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.