he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University proudly announces the 2018 Commission winners. After reviewing 159 submissions from 18 countries, the judging panel awarded Stacy Garrop of Chicago, Illinois, the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for reed quintet. The panel also granted Takuma Itoh of Honolulu, Hawaii, the distinction of Honorable Mention.
Dr. Garrop is a graduate of Indiana University, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan. Currently Music Alive’s composer-in-residence with the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra and previous faculty member at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Dr. Garrop has received commissions from the Fromm Music Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, Utah Arts Festival, the Detroit Symphony, the Pittsburgh New Music Ensemble and many others. She has also attended residencies at the Aspen Music Festival, Banff Center for the Arts, McDowell Colony, Millay Colony, Oxford Summer Institute, Round Top Festival, Ucross Foundation, Wellesley Composers Conference and Yaddo. In addition her music has been performed by the Albany Symphony, Minnesota Orchestra, Gaudete Brass Quintet, San Francisco Choral Society, Volti, and many others.
Dr. Itoh’s music has been described by The New York Times as “brashly youthful and fresh.” Dr. Itoh is the recipient of the Charles Ives Scholarship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Music Alive, the ASCAP/CBDNA Frederick Fennell Prize, several ASCAP Morton Gould Young Composer Awards, as well as distinctions as a participant in the ACO Underwood New Music Readings, the Symphony in C Young Composer Competition, and the New York Youth Symphony First Music initiative. Currently a faculty member at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, he holds degrees from Cornell University, the University of Michigan, and Rice University.
General and LDS Commission Recipients
fter considering 214 applications to our General and LDS commissioning programs, the Endowment granted $79,000 to 17 composers who will write new works for the following ensembles and musicians:
|LDS Commission Recipients||Ensemble(s)|
|Andrew Maxfield||Voces Novae|
|Daniel McDavitt||BYU Women’s Chorus|
|Marden Pond||US Air Force Heritage of America Brass|
|Jesse Quebbeman-Turley||Similar Fashion and Friends|
|Steven Ricks||Dan Lippel and Counter Induction|
|Benjamin Sabey||Mivos Quartet|
|Robert Strobel||Missouri Quintet|
|Nathan Thatcher||Emblems Quintet|
|Stuart Wheeler||Gamelan Bintang Wahyu|
N ow in my second full year as the Executive Director of the Barlow Endowment, I’m beginning to feel even more settled and confident in our mission and operations. Of course, although the reliability of operational procedures is crucial, equally crucial is the constant invigoration of new perspectives, new energy, new eyes, new ways of seeing. I’ve gained an increased appreciation of the distinctive roles played by our respective boards: our board of directors labors to guard the integrity of the Endowment, and also preserve its founding mission in its pursuit to commission—in the words of our charter—“great music;” our board of advisors constitute a dynamic force tasked to find the very best composers, collaborators, and keep the endowment committed to innovation and adaptation to an evolving creative culture.
Speaking to the dynamic nature of our board of advisors, we bid farewell this past summer to Jim Mobberley, Professor Emeritus at the University of Missouri-Kansas City as he fulfilled his five-year commitment as an advisor. Jim provided a perspective of gravitas and experience to our conversations around the judging table—although never with a heavy hand. Devoid of any dogmatic agenda, he simply worked to identify the most interesting, promising composers to award each year. In addition to Jim, we also bade farewell to Leilei Tian, who stepped away from judging to pursue other professional endeavors. Leilei had a sharp eye and ear for works of true artistic merit—her keen experience will be missed in years to come. Notwithstanding the farewells, we are grateful to the contributions of composers Chad Cannon and Douglas Pew who acted as guest judges this year. Both Chad and Doug were outspoken advocates for the many fine submissions that were awarded commissions. Of course, the judging would be incomplete without the contribution of our ensemble partners from BYU, the Calefax Reed Quintet, and the Akropolis Reed Quintet. We acknowledge that without the talents of our performer colleagues, nothing we composers create can ever have a life.
This past summer, I was invited to give a talk at the Mormon Arts Center about the work of the Endowment, and the life and vision of Milton Barlow. I am continually inspired by the knowledge that of the many causes in this world, Milton had the vision to give something of great value to the cause of new music. In a world too often devoid of sensitivity and perspective, the cause of art music fills a gaping void. I am grateful to work with so many capable colleagues to that end as we seek to fulfill the Endowment’s mission.
P articipating as an intern was a great opportunity to witness what standards applicants are held to at music composition competitions. The insights of each judge helped shape my future as a composer, and seeing how much work goes into these competitions was fascinating. The Barlow Endowment has excellent judges from a variety of backgrounds, and seeing them work together to determine the winners was a really neat experience. From my conversations with the judges, I learned the importance of keeping music exciting and engaging. The value of having neat, detailed scores and getting the best recordings possible was made very clear. I also had the opportunity to talk with the judges about my plans to pursue a career in film and video game scoring. They gave me great input based on experiences that either they or their students have had, such as the value of writing music for games made by students and the importance of making notation clear and indisputable when recording a film score. These insights will help increase the quality of my music, and I will especially keep everything I learned in mind when putting together my portfolio for graduate school applications. I would recommend interning at this competition to anyone who is pursuing a career in music composition, regardless of their tastes or career plan. Thank you to the Barlow family for making this experience possible.
I am thoroughly grateful for the amazing opportunity I had to participate as an intern for the Barlow Commission. I have learned so much and it has helped me to be a better composer. The knowledge of how a competition is run is invaluable. Being able to see what goes on behind the scenes and to understand the amount of work that it takes to determine the winners will help me in my future submissions. Listening to the judges perspectives on all the different pieces really opened my eyes to the process. Also hearing what contemporary composers are writing today was both comforting and humbling. I was able to place myself on the spectrum with current composers to see where I need to improve and where my strengths are.
Interacting with the judges between judging times was also a delight. I got to learn about their careers and receive advice for my future career. I definitely came away with the drive to compose more and enter every competition I can find. I also was inspired for my future music from listening to all of the pieces during the competition. I heard new techniques and ideas that will help to freshen up my music and style. I also learned that I need to focus more on being able to describe my “style” to others. It will help me to be a more confident and respected composer.
I want to thank the Barlow family for allowing me to participate in this wonderful event. It has certainly changed the way I view the composition world.
I am grateful for the opportunity I had to participate as an intern for the Barlow Commission this summer. It has been a valuable and eye-opening experience. I was able to peek behind the curtain, so to speak, and see the hours of work that go into a competition such as this one, not only during judging but in preparation for it. I think one of the most valuable things for me, as a student composer, was being able to listen to what the judges had to say about each entry and learn what they were looking for in a prize-winning piece. Also interesting was the chance it gave me to hear what contemporary composers of many skill levels are doing in music today.
It was encouraging to be able to talk to the judges, other composers, and performers about their thoughts on music and aesthetics and what makes a strong piece. Seeing the process and meeting the people involved has encouraged me to enter more competitions; even if I don’t win, I’ve realized the importance of participating just for the sake of getting my music out to an audience. I also valued the introspection that occurred as I listened to other composers’ music. I found myself thinking about my own music and aesthetic, and I feel that this reflection has not only helped me come to a deeper understanding of my voice as a composer, but also given me new tools and ideas to improve my technique.
Again, I’m humbled and grateful to have been a part of this experience. I greatly appreciate the generosity of the Barlow family, which has allowed me to have this opportunity.
I had an enjoyable and fruitful experience as an intern for the Barlow Endowment this summer. The composers, performers, and others involved were all very approachable and insightful. I had the chance to get to know these people, learn about their current work, and gain insights and advice for my own work and career path. I also had the chance to hear and see the work of many current composers giving me ideas to explore in my own music. Having had this experience, I am motivated to write what I enjoy and do so in such a way that my ideas, aesthetics, and interests are made clear to the listener. When it comes to submitting work to a competition there is only so much the listeners can get from the music within the allotted time. I have concluded that this applies not only to composition competitions but also in many other contexts. I want to eliminate the excess in my work so as to leave only what is necessary for the listener to connect with the music.
I am very grateful for this opportunity made possible by the Barlow Family. Through their support for the arts I received experience assisting in a unique and professional musical environment. With this experience I gained insights into my musical pursuits and made connections with various professionals that wouldn’t have been possible without the Barlow Endowment experience.
Barlow Board of Advisors
an Bradshaw serves as chair of the Department of Music and Theatre at Brigham Young University–Hawaii. His compositional interests deal with a variety of influences, from the classical tradition to rock idioms, to the rhythm of waves, to Polynesian drumming. Professional honors include awards from the American Music Center, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and the American Composers Orchestra. His most recent work, On the Cooler (solo steel pan), was commissioned by Daniel Edwards with planned performances later this year. Other recent projects include Mimic Octopus, a collaborative composition with the fourth-grade students of Laie Elementary, and At Full Strength for orchestra, which will be premiered by a small consortium of college orchestras.
Dan received his doctoral degree in Music Composition from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he studied with Claude Baker, Sven-David Sandström and David Dzubay. He is the son of the late composer Merrill Bradshaw, whose music continues to inspire him.
he music of composer Dorothy Chang is rooted in the Western art music tradition but often reflects the eclectic mix of musical influences from her youth, ranging from popular and folk music to elements of traditional Chinese music. Highlights from 2017 include the world premieres of two new works: Blue for eight voices, cello and microtonal glass marimba, commissioned by the contemporary vocal chamber ensemble Arkora, and Northern Star for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra with choreography by Yukichi Hattori, in collaboration with four other composers for the orchestra’s True North Symphonic Ballet project. Other highlights include Dorothy’s cello concerto Invisible Distance performed by Ariel Barnes and the Victoria Symphony Orchestra, and performances by the Nu:BC Collective, Piano-Erhu Project, Vetta Chamber Music, the Emily Carr String Quartet, and pianist Winston Choi, among others. This past year Dorothy served as composer-in-residence of the Acadia New Music Festival (Nova Scotia) and the Sonic Boom Festival in Vancouver. Dorothy lives with her husband and daughter in Vancouver, Canada, where she serves as a Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia.
ames Mobberley is continuing his half-time appointment, involving both teaching and composing, in what is now his 35th year at the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance. 2017 highlights include the premiere of three new works: Capricious Paradise by the East Carolina University Sinfonietta (as part of a commission and residency with the North Carolina New Music Initiative), The Mozart Tuba Concerto by tubist Thomas Stein and the UMKC Symphony Orchestra, and Gesture Drawings, a collaborative work with pianist/improviser Daniel Koppelman for a recent performance tour in the southeastern US. 35 performances and broadcasts featured his music in 2017, including five performances by violinist Yu-Fang Chen in Thailand and around the US. New recordings of Janus, Reflecting (chamber trio), A Plurality of One (new version for saxophone and fixed media), and Gesture Drawings are now available for listening at www.soundcloud.com/jim-mobberley, along with 54 other Mobberley works. Jim and his wife Laura (a writer) continue to experience the joys and sorrows of empty nesting at their home in Liberty, Missouri.
eil Thornock is Associate Professor of music composition at Brigham Young University and is an associate director of the School of Music. His hour-long piano work Cosmology was released on Albany Records in 2017, featuring pianist Hilary Demske. Michael Bonaventure gave the premiere of the concert-length cycle Meditationes vitae Christi for organ in Edinburgh, Scotland. Toccata, Adagio, and Funk for trombone sextet received its premiere at SliderAsia in Hong Kong, under the direction of trombonist Will Kimball. His carillon works received multiple performances throughout the year. He is at work completing two large cycles for piano and electronics and for organ and electronics, respectively.
Barlow Board of Directors
Nancy Barlow Cox
Scott M. Boyter