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The Minnesota Orchestra's microcommission project is anything but micro

Judd Greenstein

Judd Greenstein

"As you can see, all my publicity photos feature animals with laser beam eyes," states composer Judd Greenstein on his blog. Greenstein welcomes people visiting his site via a link from the Minnesota Orchestra's webpage. He's participating in the orchestra's first-ever microcommission program. It's a very modern approach to commissioning a piece of art -- in this case a musical piece -- that is accessible to everyone, not just those with disposable income.

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Not exactly sure what a microcommission is? Don't worry -- it's something the Minnesota Orchestra made up. Really. According to conductor Sarah Hicks on the orchestra's Inside the Classics blog, "...yes, it's a word we made up, and no, it's not a really, really small commission! Rather, this is an initiative we're launching to allow anyone and everyone to be a part of the commissioning process, which has traditionally been in the domain of the major donor."

It's not small commission, in fact, it's the largest fee Greenstein will have received up until now. Over the next year and a half, the orchestra hopes to raise $20,000 from many small donations from the community rather than donations from a select few who have thousands of dollars to spare. Greenstein's final work will premiere in 2012.

Bringing together a community of people in this way speaks to the ideals of the orchestra, as well as the composer. "I love community! I love breaking-down-barriers," Greenstein says on his blog. "I don't believe in sequestering artists away from the rest of society, I want to know my audience and my fans...creating new work for welcoming communities is one of the few means we have of fostering a genuine sense of collective experience. This project feels like a perfect extension of all those ideals."

Donate as much or as little as you would like to the Minnesota Orchestra's musical microcommission project on their website. You can read more about Judd Greenstein on his blog as well as on the Inside The Classics blog.