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2006 Annual Report

  • david-rakowski.jpg

    The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University is pleased to announce the commission winners for 2006. After reviewing 226 composer applications from 19 countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded David Rakowski of the United States the $15,000 Barlow Prize to compose a new work for wind ensemble. The judging panel also granted Philippe Bodin of New York City the distinction of Honorable Mention in this competition.

    Dr. Rakowski completed undergraduate work at the New England Conservatory, and received graduate degrees from Princeton. He currently holds the Walter W. Naumburg Professor of Composition title at Brandeis University where he has taught since 1995. He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and his list of honors, fellowships, publications and recordings is extensive.

    For more information about David Rakowski, Barlow Prize Winner, consult his website.

    General and LDS Commission Recipients
    After considering over 300 applications in the General and LDS Commission programs, the judges awarded $90,000 to thirteen composers who will write new works for the respective ensembles or musicians.

    Todd ColemanApril Clayton (flute) and the Brigham Young University Chamber Orchestra
    Steven RicksFear No Music
    Leilei TianAntonio Politano (recorder)and Haesung Choe (violin)

    Libby LarsenBrigham Young University Philharmonic
    College Orchestra Directors Association 2008 conference
    Malcolm ForsythBassoon, Oboe, and Piano
    International Double Reed Society 2008 Conference
    Dwight BiglerBrigham Young University auditioned choirs and Philharmonic Orchestra
    “Pilgrim’s Journey” project
    Crawford GatesBrass Choir and Percussion BYU Hinckley Building and Visitor Center Groundbreaking

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    Burton Beerman’s A Still Small Voice was performed on October 19, 2006 at the 27th Annual New Music and Art Festival at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. It was premiered in June 2006 at Symphony Space in New York City. Written for Cellist Madeleine Shaprio and dancer Celesta Haraszti, it includes parts for violoncello, Capybara 320 music computer, and dancer, and includes a video.


    Geoffrey Gordon’s Fancywork written for guitar and violin ensemble Duo46, was premiered in the United States September 28, 2006 at Sudin Music Hall in Minneapolis. It was also performed July 16, 2006 as part of the Cortona Contemporary Music Festival, in Cortona, Italy. Fancyworkwas inspired by the visual arts movement of 19th century America.


    Kevin Puts’s cello concerto, entitled Vision, had its World Premiere on Sunday, June 25, 2006 at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado in celebration of David Zinman’s birthday. It was performed by renowned cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the Aspen Festival Orchestra.


    Elizabeth Brown’s Rural Electrification had its premiere on May 24, 2006 at The Old American Can Factory in Brooklyn, NY. Written for voice, theremin, and recorded sounds, it was performed by Stephanie Skaff and Brown, with video by Lothar Osterburg. Rural Electrification was also performed May 25, 26, and 27.


    Harriet Petherick Bushman’s concert opera, 1856:Long Walk Home, premiered May 18 and 20, 2006 at the Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City, UT. As composer and librettist, Harriet created a semi-staged operatic account of the Willie and Martin handcart companies’ dramatic journey in 1856. Jennifer Welch-Babidge, Darrell Babidge, and Dianna Graham, were among the performers, and Rodger Sorensen, director of the department of Theatre and Media Arts at BYU, was the director. Performances were also held on May 23, 24 and 25.


    Brian Current’s Symphonies in Slanted Time was premiered by The American Composers Orchestra on May 3, 2006 at Carnegie Hall. On October 28 and 29, 2005 the Indianapolis Symphony also performed this new work.


    Charles Wuorinen’s Duo Sonata was premiered on February 17, 2006 at the Slee Concert Hall in Buffalo, New York. A subsequent performance took place at the Glen Gould Studio in Toronto on February 26, 2006. Duo Sonata was performed by Robert Aitken (flute) and James Avery (piano) at both performances.


    Libby Larsen’s Song Concertofor saxophone and chamber orchestra had its world premiere on February 15, 2006 by Eugene Rousseau with the University of Iowa Orchestra. William Jones was the conductor, and it was performed in Iowa City, Iowa.


    Mischa Zupko’s Shades of Gray for violin and piano premiered February 12, 2006 at the Weill Hall in New York City. It was written for Winston Choi and Minghuan Xu.

  • 2006 Report

    Tom Durham

    In a couple of years, the Barlow Endowment will celebrate its 25th Anniversary. With a quarter century of commissioning activity behind us, we have built an enduring international reputation. In our involvement with the creation of so much new music, we have awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars to composers. We understand that such financial support helps to perpetuate the creation of new works. Our most recent winner of the Barlow Prize, David Rakowski, is busy writing his commission ($15,000 award) for wind ensemble–a work that will be premiered in 2008 by a consortium of five renowned American bands assembled by the Endowment for the purpose of exposing this new piece of art music to the public. And for the first time in its history, the 2007 Barlow Prize competition will commission a composer to write a work for Percussion Ensemble. That composition will receive three premieres by an international consortium made up of three esteemed ensembles: NEXUS (Toronto), KROUMATA (Stockholm), and SO PERCUSSION (New York City). Details regarding the winner will be shared with all our friends and contacts in September 2007.

  • The Barlow Education Grant supports students and faculty of the BYU School of Music in their education and their professional endeavors in music composition.

    Michael Hicks

    2006 Report

    Probably the highlight of 2006 was the Christian Wolff Symposium held the first week in March, during which we hosted Wolff himself–who turned 72 the day he arrived–and colleagues Larry Polansky and Kui Dong. The symposium–organized and directed by Christian Asplund–included two scholarly papers, a panel discussion, lessons with students, a lecture by Wolff to the School of Music, a composition seminar, and an evening concert of our own Group for Experimental Music performing Wolff works with our guests. Behind the scenes, Wolff granted two interviews, the first in a longer series that serves as part of the research for an introductory book on the composer by Michael Hicks and Christian Asplund, now under contract by University of Illinois Press.

    In October we sponsorerd a one-day visit from Shu-Hui Chen—who worked with students and presented her own work. We found her a composer of tremendous gifts and accomplishment, one whose work was featured on the Utah Symphony Chamber Series the evening after her visit here. Finally, in December we sponsored a visit by award-winning alumnus Nathan Bowen (currently teaching at Hunter College, CUNY), who demonstrated and explained some of his digital multi-media work. His visit is part of our ongoing practice of promoting to our current students the exemplary and inspiring work of top-level alumni.

    Among our ranks, Steve Ricks received the most–and perhaps most notable–funding for several wonderful projects. He had pieces premiered at the Seamus Conference (April) and in New York (December). Barlow funds helped him make the pertinent trips and also covered some recording costs for a new CD of his chamber works that he is nearly finished compiling.

    As usual, Education Grant funds also helped the composers in our area to mail out scores, travel to and from new music events in Salt Lake City, cover small expenses for travel to premieres, and so forth. This fund also made its annual contribution to the graduate composers scholarship fund of the School of Music. With respect to scholarships, we should add, we partnered in one case with independent donor Beverley Sorenson, who created a scholarship two years ago in honor of her sister, the late composer Helen Taylor Johannesen.

    Another opportunity for the Education Grant was to fund the interns that assisted at the Barlow Summer meetings: Benny Bidwell, Jeff Broadbent, Kimberly Dabb Dunaway, Bart Gibb and Nicholas Greer. Their reports are following this section of the Annual Report.

    We deeply thank the Barlow Endowment for another year’s Education Grant. We didn’t spend as much as we might have. But we promise to avoid being so thrifty next year!

  • Benny Bidwell

    My experience with participating in the Barlow prize judging was one of the most educational opportunities I have had thus far in my field of study. As a student composer, I learned from observing the judges in the selection process about the things that merit a competitive composition in such a contest should I ever expect to enter something of my own someday. I was delighted to discover that the LDS special commission and relative newcomer Dwight Bigler was chosen, as I myself once had private oboe lessons from him. In that instance, it was interesting to note that though he was the least experienced of the small lot, his style called the judges’ attention the most.

    When it came time for determining the prize, I personally aided Lansing McLoskey, Melinda Wagner, and Mike Colburn, three rather distinct personalities with their own aesthetic tastes. As expected with a diverse group, their opinions mitigated one another, but despite this, on the few entries that made the final cut, there was clear consensus among the judges on the first hearing. I learned that for a piece to even be competitive, it would have to gain the attention of several individuals of varied taste. The judges were specifically looking for “newness” of sound or compositional approach, and were the most turned off whenever they heard typical “clichés” common to the current literature of wind ensemble music, such as horn riffs or euphonium solos. The judges tended away from music that had a sing-able melody, but were also uninterested by overly active harmonic and timbre shifts. What caught their attention the most were things that explored unique color combinations, had a good sense of form without being overt, and things that overall made the ensemble sound less like a typical band, taking the ensemble out of its customary genres. I was grateful to see how strong a piece must be from the get go, to know that if I were to submit a recording of MIDI, or a piece that had a weak opening, it would get cut before even being considered. I was amazed at how the judges narrowed in very quickly on the competitiveness of any given piece, and how the qualities they wanted were either there or they weren’t. Basically, in a competition such as this, a piece MUST stand on it’s own as a viable work of art, regardless of composer background or intent. Vitae were only looked at if the music caught their interest, and only the music that had such merit did they listen to for longer than 20 seconds. All of this I found extremely useful to know for my personal benefit.

    Outside of the judging process, I was most appreciative of the opportunity to rub shoulders with the judges and pick their brains for advice with both composing and pursuing school and careers. Lansing McLoskey was the one that I found the most informative in this regard, giving many useful specifics on specialty fields of study, involvement in unions and other music promoting organizations, participation in festivals and other contests, and breaking into the business with publishing as well as getting a job in academia.

    Besides this, I was of course very grateful to have been treated royally to the high life, and hope that my small and simple contribution to the process serves to show my appreciation for the opportunity, albeit despairingly inadequate payback. Thanks to all on the Barlow committee for extending me the invitation to this singular chance to witness the process in action.

    Jeff Broadbent

    This summer I had the privilege of participating as an intern in the 2006 Barlow Meetings at Snowbird. As an intern I assisted the judges and officiators in the collecting and distributing of materials. I was able to learn a number of things from participating in this event.

    Serving as an intern gave me the opportunity to learn a great deal about how such a high-level composition event is run. Upon arriving I was given a packet that clearly outlined the procedure for each day of the week. The tightly knit organization of the event allowed it to run smoothly and efficiently. Dr. Durham was the head officiator of the event. By using a process of elimination, the winner of the Barlow prize was chosen. Dr. Durham ensured that all opinions were accounted for in selecting a winner. By the objective process of narrowing candidates down, an eventual winner was selected.

    The majority of my time as an intern was spent in the service of Murray Boren and Jack Delaney. I was assigned to their room to aid in the loading of CDs and distributing of music scores. Listening to the comments of these highly trained musicians was most beneficial. In addition to comments in regard to the quality of compositional technique (including pacing, orchestration, form, and other issues), what stood out to me in particular was the type of music they chose to seriously consider. A number of examples were quickly discarded due to an obvious lack of technique or simply unprofessional quality. However, after some deliberation, other examples, while musically concrete, were also discarded. This was not because they were technically incompetent. It was because these pieces did not represent the innovation and artistic exploration necessary for the recipient of the Barlow commission. It was clear that in entering such a high-level contest, one must take into account not only the craftsmanship of their work, yet also whether or not their music will breach new artistic ground. A piece of music that is well crafted and would be adequate for lighter concert fare was not what was desired here. Rather, all of the judges in general appeared to be looking for a piece that exemplified the additional traits of artistic innovation and pioneering.

    Participating in the Barlow Meetings also allowed me to become acquainted with a number of highly respected people in the music world. Although I plan to pursue a career in film and television scoring, being exposed to various viewpoints was nonetheless exciting. I was particularly awestruck that one of the judges, Melinda Wagner, was the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize.

    I very much enjoyed my time at the Barlow 2006 Meetings. I feel that experiences like these are great tools in helping students realize the practical application of what they are learning, particularly if they are interested in becoming an academic teacher and/or an art music composer. I am thankful for the financial support provided, and hope that such funds will continue to fuel music composition for many years to come.

    Kimberly Dabb Dunaway

    When I received notice that I was selected as an intern, I was excited for such a unique opportunity. Looking back, I see that it not only left a great impression upon me, but expanded my understanding and perspective of today’s music.

    Prior to the competition itself, I was able to work with other interns in organizing and cataloging the entries. I think this gave balance to the whole experience; I was able to see a small portion of the work, preparation, and logistics of such an effort. Because I handled many of the entries, I felt a driving curiosity to see the results of the judging. When I arrived, I felt that I already had my foot in the door. This opportunity was an excellent preparation for the competition.

    The whole experience of being at Snowbird was remarkable. I appreciated the generosity of the Barlow Endowment; I enjoyed the beautiful scenery, the lodging, and being treated to the best restaurants at the resort. I felt pampered. Mrs. Ott’s organization was strikingly impressive: her attention to every detail, her knowledge of all events and occurrences, and her clever management of treats, seating, scores, meals, rooms—everything.

    And naturally, what was especially memorable was the association I enjoyed with the judges and directors from the Barlow. It was both exciting and fitting to see the professors that I enjoyed and respected so much in the classroom, perform so naturally in the professional musical world. What made it more exciting was that I got to place a foot into that world as well. The judges and conductors brought so much knowledge and experience to the table. I was able to learn from those who are truly active in the current musical community. They really know music–so well, that they could dissect it easily and quickly. I was amazed, and somewhat bewildered, that a great majority of the applicants had received doctoral degrees in composition, but many of their scores were only shortly considered. Almost all of the scores that the judges reserved came from more seasoned composers. It was a good reminder that polish comes from practice, and that education is a foundation on which to build.

    I listened carefully to what the judges said about each score. I wasn’t always sure what it was they were talking about; I wasn’t sure why a certain piece of music wouldn’t make the first cut. But when a good piece of music came to the table, it was evident to everyone. I was surprised at the high musical level of the competition. I was humbled. But I was also happy to glean a few clues from the judges’ comments and to hear the different perspectives of the composers and conductors.

    All in all, it was a unique experience and a great privilege to participate in the Barlow Endowment this year. I am grateful to the Endowment for providing me with such an opportunity–one that has broadened my understanding and lifted my sights.

    Bart Gibb

    Being an intern for the Barlow Endowment was a great privilege. The opportunity to associate with respected composers and conductors was invaluable.

    I found the judging process to be informative and intimidating. Many fine compositions were quickly passed over as the judges sought for those few that stood out as unique––having something original to say. To see the judges work through this process gave insight, not only into artistic expectations, but into some of the more practical “do’s” and “don’ts” of submitting a composition for consideration.

    Most importantly, however, were the casual conversations that took place around the table while enjoying a good meal. Those moments provided ample opportunities to query the different guests as to their backgrounds, viewpoints, and experience. At the final dinner, I and another student were able to question one of the composers at length and received a bounty of useful information, advice, and encouragement. A valuable contact may have been gained as well that may be of benefit in the future.

    Not to be overlooked was the opportunity to discuss our experiences with the other interns. Each of us had something useful to share with the others as a result of our individual experiences as interns.

    I’m very grateful to the endowment for the opportunity it provided me to be an intern. The stipend made it possible for me to miss work and attend. I would not have been able to otherwise. Thank you again.

    Nicholas Greer

    The past four years I have spent in the music program at BYU have opened my eyes, ears, and mind regarding sound composition more than I ever thought possible back when I started in 2002. Positively speaking – it’s been more than I expected.

    While I feel more confident as a composer, I have grown increasingly worried over how best to parlay my love for composition into a viable career; which is why I was so grateful for the opportunity of being an intern during the Barlow judging this year (2006).

    To me, everything I saw, heard, and witnessed felt like a lesson. I remember feeling shocked as Mr. Gawthrop and Dr. Haithcock sped through application after application, knowing sometimes even before a CD or tape was inserted whether a certain application was worth their consideration. It made me think about submissions I’ve made to similar (if somewhat smaller) competitions in the past and how so much hope went into them. I learned that hope isn’t enough. I can no longer expect judges for competitions to which I may send materials to look past bad recordings, lackluster scores, and long buildups. Time is of the essence in the initial stages of a competition; applications that don’t grab attention quickly will never be given a chance for closer inspection later.

    I remember the candid discussions both in and outside of the boardroom. These discussions ranged from casual and innocuous, to involved and life-shaping. Always, I felt like I had wondered into something much bigger than myself, and any moment I was going to be discovered and asked to leave. I think all of the judges understood we interns were there not only to help, but also were there to be helped. As Mr. Gawthrop and Dr. Haithcock combed through applications during the initial judging, both interacted with me, asked me questions (“Where are you from? Going for a doctorate? Where do you want to go? You should look into….” etc.), and did their best to make my experience more rewarding than just what I could take away from silent observation.

  • Barlow Board of Advisors

    Claude Baker

    During the 2006 calendar year, Claude Baker, Professor of Composition in the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University, was awarded a commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard to write a work for the Pacifica String Quartet. He was also selected by an international panel (Bright Sheng, Wolfgang Rihm, Tobias Picker, Marc-Andre Dalbavie and Tzimon Barto) as the winner of the first “Barto Prize” competition for solo piano composition for his “Flights of Passage.” In July 2006, he served as an Artist-in-Residence for the EAMA (European American Musical Alliance) Summer Program held at the Ecole Normale de Musique in Paris. In that same month, his “Lamentations (pour la fin du monde)” for Alto/Soprano Saxophones and Orchestra was premiered at the opening concert of the 14th World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia by Eugene Rousseau, saxophone, and the Slovenian Philharmonic Orchestra, David Itkin, conducting.

    Murray Boren

    Murray Boren is the Composer in Residence at Brigham Young University where he also teaches composition and music theory. His compositions include 10 operas, over 100 chamber works and numerous band and orchestra pieces. He also writes extensively for the theater; his most recent scores for productions of “Antigone” and “Nathan the Wise.” Recent commissions include a harp concerto for the American Harp Society’s 2004 Convention, choral works for the New York Summer School of the Arts 2004 program, and both an opera and a song cycle about Joseph Smith, Jr. Recordings of his compositions are available on Tantara Records.

    Daniel E. Gawthrop

    Daniel E. Gawthrop’s symphony for solo organ, O Jerusalem, was given its east coast premiere by organist Dr. David Pickering in the Washington National Cathedral in July of 2006. The symphony also appeared on a new CD called Exultate, devoted entirely to Gawthrop’s music for organ, featuring organist Mary Mozelle performing at the Chapel of Princeton University. The American Guild of Organists has commissioned him to write a suite for solo organ for premiere at their convention in Baltimore in July of 2007, which event will also feature the release of a second CD devoted to his organ music, this one by organist David Pickering recorded at the Bales Organ Recital Hall at the University of Kansas. He has had choral works recently premiere at Furman University, at Spivey Hall in Atlanta, and in churches in Princeton, New Jersey, and Arlington, Virginia. Gawthrop has recently appeared in residencies as Composer and Clinician at California State University Los Angeles, the College of Southern Maryland and Furman University.

    Lansing McLoskey

    Lansing McLoskey’s music has been performed across the US and in eleven other countries, most recently in Denmark and Calcutta, India. He has received commissions and grants from the NEA, Meet The Composer, Fromm Foundation, ASCAP, Barlow Endowment, Music At The Anthology, King’s Chapel, Mormon Artists Group, Harvard University, and the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts. He has written for such renowned ensembles as The Hilliard Ensemble, Speculum Musicae, and the New Millennium Ensemble. Recent premieres include “The Madding Crowd” at the 2007 Tanglewood Music Festival by Triton Brass, and two orchestral works by the Frost Symphony Orchestra at Festival Miami 2007. He also received the Orovitz Award from the University of Miami, where he is an Asst. Professor. Recordings of his music are released on Albany, Wergo Schallplatten, Capstone, and Tantara

    Melina Wagner

    Melinda Wagner Pulitzer prize-winning composer, recently heard the premiere performance of her Concerto for Trombone and Orchestra, composed for Joseph Alessi and the New York Philharmonic. Current projects include works for the United States Marine Band, the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, and Orpheus.

    Guest Judges


    David Blackinton

    Brigham Young University
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    Lt. Col. Michael Colburn

    US Marine Band
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    Jack Delaney

    Southern Methodist University Meadows Wind Ensemble
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    Michael Haithcock

    University of Michigan Symphony Band
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    David Dzubay

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    Michael Hicks

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    Barlow Board of Directors

    Stephen M. Jones

    Family Representative
    Alice Barlow Jones

    Vice Chair
    Dale Monson

    Financial Officer
    Scott M. Boyter

    Executive Director
    Thomas Durham

    Rebecca Ott