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The 30 Dollar Commission


Labors of Love and the micro-economy

The premise of the 30 Dollar Commission may be best explained by the following steps:

Step 1 - On this website, Labors of Love will be listed. Each will be described, including pertinent information about how the idea came about. In some cases, sketches may already exist and will be shared in the description. 

Step 2 - If enough people commit $30 for a given piece to meet its price point, then that piece is moved to Priority status, at which point the commissioners are notified and will receive timely updates on the progress of the piece.

Step 3 - A timeline related to the expected completion of the piece will be shared with the commissioners.

When a work is completed, commissioners will receive the following:

  • A copy of the autographed score 

  • A dedication listing the commissioners in alphabetical order on the finished score

  • Updates on any performances of the piece, including videos and recordings as they occur.

Until a Labor of Love is completed, the commission money will not be spent.


Therefore, if a Labor of Love is only partly funded and funding does not seem to be moving forward, would be  commissioners will be notified and asked if

  • They wish to continue their commitment in the hopes that the project will eventually commence

  • They would prefer that their money be returned at that time


*It must be understood that this is a commission and not Work for Hire. All rights will remain with the composer, Kevin Hanlon. There will be a simple contract to sign and date.

Some of the Labors of Love will fall into one of these price ranges:


Small - $300 – requires at least 10 commissioners @$30 apiece*


Medium - $3000 – requires at least 100 commissioners @$30 apiece*


Large - $30,000 – requires at least 1000 commissioners @$30 apiece*


Enormous - $300,000 – requires at least 10,000 commissioners @$30 apiece*



Why am I doing this?

Years before crowd funding, I had been interested in the idea of affordable shared patronage. I like the idea that individuals can be patrons of artistic creation, able to support a musical idea that truly appeals to them, as opposed to the typical commission that is paid for by an institution or arts council. On the commissioning page I express concern regarding the practice of a composer being offered a commission based primarily on reputation, rather than the quality of a musical idea. My approach will make it easier for a patron to anticipate what the piece will be like.


5 Intermezzi – 10 commissioners (total $300)


String Quartet – 50 commissioners ($1,500)


Chicago Bears Music – 100 commissioners ($3,000)


The Time Machine (Grand Opera version)– 10,000 commissioners ($300,000

I have a problem.


I have too many ideas.

Here are some reasons why:

  • I have been open to all possible syntax, procedure and media for decades. (as discussed elsewhere, my eclecticism is based on the simple premise that I engage with music actively, always inspired by music I like, always seeking constructive criticism when encountering music I don't like.)

  • I think about creating music without the stimulation of commissions or performance opportunities.

  • For many decades, the sketching process often produces passages and ideas that do not belong in the work at hand.

  • Often, attending a live performance of music (in any style) will stimulate thoughts that suggest entire works, occasionally I hear completely different music at the same time as the music on the concert.

Over the years, I have accumulated many unfinished pieces. Some date back to the mid-70s, ideas so strong that they have stayed with me for all those years. Many of them have significant sketches. 

They are my Labors of Love.

The ideas are not based on commissions or performance opportunities.

Many of my best pieces are Labors of Love

At last tally, I have over 100 Labors of Love.

Now, I have learned this about money:

  • It buys you time to work

  • it prioritizes projects

Years before crowdfunding, I was attracted to the idea that there could be a more personal involvement in funding art instead of the common approach of applying to a single entity for funding.

On this website, I will list a number of Labors of Love.

Labors of Love are unfinished musical ideas of various media and lengths that I have accrued over the decades.

For each Labor of Love listed, the musical concept will be described and any sketches will be shared in the description.


Labors of Love will fall into one of these categories:

Solo works

Chamber music - small ensemble

Chamber music - large ensemble

Music for orchestra - includes concerti

Music for wind ensemble



10/$300 – requires at least 10 commissioners @$30 apiece*

20/$600 – requires at least 20 commissioners @$30 apiece*

30/$900 - requires at least 30 commissioners @$30 apiece*

50/$1500 - requires at least 50 commissioners @$30 apiece*


100/$3000 – requires at least 100 commissioners @$30 apiece*

200/$6000 - requires at least 200 commissioners @$30 apiece*

300/$9,000 – requires at least 300 commissioners @$30 apiece*

500/$15,000 – requires at least 500 commissioners @$30 apiece*

600/$18,000 – requires at least 600 commissioners @$30 apiece*

1000/$30,000 – requires at least 1000 commissioners @$30 apiece*


10000/$300,000 – requires at least 10,000 commissioners @$30 apiece*


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