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.
A large share of the Education Grant funds go towards direct student support by way of scholarships, assistantships, internships, and travel awards and fee support for festivals and performances. Funds also provide support for guest composers and performers who work directly with students.
Established in 2011, the Milton A. Barlow Scholarship and the Barlow Student Composition Award are ongoing scholarships and awards presented to the most outstanding composition student(s) in our program. The Milton A. Barlow Scholarship is a one-year, full tuition scholarship, and the Barlow Student Composition Award is a $500 award that carries with it a commission to write a new piece for one of BYU’s premiere large ensembles.
These two named awards have added prestige and visibility to the composition area, and we look forward to the continued success of the recipients and to the recognition these awards bring to the Endowment.
The recipient of both the Milton A. Barlow Scholarship and one of two Barlow Student Composition Awards for 2017 was Austin Lopez. Austin is one of our most talented undergraduate composers who has excelled in both acoustic composition and electronic music. His final project for the advanced orchestration course (Music 581) in Winter 2017 was particularly impressive, so he was the faculty’s top choice for each honor.
For his Barlow Student Composition Award, Austin was invited to write a new work for the BYU Philharmonic under the direction of Kory Katseanes. He completed an energetic, rock-inspired piece called Hardline that was premiered in February 2018. Austin also presented a compelling senior recital in February and is heading into graduation this summer with some great momentum, thanks in large part to all this support from the Barlow Endowment.
We continued our efforts to broaden the influence of the Barlow Endowment and provide more opportunities to our students by giving a second Barlow Student Composition Award to Jonny Stallings, a second-year masters student in music composition. Jonny is an accomplished jazz pianist in addition to being a composer and currently plays in Synthesis, BYU’s top jazz ensemble, so arranging for his commission to be from them was a logical choice. His new work will be premiered in March 2018 and has helped his impressive development as a composer. Jonny is on track to graduate this August and plans to pursue a doctorate in music composition in the coming years.
2016 Barlow Student Composition Award recipients, Nicolas Ayala and Stuart Wheeler, each had successful performances of their commissions in 2017 by the BYU Wind Symphony and BYU Singers, respectively. Nicolas Ayala’s piece, Fanfare, was a stirring anthem premiered on March 3 in the de Jong Concert Hall along with works by British Master Gustav Holst and an arrangement of the American standard “Georgia On My Mind.” Stuart Wheeler’s piece, Did Rise, drew on influences from shaped-note singing and other American traditions, and received its premiere on April 7, 2017, in the de Jong Concert Hall.
July 2017 marked the twelfth year BYU student interns have assisted with the annual Barlow summit and Barlow Prize and Commissions judging. Four of our students—Caleb Cuzner, Austin Lopez, Lexi Peel, and Jonny Stallings—helped prepare for the annual summit by coordinating hundreds of scores, recordings, and other materials that would be used in the judging process. They then attended the summit, which included several days of reviewing scores and judging by the Barlow Board of Advisors and guest judges. Students not only observed the judging process first hand while assisting in the various rooms, but also had several opportunities to interact directly with these professional composers and performers during meals and breaks. The Barlow Internship has been a great boost to our program and we look forward to its continuation.
Barlow funds provided support, along with substantial grants from the BYU Graduate School (a Graduate Mentoring Award) and Laycock Center in the BYU College of Fine Arts and Communications, for the BYU Amsterdam Composition Workshop–an intensive two-week workshop hosted by the venue Splendor Amsterdam with participation by several Netherlands-based composers and performers. Eight BYU composition students–Kevin Anthony, Nicolas Ayala, Caleb Cuzner, David Jones, Austin Lopez, Lexi Peel, Jonny Stallings, and Stuart Wheeler–traveled to Amsterdam and Paris with BYU faculty composers Christian Asplund and Steve Ricks to work with composers Oguz Buyukberber, David Dramm, Anne La Berge, and Ned McGowan, and have works performed by Amsterdam-based ensembles Hexnut and Duo X. Students were also able to attend several world-class performances at the Holland Festival and at the Cité de la Musique in Paris including performances by pianist Margaret Leng Tan, Musikfabriek, and Ensemble Intercontemporain of premieres by George Crumb, electronica band Mouse on Mars, and Harvard Faculty Composer Chaya Czernowin. It was an amazing trip that provided our students with international exposure and professional training.
Barlow funds, along with BYU Inspiring Learning funds, helped Austin Lopez attend two events that deepened his knowledge of a cutting-edge sound design system called “Kyma.” He attended the Future Music Oregon festival in May at the University of Oregon, and the 2017 Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS) in October in Oslo, Norway. At both events he attended several concerts and workshops focused on learning and exploring the possibilities of the Kyma system, which was very helpful to Austin as he developed an interesting composition for the system and the Wacom digital tablet that he presented on Utah Crosstalk concerts. He is also now creating tutorials for the system I can use to teach students in the future.
Barlow funds support Barlow Lectures and residencies by guest composers each year that provide our students with exposure to the top practitioners of their craft. In addition to the public lecture, students meet with these guests individually and in small groups for private composition lessons, and also interact during a shared lunch and in other less formal contexts. This year Barlow funds supported visits by four distinguished guests–Eastman faculty composer David Liptak, Amsterdam-based composers/performers Anne La Berge and David Dramm, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Caroline Shaw.
Visits by David Liptak, Anne La Berge, and David Dramm all occurred in March 2017. Liptak’s presented a Barlow Lecture, gave private lessons, and his newly-revised Piano Trio no. 2 was performed by the award-winning BYU student Timpanogos Trio. Anne La Berge and David Dramm are successful American-born composers and performers who having been living and working in Amsterdam, Netherlands, since the 1980’s. They presented a joint lecture that included discussions of their creative work and the establishment of Splendor Amsterdam—a venue in Amsterdam owned and operated by a collective of composer and performers that they helped develop and continue to help run. Their evening concert featured La Berge’s new multimedia work Utter, for flute, interactive electronics, and video via several iPads.
Caroline Shaw was visiting as a member of the vocal group she helped create, Roomful of Teeth, and she participated in an excellent Oscarson Lecture for the School of Music that surveyed a number of stylistic influences from around the world the group incorporates. Barlow funds allowed her to present a lecture on her Pulitzer Prize-winning work, Partita, to the composition seminar. Her energy was infectious and it was inspirational to see someone so young discuss her career and teach our students about possible career paths in music.
Barlow funds continue to support worthy faculty projects and activities, as a way of increasing the profile and reputation of our area, and as a means to ensure our faculty are in the best position to instruct the students in current trends and practices.
This year funds supported Neil Thornock in travel to Scotland in May for the premiere of a new organ work; Christian Asplund and fellow collaborator Logan Hone for Thelonious Monk-inspired concerts in Los Angeles and Seattle as invited guests at festivals; Michael Hicks for travel and lodging to attend and present an address at the inaugural Mormon Arts Festival at the Mormon Arts Center in New York, NY; and Steve Ricks to attend the Prisms Festival at Arizona State University which included attending a Kyma workshop with Kyma co-creators Carla Scaletti and Kurt Hebel. Funds also helped support a performance by Steven Ricks and Christian Asplund in May at Casper College in Casper, Wyoming.
The Barlow Education Grant continues to support a variety of worthwhile and productive activities within the BYU School of Music composition area. We greatly appreciate these funds and will continue to use them in interesting and helpful ways.
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