Note: This question also appears in Music Stack Exchange. I wasn't sure which forum was better for it.

An emerging [classical-style concert music] composer is seeking to have some of their work performed by a smallish professional orchestra (i.e. not something like the Boston Symphony, but a fairly well-known regional symphony). The composer was introduced to the conductor through a well-respected mutual acquaintance. The conductor has most likely not heard of the composer before the introduction. Following the introduction, the conductor responded to the composer and asked for a sample of work. Assuming that the composer dutifully provided the requested materials in a prompt and professional manner, how long is it appropriate for the composer to wait before following up?

Obviously, they could wait forever and still never get a response, forgotten along with all the other composers who solicited that conductor that month, where a quick follow-up might have helped. But also obvious is the fact that the composer could nag the conductor and spoil the nice introduction. This would earn them a quick "no thanks" just for being a pain.

So, what is the appropriate interval to wait?

EDIT: By emerging composer, let's assume that the composer has been commissioned for several pieces and won a handful of minor contests. Their work has been performed by a few professional ensembles, but mostly by local, amateur groups.

  • 2
    Yes, you are right. Music stack exchange seems to be a better fit for this question. Jul 21, 2021 at 2:31
  • 2
    @Job_September_2020 The underlying issue seems a good one for this site: "when introduced to a possible source of work via networking, and then following up directly with that potential employer, how long should one wait before again checking in with the potential employer." This would have relevance not just for musicians, but for anyone in an arts field or field where one supplies a portfolio. There are many similar questions here, though I haven't seem one that addresses this particular angle.
    – Aaron
    Jul 21, 2021 at 3:37
  • 1
    Please note that Stack Exchange strongly discourages cross-posting a question to multiple sites - please pick one of the sites and delete your question from the other. Thanks! Jul 21, 2021 at 8:01
  • @Aaron According to the US Bureau of Labor statistics, the total number of music conductors employed in the US, excluding schools and religious organizations (which don't match the criteria in the question) is about 3000. That is about one in 50,000 of the total US workforce. I suspect the chance that any of them will see this question is negligible. (And FWIW I personally know several professional musicians who have deserted Music SE over the years because of its consistently low quality of questions and answers, so the OP might not do much better there).
    – alephzero
    Jul 21, 2021 at 15:56
  • 1
    @alephzero The question has relevance beyond music. It applies to any field in which one meets employers informally and submits samples of work: writers, artists, musicians, architects, designers, etc.
    – Aaron
    Jul 21, 2021 at 15:59

1 Answer 1


No difference from any other sales pitch. Following up is up to your discretion. 2 weeks is the period I use sometimes, other times I don't bother. But no one should get upset because of a single follow up.

Keep it simple and short.

Quite possibly the position has been filled or the whole idea binned, and both your original application and any follow up will be ignored. That's an unfortunate fact of business. There is no incentive to reply and slight potential backlash.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .