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How to Have a Successful World Premiere



A World Premiere is a Big Deal for any composer. It is a chance to have your music played live for people! It is a chance to get it recorded. If things go well it may lead to future performances. It is a big deal.

And you want to get the most you can out a World Premiere. Success leads to success and depending on how you leverage your World Premiere it may lead to future opportunities: Future Performances of the Work, New Commissions, New Possibilities for Submissions, and the chance to cultivate lasting relationships with collaborators. Don’t underestimate this!

So, before I get going down the Rabbit Hole here, I recognize that not everything I am going to say is possible, depending on your schedule and your life and even if you are able to physically be at the premiere. These are just a collection of things that I have learned that have helped me and I hope that they help you.

BEFORE THE WORLD PREMIERE

Go to every rehearsal that you can possibly go to. Bring your score. I made a video about this topic that is linked below. LINK!@#$%^&*\

Your goal is to provide solutions and to be easy to work with. If you can, talk to the performers and conductor. Be gracious. “Hey that solo sounds amazing, thank you so much”. Gratitude takes you a long way here.

Remember, a successful career means having cultivated many relationships with all kinds of collaborators.

So, it is crucial that you approach everyone with appreciation. Avoid generic things like: Good Job or sounds good. You want to be as specific to them as possible.

Have you ever had someone come up to you after a concert or performance, and tell you that they really enjoyed something that you did.? Wow that piece was beautiful, I don’t know how you did it.

That probably meant something to you. And that is what you want to offer someone else. Be the audience member you wish would come up and talk to you, listen for the details. Notice when they are playing who is really getting into the music. Tell them!

They will feel seen and heard, and this is the best thing that you can do.

It will always be awkward. That is just part of the game.

If possible, and of course with permission, take some pictures for your social media accounts, or short videos.

The most important thing is this:

Record the Dress Rehearsal. If you learn anything from me, be it this. So many times the dress rehearsal has a better run, than the concert. There is less pressure. It is in a rehearsal so they are warmed up and primed to play. There is no audience, so no coughing during the quiet moments. It is just the best time to do it.

When you arrive at the Premiere be sure to get a Program.

DURING THE WORLD PREMIERE:

Record the Performance on your phone. Sitting in your lap as you listen. You may be surprised at how well the recording can be. One of my best Score Videos is of my choir piece, and the recording is literally just my phone in my lap.

Now, that practical piece of advice comes from Sydney Guillaume, who is an amazing composer and whose info I’ve linked his info above.

The reason this is SO Crucial, is because organizations and performers, do not always prioritize getting the recording to you. In fact, you may wait VERY long periods of time before you get the official recording. Sometimes, it never happens.

This helps you have sometime concrete to work with, and gives you the power to share your music with others. It is essential to your business, so take the time to do it.

Be willing to talk with people during the break. If there are other composers, congratulate them! Give them a real compliment, not just a good job, but take the time to notice a detail in their music and tell them. As often as you can, be the audience member that you wish would come up and talk to you. Be sincere with your gratitude.

Also, talk with the non-music people, especially if they want to talk with you. You never know who is on the Board of Whatever, or who could be a Patron in the future, so don’t blow them off. Engage with them. You never know when you've met an ally.

Also, if you haven’t yet, you should definitely pick up a Program.

AFTER THE WORLD PREMIERE:

Ideally there is celebrating, and getting to spend some time congratulating the performers and thanking the conductor if possible.

Send Everyone a Thank you Email a day after the event. Short and sweet, just show gratitude.

If you were able to get pictures and/or video, Post on Social Media! Tag people, share some excerpts. This is an important part of your proof concept.

Before you move on into the next project, take the time to make some SMALL final edits to your piece. Was there a section the conductor kept having to remind everyone to softer? Consider changing the dynamic to fit that. Did the conductor constantly start at measure 47? But you don’t have a rehearsal mark there? Well then add it in. I only recommend doing small changes, I don’t think it is wise to change the DNA of the piece, like the pitches and the rhythm. But, make the small changes that will make the next performance of the work even more successful.

After you do that, make a Score Video and Upload it to YouTube. You can embed it on your Website. These are very simple to make. yOU literally just take a Screenshot of the Score. (You may consider hiding staves to make the video more clear). Line it up with the recording in your video maker. I use iMovie and it is literally so easy once you get the hang of it. This will help your music be so much more visible and accessible.

If making a video is intimidating, then at least post the recording. You never know who might be interested. I was able to sell a copy of saxophone quartet I wrote forever ago, because a professor found it on YouTube and reached out.

So, whatever you do, post it in someway on a platform like YouTube and/or Soundcloud.

If you haven’t done so already, Register the Work for royalties. Remember that program that I was talking about? You will use that to report your performance so you can GET THE FREE MONEY. It is very easy to do and it can really add up as you get more performances and opportunities.

Lastly, I recommend taking the time to Enjoy the Milestone. Every piece is an accomplishment and it can be so easy to forget that in our super fast paced busy lives. Enjoy the Victory. It is amazing how the music can all add up. We are building a big quilt one square at a time. The best work, the works we really want to make, well we don’t get to make them without all of the pieces that lead up to them. So, enjoy the moment and Get Ready to Face the Blank Page and do it all over again :)

Thank you so much for watching.

What was your best world premiere? Id’ love to hear about it in the comments below. What made it special? I’d also love to hear any horror stories. What went wrong? Why? There is so much we can all learn from each other.


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