Home Production Arranging Composition Performing Contact Listen About Matt Holsen Client Login

Music Composition

What I do
What I charge

 What I do:

I compose music - art songs, pop songs, choral pieces, instrumentals in many styles.  I've done it all my adult life, either for my own use as a performer, or just for pleasure.  It hasn't been a line of work, like arranging or producing, but I have composed a few things for clients. I got my first formal commission many years back when GALA Hispanic Theater in DC asked me to write a score for a Peruvian farce for which the original music could not be located. (An unusual job: It required fluency in Spanish and knowlege of popular music in South America in the 40's, both of which I happened to have.)

In the following years a few odd composition jobs fell in my lap: incidental music for a mime troupe, music for a documentary on the Honduran civil war, a setting of a 16th century Spanish devotional poem for a church choir, music-on-hold for a DJ company. (Did I mention that these jobs were odd...?)

Anyway, I'm now formally hanging out my shingle as a composer. What I can do? I can...

What do I charge for custom music?                 [ top of page ]  

This is not like arranging or production. I don't have a set fee. The 'deliverable' varies widely. Contact me and tell me what you have in mind, and I'll come up with a project cost. If it's a really exciting job, I'll bid low. If you are a non-profit doing good work, I might be able to do it pro bono. On the other hand, I may not be able to take the job, if I don't think I can do it well. For example, I would decline to set a text or a lyric if I find it unmusical or ugly.

Examples               [ top of page ]

Below are a few examples of my compositions. It's just a few recent pieces, for now. I'll add more as I dig them up and make audio demos. They are an odd assortment, as you'll hear. I'll try my hand at anything. Give a listen. If you're ever in the market for original music -- a video, a choir, an AV presentation, even music-on-hold -- or you know someone who is, I'd love to hear from you/him/her.

The demo requires the Flash plugin. If you don't have it and don't wish to install it, you can still download mp3's of on the Listen Page.

Some notes about the selections:

Metrocon7 - Written on spec for a radio show. Sort of jazzy blues-based riff with an underlying beat that owes a lot to hip-hop. It ended up not getting used, but it's pretty cool so I'm including it. Everything is sampled except the solo trombone. The middle part is just two 12-bar blues choruses, designed to be talked over. The solo part in that section was improvised by the trombone player, John Jensen.

Agnus Dei - From my Missa Brevis in A minor, written for a Northern Viginia Church (with a superb professional choir. It's fairly hard music to sing). Uses jazz harmonies, but an antique rhythmic language. Hundreds of composers have set the Latin Mass, and I've set it several times over the years. I don't have a choral recording, so it's played here by sampled woodwinds. You can see a pdf of the score to see how the latin text fits the notes.

Choral Song 3 - Also written for a church. A setting of an anonymous 16th centurySpanish religious poem. One of a set of 3. A more conventional harmonic language than the previous one. I like to set Spanish because I grew up speaking it and the vowels are very pure. Again, I don't have a recording of the choir, so this demo is played by sampled strings. You can download a pdf of the score to see the Spanish words.

El Tiempo que Pasa - Spanish again. One of 3 settings of poems by the 19th-century Galician poet Rosalia De Castro. (One of a handful of poems in Spanish. She usually wrote in Gallego.) For baritone and piano, recorded live in recital.         Download a pdf.                [ top of page ]


Home   |   Production   |   Arranging   |   Composition   |   Performing
Contact   |   Listen   |   About Matt Holsen   |   Client Login