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I'm a first timer on this site. Have patience and mercy with me. For years I've been a professor, performer and Conductor. I'm a composer, not that many would know, I'm on my 711th opus. All classical music. Piano concertos, chamber ensembles, Symphonies, 2 Requiem Masses (One SATB a capella), 2 operas (working on my third). Violin Concertos, etc... Obviously, unlike being a composer of any other kind of music that's focused on an instrument or two and vocals, I don't keep an orchestra or chorus in my bag. So getting a quality recording is really difficult, very involved and ridiculously expensive without backing. With Musescore and Sibelius I've gotten to hear the mix and balance over the years. But I started composing in 1979 where anything too large was only heard in my head and heard on the piano. Any Advice on being known and possibly paid would be utterly appreciated.

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    I'm not sure, whether marketing strategy is on-topic here. I guess, you need lots of contacts, to find a conductor of a more unknown but competent orchestra who agrees to play some selected works and get them video recorded. In that phase you probably have to provide the sheet music for free. Then use all social networks to distribute the link... – guidot Apr 5 at 13:45
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    Does it have to be classical concert performances, or would having your music featured in films, TV or video games work? – ojs Apr 5 at 15:25
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    You are a professor. Are you a professor of music? And do you work at a large establishment with a music department? If so could they be asked to assist with this? – JimM Apr 6 at 7:32
  • Check into TAXI --> taxi.com there is fee but it could be worth i if it gets you to the people that can help. – dale landry Apr 7 at 1:34
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A few avenues you could pursue:

  1. There are many competitions for composers, and these are a primary way to gain recognition. Prizes can include monetary award, performances of the piece, and/or commissions for future work. Competitions are sponsored by local, national, and international organizations. A basic internet search will give you an abundance of initial resources for finding competitions.

  2. Commissions: Local, national, and international ensembles will hire composers for a single work or multiple works. Some ensembles offer a "composer in residence" position. These may or may not pay, and exposure depends on the exposure of the ensemble. (John Adams, in his autobiography, tells of times he and other composers would create concerts in any run-down space and with any musicians they could find.)

  3. Putting on your own concerts. Expensive, indeed, so starting with pieces for smaller ensembles and/or collaborating with other composers might be a good way to start.

    a. Local, national, and international civic, professional, charitable, governmental, and other organizations offer grants to composers to assist in funding performance of their work. Applying for grants can take substantial time in researching grants and compiling materials for applications, but a well-written application can provide a great deal of support.

    b. Crowdfunding: If making inroads into the "classical music establishment" isn't happening sufficiently, taking your case directly to the (potential) audience might help. Kickstarter, for example, has a section devoted to classical music. A blog post by mezzo-soprano Maren Montalbano on iCadenza offers some tips from her experience, and a NPR podcast also discussed the ups and downs, pros and cons of crowdfunding.

  4. It's not uncommon for composers to create arrangements of their large works for smaller ensembles in the interest of getting them performed. Orchestral parts in concertos can be arranged for piano, for example; and large vocal works can be excerpted and arranged to allow for solo or small ensemble performance.

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    Any specific reason that releasing higher quality synthetized playback isn't on your list? I am not much of a musician, but I would have expected that in such a situation as a first step releasing synthesized versions across all streaming platforms would be at least an option if not outright the only sensible option in this day and age. And if you make something an orchestra will want to play you can sell the score wherever you want. – David Mulder Apr 5 at 21:09
  • @DavidMulder Only that I don't have experience with that approach and so can't speak to its methodology or effectiveness. (I'm aware it has worked for pop musicians, but I don't know of an example in the classical world.) – Aaron Apr 5 at 21:13
  • @DavidMulder Your comment got me thinking, and, FYI, I've added a paragraph on crowdfunding. Thanks for the prompt. – Aaron Apr 6 at 23:42
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Maestro, many cities have societies for composers, such as the Melbourne Composers' League, which have links with performers who are interested in performing new music. If I were a composer I'd look for a group near where I live. In New Zealand there is an annual Composers Workshop, which has performers "on tap".

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  • +1 for "finding a group where you live". Not all orchestras (or brass bands or concert bands) are professional and there’s something quite exciting about a "world premiere". Although, you may have to temper expectations as to the technical capabilities of the performers. – Pam Apr 6 at 13:53

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