Composer Commissioning Rules & Regulations

MTNA is dedicated to encouraging the creation of new works by American composers and annually assists its affiliated state associations with the generation and performance of new music through the MTNA Composer Commissioning program. A State MTA wishing to participate in the program must complete a contract. In a joint commission, one of the participating State MTAs completes a contract form, acting on behalf of the other(s).


The State MTA pays the composer a commission fee. The total amount of the fee is at the discretion of the State MTA. MTNA will match the State MTA's contribution to a maximum of $750, but in no case will MTNA's contribution exceed the state's portion.

Two or more state associations may jointly commission a composer. Up to $750 per state will be matched equally by MTNA. Thus, at the maximum dollar-for-dollar match, two states could offer a combined commission fee of $3,000; three states, $4,500; etc. Additionally, states participating in a joint commission may augment these amounts at their discretion, but with no further contribution from MTNA.


A State MTA may commission any composer who is a resident of the United States. The composer does not need to be a member of MTNA, a resident of the state(s) offering the commission or a resident of any state in the division of which the commissioning state is a member.

Procedures and Regulations

  1. After a State MTA Board approves selection of a composer to be commissioned, that state's Commissioning Chair must complete complete the online Composer Information form. In a joint commission, the Commissioning Chair of the state MTA acting on behalf of the other(s) must complete the form.
  2. The contractual delivery of the commissioned work to the State MTA Commissioning Chair must be at least four (4) weeks before the premiere performance at the state convention to allow the State MTA President to notify MTNA via the Commissioning portal that this condition of the contract has been met and for MTNA to initiate the procedure for issuing a check in the amount of  MTNA's matching funds.
  3. The State Commissioning Chair must complete the online Composer Information form.
  4. Once the Composer Information form is completed, MTNA will distribute via email an electronic contract for signature to the composer, state Commissioning Chair, State President.
  5. The MTNA Headquarters staff checks the contract for completeness and accuracy of information and signifies final approval of the contract.
  6. Copies of the contract will be sent via email to all parties.
  7. When the composer has completed the composition and delivered it to the State MTA Commissioning Chair, and arrangements have been finalized for the premiere performance at the State MTA convention, the State MTA President must notify the MTNA Headquarters that these conditions of the contract have been met via the Commissioning portal.
  8. Notification should be made a minimum of two weeks prior to the premiere performance. Upon receipt of the State MTA President's notification, a check is issued payable to the State MTA in the amount of $750 or one-half the commission fee if the total amount of the fee is less than $1,500.
  9. The State MTA Treasurer may expect to receive the check within one to two weeks after MTNA is notified. In a joint commission, a check will be issued in the amount of MTNA's portion agreed upon in the contract. That check will be mailed to the State MTA Treasurer of the state who signed the contract on behalf of the other state(s). That person is also responsible for requesting the agreed-upon funds from the other state(s).
  10. The Internal Revenue Service requires that a Form 1099-MISC. (miscellaneous) be issued to any person receiving more than $600 per year. Therefore, the State must issue this form to the composer by year-end in the year of payment and file a copy along with a 1096 Transmittal Form to the Internal Revenue Service. Forms can be obtained from any office supply store or the Internal Revenue Service. The 1099-MISC. form must be issued to the composer by January 31 of the year following payment, and the 1096 form must be filed with the Internal Revenue Service by March 1 of the year following payment.
  11. A credit line that reads: "The (insert year) commissioned work is funded by Music Teachers National Association and [State] MTA," must be printed on the program. Immediately following the premiere performance, the composer is presented with the check for the commission fee.
  12. Each commissioned composer for each commissioning year will be considered for the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year award. The State MTA Commissioning Chair will submit two copies of the score and two copies of the recording to MTNA Headquarters via the online Commissioning portal, time/date stamped no later than December 1. One copy of the score and one copy of the recording must be submitted with no identification whatsoever of the composer, copyright holder or the nominating state. The second copy of the score and recording should be labeled completely and properly for submission to the MTNA Archives at the University of Cincinnati Libraries. All submitted copies of the scores and recordings become the property of Music Teachers National Association.
  13. All scores and recordings are anonymously submitted to a panel of three recognized composers for selecting the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year and one or more Honorable Mentions.
  14. By mid-January the National Composer Commissioning Chair informs the MTNA Executive Director & CEO of the results of the selection process. The MTNA Executive Director & CEO sends a congratulatory letter to the composer selected as the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year and a similar letter to the composer(s) selected as Honorable Mention(s). The Executive Director & CEO also forwards information regarding the selected composer to the MTNA conference program staff for the purpose of scheduling the performance at the National Conference that year.
  15. According to the terms of the contract, the selected composer is responsible for providing the performer(s) at the national conference. MTNA provides no honorarium or reimbursement of expenses for this performance.
  16. As soon as possible after results of the selection process are known, the MTNA Executive Director & CEO sends notification of results to all other composers and State MTA Presidents and Commissioning Chairs. Scores and recordings are deposited in the MTNA Archives at the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
  17. Following the performance of the new work at the National Conference, the selected composer is presented with the MTNA Distinguished Composer of the Year award and a check in the amount of $5,000.