Music Composers Unite!
Here is what I did. Or course you will obviously choose what you feel will work best for you.
When I did my senior recital at the conservatory I programed it in two parts with a very brief intermission.
The first half started with a work for solo piano, followed by a work for piano and bass clarinet. Both pieces were high energy pieces for the most part. That way I started off the concert with high energy.
I then had a brief intermission for some extra set up time and organization time for a piece I composed for Chorus and instrumental ensemble. The chorus included friends of mine who were voice majors and had about 3 singers per part (SATB with Mezzo and Baritone soloist and myself as conductor) and the instrumental/orchestra consisted of a small string section (violins 1&2, violas, cello, bass, 2 trumpets and timpani). The piece was about 20mins in length divided into 7 movements.
and I ended with an encore of a piece for piano and soprano solo.
My program was a bit ambitious but if you can find dedicated friends/performers to help it will be possible to do a real nice recital with works of any size and difficulty (my music is not at all easy). Keep in mind that working out an effective rehearsal schedule for the various components of your concert is important. You will be giving a lot of time and energy for the various individual rehearsals, and so will your performers. In my situation, I schedules choral and orchestral rehearsals one a week on separate days for chorus and orchestra. For the Chamber works I had rehearsals once a week or more or less depending on time and performers. I made the rehearsal schedule and made sure everyone had a copy of it with my contact info to reach me in the even that they could not show. And of course you will have to deal with frustrations of people forgetting or not being able to make it when you want. But if they are sincere in giving you their best and you trust them, you will see how well things will come together and how it will all pay off even if the final concert isn't "perfect" in every detail that you wanted.
It is almost impossible for me to prefer some of my pieces against others. So I think it depends on the audience, the city where the concert should take place, the theme / event, conductor, performers etc.
my Viola Concerto (which I am working on)
my First String Quartet
my Symphony No.1 in A minor (assuming it's finished)
the Loirpac Suite, which I am also working on.
As I have mainly composed songs for choir, art songs and smaller piano pieces of course the program would include such pieces. I have only once had the pleasure of having a concert made up of only my own music. Then the program was made up of the following art songs/song cycles:
1. Ödesnatt, då stjärnan vilar (Night of destiny, when the star rests)
2. Tre sånger av folklig karaktär op. 4 (Three songs of folk-like caracter)
3. Slut dina ögon kära op. 11 no. 2 (Close your eyes, (my) beloved)
4. Ur Friederike Brions visor op. 5 (From the songs of Friederike Brion) 3 songs
At that point none of my other opus numbered music was written exept for opp. 1-3 (not even op.11 no. 1).
Now I would probably program it like this:
1. Tre sånger om kung Bores uppgång och fall op. 3 (Three songs of the rise and fall of King Boreas), for baritone and piano
These start with a massive F-minor chord in ff and would really make a stunning first impression on the audience.
2. Skånska vinterkvällar op. 9 (Winter evenings in Skåne) for mixed choir
These are two beautiful semi-contrapunctual songs that would continue the winter theme whilst bringing another perspective to it.
3. Hyllning till våren (Celebration of spring) for soprano and piano
This yet unnumbered song shares the majestic tone of the first cycle, declaring final victory for spring over winter.
4. Hjärtats längtan op. 23 (The longing of the heart) for soprano and piano
This, my largest song cycle (of eight songs) would be the main number of the concert. As in the first cycle it tells the story of a rise and fall, although in this case in a more personal sense.
5. Sex emotioner op. 25 (Six emotions) for solo piano
The pieces in this piano cycle was composed to the pre-set headlines Happiness, Pride, Infatuation, Anger, Sorrow and Thoughfullness. Here once again somebody loves and loses.
6. Två sånger op. 18 (Two songs) for mixed choir
These two songs talk of rememberence of those long lost and the feeling of being lost in this world.
This would be a rather short, but well held together program I think. And I would really like to hear it myself....!