The commissioning and recording of music from living composers is a very important tradition in the art of music. The ability to work with living composers gives the performer insight into the music that is far beyond reading the notes on the page. For my research paper, I commissioned two new works for the cello by the composers Joseph Hallman and Christian Asplund, in an effort to continue adding great pieces to the cello repertoire. This paper documents my experiences in finding and working with selected composers. It includes detailed descriptions of the pieces with practice and performance suggestions as well as recordings of the pieces. Commissioning new works often creates many first-hand artistic decisions for the performer as well as many new technical difficulties on the instrument. The two pieces commissioned offer insight into two different instrumentations: the sonata for cello and piano, and a solo cello suite. In this paper I describe various important aspects of these compositions and point out ways to make informed artistic decisions when approaching form, harmony, motive, and extended techniques on the cello. Providing this information on commissioning and collaborating with living composers will help continue this tradition into the future for classical music.
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