The joy of commissioning new music

One of the most fulfilling projects that I have been a part of in my career has been the creation of a harp and percussion duo with my husband, The Mackle Shaw Duo, and our subsequent desire to commission new music for ourselves.

Thus far we have commissioned pieces from composers Michael Ippolito, Nathan Daughtrey, Daniel Black, The Honourable Elizabeth A. Baker, and our newest composer and collaborator Mattea Williams. When I first began searching for a new composer with whom to collaborate, Mattel’s name was recommended to me by another composer so I went to her website and listened to some of the fantastic music she has composed. Then I discovered that she and I attended the same alma mater, Baldwin-Wallace University, and it felt like this collaboration was meant to be.

As with all commissioning projects we have been involved with, I started out by writing an email to Mattea and introducing myself. I asked if she had interest and availability to compose a piece for harp and percussion and we discussed her fee and the timeline for completion of the project. Over the next several months Mattea worked on the piece in addition to other projects she had going on, and she would give us frequent updates and send us snippets of what she had written.

Last week she sent the finished piece and I couldn’t be happier! It is a beautiful piece and I can’t wait to dive in and start learning it. We will be performing the world premiere of Mattea’s  piece, along with some of our other favorite harp and percussion pieces, April 13, 2024 at 2pm at The Palladium Theater, St. Petersburg.

We hope to see many of you there!

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