Stacy Perman has a major article in Berman’s discussing how new classical music compositions are commissioned today.
Much of the commissioning activity happens in the Los Angeles area (rather than New York).
The article discusses a couple that has provided over $5 million in donations to commission new works.
To join the “club” sponsored by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, one needs a $15000 entry donation.
There is something interesting – and humbling -- about supporting the talent of someone else (very likely young, with student debt perhaps, and trying to get established), rather than proclaiming your own. I still have my own to develop and complete (as I have been explaining on Wordpress).
However, composers need commissions to make a living, although many composers (especially violin, piano, and organ) also make income from concerts.
You can help by buying tickets to concerts and attending them, and buying music legally from sites like Amazon, BN, and now especially Bandcamp.
One issue, in my mind, is whether music needs to seem clever or gimmicky, or constitute "Gebrauchsmusik".
In the video above, composer Marti Epstein talks about getting commissions for performers whose instruments don’t have a lot of repertoire. She also got a commission to compose the opera “Rumpelstilskin” , which I will have to look up and see if I can find online later. (There are also other operas on that tale by Joseph Baber and Jeff Unger.)