"The choral music of David Brunner resonates with imagination, lyricism and vitality.  He is America's next Ned Rorem."

Doreen Rao
Director of Choral Programmes
University of Toronto 


The experience of bringing a work into existence for the first time is a rewarding one for composer, conductor, performers and audience, unlike any other musical experience.  Choirs often initiate a commission project to mark an important milestone, recognize significant people or commemorate special occasions. 


The timetable for delivery of the score is one of the first considerations.  Generally commissions are contracted a year or more in advance, but the timeline is sometimes flexible. 

Your Choir

So that I can write music that is age and experience appropriate, it is helpful for me to know as much as possible about your choir:  age, voicing, distribution of parts, optimum vocal ranges, the sorts of musical things they do best, and the reason for the commission (choir anniversary, commemorative piece or special occasion).  A recent recording is always helpful.


Text is the most important consideration for me and the search for appropriate words often takes the most time.  I welcome suggestions of favorite poets or themes (celebratory, contemplative) and usually suggest several texts that resonate with me.

Composer Residence

Working together in collaboration with singers and conductor who are preparing the first performance of a new work is the most exciting part of the project for me.  My involvement in rehearsal as the work nears its first performance or at the premiere itself is included in the commission project and often the most rewarding part of the process for the conductor and performers.

Joint Commissions

Joint commissions and consortia are increasingly appealing to choirs whose budget resources may not normally allow a commission and are often very successful for all involved.  Consider inviting another choir to share this experience.


A contract outlines mutual expectations and obligations and is drafted and agreed upon before signing.  Contact me for complete details.


I would welcome the opportunity to write something especially for you and your singers!

Commissioning Music:  A Basic Guide (pdf on