he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University proudly announces the recipients of the 2017 commissions awards. After reviewing 346 submissions from 31 countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded Gilad Cohen of Ridgewood, New Jersey, the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for violin and piano.
The panel also granted Yair Klartag, of New York, New York, the distinction of Honorable Mention in this competition.
Dr. Cohen is a graduate of Princeton University, the Mannes College of Music, and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. His music has been performed by such groups as the Brentano Quartet, the Mivos Quartet, the Israeli Chamber project, the Israeli Revolution Orchestra, and many others. Honors include the Israeli Prime Minister Award for Composers, an Encore Grant from the American Composers Forum, and top prizes in the 1st Lin Yao Ji International Competition for Composition (Beijing), and the 2012 Franz Josef Reinl Composition Contest (Vienna). He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ.
Yair Klartag has studied composition with Ruben Seroussi (Tel-Aviv University) and with Georg Friedrich Haas (Basel Musikhochschule), and is a doctoral candidate in composition at Columbia University. His music has been performed by the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonietta, the Jack Quartet, the Mivos Quartet, and others.
General and LDS Commission Recipients
fter considering 150 applications in our General and LDS commissioning programs, the Endowment granted $72,000 to twelve composers who will write works for the following ensembles and musicians:
|General Commission Recipients||Ensemble(s)|
|Claude Baker||Momenta Quartet|
|Stacy Garrop||Michael Hall (viola) with Bandung Philharmonic and Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra|
|Georg Friedrich Haas||Third Coast Percussion|
|Ted Hearne||Ensemble Dal Niente|
|Elainie Lillios||Bent Frequency|
|Tina Tallon||Kurt Rohde (viola)|
T he summer of 2015 brought a number of momentous changes to the personnel at the helm of the Barlow Endowment. In the months following my appointment as executive director, new leadership in the Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications and the School of Music precipitated additional changes to the Board of Directors. After serving as Dean of the College of Fine Arts for twelve years, as well as Chair of the Barlow Board of Directors for as many, Stephen Jones stepped down from both positions to return to service on the faculty of the School of Music. Concurrent with Stephen’s move away from administration, Barlow Vice Chair, Kory Katseanes, left the Board of Directors, and his position as Director of the School of Music, to return to the faculty as well. We wish both Stephen and Kory well in their careers as professors and active professionals in their respective fields of composition and conducting.
These losses, however, were not without the terrific gains we continue to enjoy in 2016: Ed Adams, former director of the BYU School of Communications, assumed the position of Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, while Kirt Saville, Professor of Music Education and Associate Director of Bands, was appointed Director of the School of Music. Ed and Kirt have concurrently assumed the roles of Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the Barlow Board of Directors. These men bring a wealth of experience and perspective, and I am thrilled to be working with them. In addition to administrative changes at BYU, family representative Alice Barlow Jones completed her term on the Board. Her sister, Nancy Barlow Cox, is now the family representative. Alice has been instrumental in keeping the vision of her parents, Milton and Gloria Barlow, alive for our judges and guests each year. Nancy continues this tradition and brings great energy and vision to the Endowment.
Last year we also bid farewell to Stacy Garrop, an illustrious composer and member of our Board of Advisors, after six years of service. Stacy possessed an excellent eye and ear for the craft and creativity that Barlow aims to promote each year. Her dedication and friendship to the Endowment and its cause have made a permanent impression. We are elated to have welcomed composer Dorothy Chang, of Vancouver, BC, to the board of advisors for our 2016 summer meetings. We look forward to working with her during her term and anticipate the valuable difference she will make.
My greatest joy in serving as executive director is the opportunity I have to hear such fabulous music from around the world. If the current climate (political, social, and environmental) is tumultuous, the Barlow Endowment continues to seek out and uphold work of great beauty and significance. In that spirit, I conclude with these words of Sir Michael Tippett (as relayed to the BYU School of Music many years ago by erstwhile Barlow Advisor, Steven Stucky, who passed away last year):
Whether society has felt music valuable or needful, I’ve gone on writing because I must. I know that my true function within a society that embraces all of us is to continue an age old tradition, fundamental to our civilization, which goes back into prehistory, and will go forward into the unknown future. This tradition is to create images from the depths of imagination and then to give them form, whether visual, intellectual, or musical. For it is only through images that the inner-world communicates at all: images of the past; shapes of the future; images of vigor for a decadent period; images of calm for one of true violence; images of reconciliation for worlds torn by division; and in an age of mediocrity and shattered dreams, images of abounding, generous, exuberant beauty.
P articipating as a Barlow Intern proved to be a rewarding experience. I have received few opportunities that offered such insight. Not only did the internship provide opportunities for skill building in several areas, but it also provided an immersive perspective on competitive musical competitions. It is an experience I value and recommend to any who are offered the opportunity.
After organizing hundreds of submissions, which included CD’s, scores and bios, I feel a heightened awareness of how my own compositions compare. Though I personally attempt to follow my ambitions and intuition within my music, avoiding comparison, I can now better objectively compare my compositions against others with whom I may be competing.
When submitting a piece to a competition, the submission stack can feel like a black hole of uncertainty. This is no longer the case for me. Though few portions of the judging process are certain and wholly objective, music being a subjective art, there are many aspects of music and presentation that I can now objectively consider before submitting a piece to any competition. I may submit a well-written piece, but it may not be what the competition is looking for in particular. From this, I learned my most valuable lesson about competitions: do not judge the quality of my work by whether or not it won a competition.
I saw judges agonize over pieces that lost, despite them having voted against it themselves. In the end, the judges have to make a choice, and the choice is not between what is good and what is bad. Ultimately, the judges are making the difficult choice between what is good and what is good. If I am lucky enough to someday submit a piece that resonates with a panel of judges in a way that influences their vote in my favor, then I should not think any higher of that piece than any other–mine or another’s. Without the experience of the Barlow internship, I could not have learned this lesson so clearly and powerfully.
H aving the opportunity to take part in the Barlow Endowment competition judging was invaluable. It was a privilege to be able to rub shoulders with musicians and composers of the highest caliber and to be able to learn from their experience and points of view.
Witnessing the judging process was truly enlightening. It was helpful to see what kinds of music immediately jumped out at the judges versus the things they quickly passed by. However, it was even more useful to hear the kinds of music that they considered, but that ultimately did not move forward in the competition. This helped me gauge the characteristics that take music from being good to being outstanding – which in this case meant that the piece literally stood out from among hundreds of other entries.
I learned for a piece to be successful, it needed to show a good balance between innovation, technical skill and compelling structure. With two of the three, it still had a chance of catching the judges’ attention, but the pieces that were most convincing had all three.
Having performers as judges was helpful. It brought home to me that composers don’t get commissioned by performers if they write music that performers don’t want to play.
Overall, this was a very worthwhile and unique experience. I don’t think I could have gained the same information and tools that I took away from it in any other way; I certainly could not have learned them as quickly. I am very appreciative of the generosity of the Barlow family, which has allowed me to have this opportunity.
T he Barlow internship this summer was a valuable and insightful experience. I was able to witness firsthand the process the judges go through in order to decide the winners of such a big, international competition, and I was able to get a better idea of what the judges are looking for when they decide whether a piece is competitive or not. In the final round, the composer that won was chosen for his unique sound, voice, style, and level of expression, as well as the craft of his compositions.
In addition to learning more about the judging process, I was also able to meet many new, important composers and performers. They were able to give me more information about the schools they teach at, and they gave me a lot of good advice on how to forge a career in composition and how to make it in the academic world. I definitely plan to enter this competition in future years. All in all, this internship has proven to be very valuable, and I have learned many new things.
A s a composition major, I have mixed feelings about composition competitions. So naturally the opportunity to sit in on a competition such as this and assist with it was intriguing to me. A look behind the scenes.
I came out with a shifted perspective. I was moved at how conscientious several of the judges were about who they were awarding money to, and what effect that award would have on the recipients. There was a lot of care put into those decisions. I couldn’t help but feel that it was a good thing to give these composers money to fund the work they are doing.
Sure it is not a perfect system. But doing this internship did help me to see the real good that undeniably comes from competitions such as this one.
Barlow Board of Advisors
C hristian Asplund’s interests include intersections of text and music, improvisation and composition, and modular textures and forms. As a composer and performer, he has received awards from the Genesis Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, Artistrust, King County, ASCAP, the Alpert Foundation, and the Jack Straw Foundation. His teachers have included Thea Musgrave, Alvin Curran, Michael Hicks, David Sargent, Joel Durand, and John Rahn. He has written books and articles for Perspectives of New Music (University of Washington Press) and American Music (University of Illinois Press). He has performed with Stuart Dempster, Malcolm Goldstein, Christian Wolff, and John Butcher. His music appears on labels such as Present Sounds, Tzadik, Sparkling Beatnik, and others, and his scores are published by Frog Peak Music. Christian’s compositions have been performed and broadcast in many locations including Europe, North America, and Australia. Words used by the press to describe his music include: passion, panoramic power, pure pointillist, plaintive, painstaking, rhythmically toothy, rocking, remarkable, rollicking, searing, subdued, soothing, submersive, splendid, unique, ethereal, mesmerizing, mind-blowing, otherworldly, absorbing, intelligent, idiosyncratic, distinctive, captivating, and bewitching. He lives in Provo, Utah, where he teaches at Brigham Young University.
orothy Chang serves as a Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia School of Music in Vancouver, Canada. 2016 highlights include the world premiere semi-staged production of White Wines, and a musical adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s play for four female vocalists and speaking percussion, with librettist Adam Frank, musical director Marguerite Witvoet and director James Fagan Tait. Other premieres include Bagatelles for flute, cello and piano, premiered by the Nu:BC Ensemble, with a forthcoming premiere of the work arranged for the Vetta Chamber Music ensemble. Dorothy’s work Four Short Poems for erhu and piano was performed on the China tour by PEP (Piano-Erhu Project) at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, China Conservatory in Beijing, Capitol Normal University, Shanghai Conservatory and Soochow University School of Music, as well in performances in Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver and New York. This past year Dorothy served as composer-in-residence of the Blueridge International Chamber Festival and also the Richmond Music Festival. Current projects include a new work for the Arkora new music collective, a collaboration with choreographer Yukichi Hattori and four other composers for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and a double concerto for erhu and piano to be premiered in early 2018 by PEP and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
ames Mobberley recently retired from his position as Curators’ Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he is continuing in a half-time appointment involving both teaching and composing. 2016 highlights include the premiere of two new works: The Unpurged Images of the Day by trombonist JoDee Davis and pianist Robert Pherigo, and Passing Illuminations for trumpet and organ by Duo Clarion, along with over 30 performances of other works in Belgium, Portugal, France, Germany, Norway, Australia, Serbia, Canada and numerous locations around the US. Capricious Invariance (solo piano) was released on Albany Records, recorded by Christopher Janwong McKiggan. New recordings of Toccatas and Interludes (chamber sextet), Phenomenon (solo piano), Triathlon (solo saxophone), Respiri (solo flute), and Subject to Change Without Notice (solo viola) are now available for listening at www.soundcloud.com/jim-mobberley, along with 45 other Mobberley works. Jim and his wife Laura (a writer) are now experiencing the joys and sorrows of empty nesting at their home in Liberty, Missouri.
eilei Tian is a Chinese composer living in Paris, France. She is a prize-winner of several international competitions such as Besançon Composition Competition for orchestra in France, Contemporary Music Contest “Citta’ di Udine” in Italy, Composition Competition of GRAME in Lyon, Gaudeamus Competition in Amsterdam and ISCM Cash Young Composer’s Award. She was also awarded “Rome Prize” by Academy of France. Her recent works include “Never-Ending journey ” for cello and percussion and “Aurora” for brass quintet. Her works were performed at different festivals and concerts, and also broadcast by radio. In 2016, she served as a member of the Committee for National Commissions by French Ministry of Culture, the jury for Järnåkepriset Award for Swedish chamber music and the Jury at ENKOR International Music Competition.
Barlow Board of Directors
Nancy Barlow Cox
Scott M. Boyter