2020 Winners

Prize Winner


For more information about Christopher Trapani, Barlow Prize winner, consult his website.


he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University proudly announces commission winners for 2020. After reviewing 689 submissions from 44 countries, the judging panel awarded Christopher Trapani of New York, NY, the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new song cycle for soprano and piano. A former winner of the Rome Prize, Gaudeamus Prize, and a 2019 Guggenheim Fellowship, Trapani maintains an active career in the United States, the United Kingdom, and in Continental Europe. Commissions have come from the BBC, the JACK Quartet, Ensemble Modern, and Radio France, and his works have been heard at Carnegie Hall, Southbank Centre, Ruhrtriennale, IRCAM, and Wigmore Hall. Trapani describes his music as weaving “American and European stylistic strands into a personal aesthetic that defies easy classification. Snippets of Delta Blues, Appalachian folk, dance band foxtrots, shoegaze guitar effects, and Turkish makam [along with] spectral swells and meandering canons.”(www.christophertrapani.com)

General and LDS Commission Recipients


fter considering 285 applications from 20 countries for the General and Latter-day Saints competitions, the Endowment awarded 15 composers who will write major new works for designated performers.

Report from the Chair
Ed Adams
Ed AdamsChair

2020 has been a year of changes in so many ways.  Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, social and political unrest, and the fallout from each of these for the arts-including some composers having difficulty collaborating with ensembles or presenting their work because of loss of performance venues—we witness composers and performers around the world fulfilling their vision and dreams.  Their increased innovation and creativity continues to influence humanity through their talents and gifts.  Performances are reaching new audiences through virtual concerts and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition continues to recognize and support these exciting opportunities.

New opportunities abounded for the Endowment as well. The judging took on a new structure as all application materials were submitted electronically for the first time, providing participation by new international composers who were not able to submit previously.  Likewise, the judges all adjudicated remotely and met virtually online.  Even though this was not ideal (as they all missed the surreal surroundings of Snowbird and the rejuvenation that affords), it provided an avenue for the competition to carry on and bless the lives of so many composers and performers with continued financial encouragement and support during a tenuous year of turmoil.

We have started conversations with the Barlow family members regarding a 40th Anniversary event commemorating the start of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at BYU.  The Endowment has gone through many phases of commissioning programs, and the family is interested in partnering with the BYU School of Music to perform some of the Barlow winning works along with hosting winning composers and ensembles.  It is a work in progress—especially navigating the pandemic environment and artists’ organizations—but we are envisioning a multi-day event at BYU in the new Music Building (scheduled to be completed in 2023).

Even with this year’s many vicissitudes, some things remained the same.  The rotation of Advisors is an annual event and we are sad to bid farewell to Dorothy Chang Bartolussi, our friend and colleague, at the conclusion of her five-year term on the Board of Advisors. We have very much appreciated her candor, wit, and wisdom in the adjudications.  She will be sorely missed.

This year, the Board of Directors has implemented a three-year term for Advisors starting 2021 and increased the number of advisors from five to six.  This change will alleviate the judging load and time commitment for the advisors.

In addition, the Board of Directors instituted a term length for the Executive Director.  With this adjustment, Ethan Wickman’s six-year term as Executive Director concludes as of December 2020.  Prior to this appointment, he served a five-year term as Advisor as well as being a guest judge.  His influence and contribution to the Barlow Endowment has been considerable for well over a decade. Ethan has provided exemplary work by refining the judging process and also working toward greater diversity and inclusiveness among judges, as well as an increase in women receiving awards.  We are very appreciative of his expertise, guidance, forethought, and commitment to the Endowment and wish him well in his future endeavors in creative and research projects, as well as teaching and mentoring back at the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Dr. Daniel Bradshaw has accepted the invitation to serve as the next Executive Director. Bradshaw received his doctoral degree in music composition from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is a professor of composition and theory at BYU-Hawaii and has served as chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts there from 2014-2018.  Dan has also previously served on the Barlow Endowment Board of Advisors. Bradshaw becomes the fourth executive director in the Barlow Endowment’s 37-year history. His father, Merrill Bradshaw, was the founding executive director, serving from 1983 to 1999.

We are all committed to the Barlow Endowment. Whenever I travel and interact with music faculty at other universities, I hear their high regard for the Barlow Endowment. All of us here at BYU are committed to strengthen the reputation of the endowment while maintaining its founding documents and its legacy.

Intern Reports

Due to entirely online Barlow judging timing and circumstances, no interns were utilized during the summer 2020 meetings.


Barlow Board of Advisors

Chen Yi
Chen Yi

A s a prolific composer who blends Chinese and Western traditions, transcending cultural and musical boundaries, Dr. Chen Yi is Distinguished Professor at the Conservatory of Music and Dance in the University of Missouri-Kansas City, and a recipient of the prestigious Charles Ives Living Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her music is published by Theodore Presser Company, commissioned and performed world wide by such ensembles as the Cleveland Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Symphony and the Royal Philharmonic, the Seattle, Pacific, Singapore, China National, New Zealand symphonies, LA and China philharmonics, the Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra and Sachsische Staatskapelle Dresden, recorded on Bis, New Albion, New World, Teldec, Albany, Bridge, Naxos, and many labels. She has received bachelor and master degrees in composition (1983 and 1986) from the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and Doctor of Musical Arts degree (1993) from Columbia University in New York. Major composition teachers are Profs. Wu Zu-qiang, Chou Wen-chung and Mario Davidovsky. She has been inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2005, and appointed to the Cheungkong Scholar Visiting Professor at the CCoM in 2006, and Distinguished Visiting Professor of Tianjin Conservatory in 2012.

* Chen is family name, Yi is personal name. Chen Yi can be referred to Dr. Chen, Prof. Chen, Ms. Chen, or Chen Yi, but not Dr. Yi, Prof. Yi, or Ms. Yi.

Benjamin Sabey
Benjamin Sabey
Dorothy Chang
Dorothy Chang

orothy Chang serves as a Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia School of Music. Her music 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 2018 include two world premieres: Gateways, a double concerto premiered by the Piano-Erhu Project and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and Afterlight for soprano saxophone and piano, premiered at the 2018 World Saxophone Congress in Croatia.  Other highlights include performances of her works by the Albany Symphony Orchestra at the SHIFT Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., the Little Giant Chinese Orchestra and the Turning Point Ensemble at the Taiwan National Concert Hall in Taipei, and performances by the Trinitas Chamber Ensemble, Magisterra Soloists, Sea and Sky Collective and Nu:BC Collective.  Dorothy lives with her husband and daughter in Vancouver, British Columbia.


Neil Thornock

eil Thornock is Associate Professor of music composition at Brigham Young University and is an associate director of the School of Music. In January 2018, he premiered Motet, his 80-minute work for piano and electronics. Three of his works were performed at the national congress of the Guild of Carillonneurs in North America, in conjunction with the publication of thirteen of his carillon works. Firehead Editions published the second volume of The Millennium Book, featuring twenty short works for organ. He also received commissions from cellist Michelle Kesler, for her residency at De Chelly National Park, and from violist Devan Freebairn. In November, he performed Earth, from his Planetarium for organ and electronics, at University of Texas San Antonio.

Benjamin Taylor
Benjamin Taylor


Tony Arnold
Tony ArnoldSoprano
Sharon HarmsSoprano
Carrie Henneman ShawSoprano
Diane Reich
Diane ReichSoprano


Miguel Chuaqui
Miguel ChuaquiGuest Judge
Stephen Jones
Stephen JonesGuest Judge
Dan Lippel
Dan LippelGuest Judge
Steve Roens
Steve RoensGuest Judge

Barlow Board of Directors


Ed Adams

Vice Chair

Diane Reich

Executive Director

Ethan Wickman

Family Representative

Nancy Barlow Cox

Financial Officer

Thaylene Rogers


Rebecca Ott