be difficult to realize, etc. Therefore, a prelude for piano that consists of a couple pages would obviously carry a significantly lower price than a multi-movement work for full orchestra.
 
On the other hand, the commissioner may already have a specific fee in mind, which will either be accepted or negotiated depending on the nature of the request. After I have come to an agreement with the commissioner, I will then provide a contract which must be signed by both parties. Half of the commission fee is to be paid following the signing of this contract, with the rest being paid upon completion of the score.
 
One last consideration in determining price: I may be more likely to lower the fee of a commission if I know that the work I composed will be heard by an audience of a notable size. Sometimes the value of the exposure such performances may bring me will be worth negotiating a lower price than I might have initially requested. [Please note that while I encourage performances of my works, I still retain all rights to my music -- I must be contacted for permission before any public performance of my works that has not been previously agreed upon, including those that have been commissioned.]
 
 
“What does a commission entitle me to?”
 
On the most basic level, all the commission entitles you to is the creation of a piece that has been composed according to your specifications. However, the existence of the music alone is not particularly useful to the commissioner, which is why the exact details about what the commissioner may do with the music will be outlined in the contract. Generally, the commissioner will receive the score (and parts, if applicable), and may also be given exclusive performance rights for a temporary length of time if decided upon and included in the contract. Other matters, such as the right to record the work, how I will be credited should the work be presented publicly (programs, credit screens, etc.), and how any situation in which the work is used shall be advertised/promoted, will also be determined.
 
It is up to the commissioner to describe exactly what they wish to receive upon completion of the work, as well as what their intentions are regarding present and future performances/recordings. It is important to keep in mind that having commissioned a work does not entitle one to use of it in any form other that that which was previously outlined in the original contract; if additional use is desired, I must first be contacted and provided with all the relevant information.
 
 
“What are your policies on arrangements?”
 
I will arrange/orchestrate music into any ensemble of the commissioner’s choosing,  provided the source material is in public domain or the commissioner owns the copyright / can give proof of the copyright owner’s consent. All of the information above regarding commissioning original works also applies to my services as an arranger. Unless the commissioner specifically requests that the arrangement I compose follows the source material in a very straightforward manner, I will generally attempt to provide a unique and colorful approach to my use of the ensemble chosen, whilst still remaining true to the character of the source material (though I can also change both the style and character of the original music, if desired).
BACK
Detailed information about the variety of services I provide.