Composition Commission


Composition Commission

FreshGrass is dedicated to providing roots music artists with opportunities to create new work and to take artistic risks outside the pressures of the commercial music space. We do this through several commissioning programs: the FreshGrass Composition Commission and FreshScores.

The FreshGrass Composition Commission is our flagship $50,000 award, given annually to an artist whose work reflects the FreshGrass mission to preserve and support innovative grassroots music. Composition Commission recipients write a new long-form piece of music for an ensemble that includes some elements of traditional string band instrumentation, and the piece has its world premiere at the FreshGrass festival at MASS MoCA or another FreshGrass event. Half the award is given for the creation and premiere performance, with the other half given to support the recording and release of the work.


Fresh Scores

FreshScores are new original scores to films–usually short, usually silent–that FreshGrass commissions each year from 3-4 artists. The scores have all premiered at FreshGrass at MASS MoCA, with the artist performing live as the films are screened. This has become a signature element of the festival.

Alison Brown: A Child of the Ghetto (D.W. Griffith, 1910)
Mamie Minch: The Flying House (1921, Winsor McCay)
Lost Bayou Ramblers: The Great Train Robbery (Edwin S. Porter, 1903)
Aoife O’Donovan: As It Is in Life (D.W. Griffith, 1910)
Parsonsfield: Nanook of the North (Robert J. Flaherty, 1922)
Stephane Wrembel: Le Voyage dans la lune (Georges Méliès, 1902)
Dom Flemons: The Bronze Buckaroo (Richard C. Kahn, 1939)
Sunny Jain: Speedy (Harold Lloyd, 1928)
Dormeshia Sumbry-Edwards: One A.M. (Charlie Chaplin, 1916)
Anna and Elizabeth: Hande (Stella Simon, Miklós Bándy, 1928)
Leyla McCalla: Commandment Keeper Church, Beaufort South Carolina, May 1940 (1940)
Emel Mathlouthi: The Last Laugh (F. W. Murnau, 1924)