The Passing of Our Benefactor
he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University regrets the passing of Milton A. Barlow. We note the date of his passing as the 171st anniversary of the founding of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. These two events, synchronized on the calendar forever, present a counterpoint personified by Brother Barlow – the Savior’s call for kindness and the yearning to share one’s bounty; Christ’s challenge to influence others for good and the contributions of a man who rose to become one of our nation’s leaders; the gospel of Jesus Christ and a lifetime of service.
The generous donation Milton A. Barlow gave to the Barlow Endowment nearly twenty years ago represents a high watermark in the life of a remarkable man. His philanthropic foresight produced a sizeable and estimable body of new music. He supported composers in creating over 125 new works, performed by over 110 of the world’s leading artists and ensembles. When the history of music during the last two decades is written, the Barlow Endowment will have played a meaningful role.
To have known Milt is to have known a man who participated in so much of life’s abundance, whether it was the church, the business world, government politics, or the world of humanitarianism. His zest, humor, determination, and joy induced all those in his many circles to do better and be better. For now, the world is a little poorer for the loss of this man. But knowing that he has joined his beloved Gloria in the eternal realm helps to ease our sorrow as we rededicate our efforts to the legacy he bestowed on the divine art of music.
2000 Competition Winners
he judging panel was unable to reach a consensus regarding a winner for the Barlow International Choral Competition this year. However, the Endowment awarded eight other composers who were commissioned to compose pieces for the following ensembles, listed below.
|General Commission Recipients||Piece||Premiering Ensemble(s)|
|Chen Yi||Ning||The Chamber Music Society of Minnesota|
|C. Curtis-Smith||A Farewell…(Les adieaux)||Fontana Concert Society|
|Stephen Jaffe||Homage to the Breath||20th Century Consort|
|Peter Knell||Dialogues (Sonata No. 2)||The Stern-Schoenhals Duo|
|Steven Stucky||Skylarks||Kansas City Choral|
T he Endowment mourns the death of Merrill Bradshaw, who had been Executive Director of the Endowment since its inception in 1983 until his retirement last year. What a delight and honor it was working for over a decade with Merrill as he strove to mold the Barlow Endowment into a potent and international force among the benefactors for music composition. Directing the Endowment without financial remuneration and replete with obstacles, Merrill’s quest was most certainly a labor of love. His joy was derived from taking part in providing a catalyst for the creation of fine music, witnessing the cultivation of promising young composers, and interacting with the notable worthies that have served on our boards or as judges. His passion for pursuing the best interests of the Endowment was tireless and his dedication and service unflinching.
As rewarding as our association with respect to the Endowment were the lessons of life I learned under Merrill’s tutelage. As a truly Renaissance man with vastly eclectic interests, our discussions ranged from the cerebral functions of the creative process to Revolutionary War heroes. And because we usually met before lunch, the conversation invariably shifted into one of Merrill’s animated descriptions of his latest culinary conquests. He loved good food, and the tastes of his palette were as refined as those of his aesthetics.
Merrill’s goodness and accomplishments were not motivated by the praise of his peers, although his awards and honors were numerous. He dedicated his life to his family, his church, and his music, and the accolades bestowed upon him were only secondary to his search for life’s beauty and truths. Esteemed American educator Horace Mann aptly stated: “If any man seeks for greatness, let him forget greatness and ask for truth, and he will find both.” And indeed, Merrill succeeded in doing so, and his inspiration and leadership will continue to be felt far into the future of the Endowment and our lives.
L ast August the Barlow Endowment’s Board of Directors and Board of Advisors held their annual summer meetings at the Snowbird resort east of Salt Lake City. The majestic mountain setting provided an inspiring backdrop as we judged the Barlow Prize, awarded eight commissions, and discussed the future of the Endowment. We will return to Snowbird this coming August to decide our 2001 Barlow Prize winner. I am excited about this competition for a new sacred song cycle–a joint venture between the Endowment and Erie Mills, the world renowned opera and concert soprano now on the faculty at San Jose State University. Ms. Mills and her accompanist, Dr. Jeffry Peterson, will be joining us for the judging as well as premiering the prize-winning work in 2003.
In January, we mailed our annual poster containing all the details for the 2001 Barlow Prize. The poster also highlighted the other commissioning programs available from the Endowment: the General Commissions and the LDS Composer Commissions. Furthermore, our website offers additional information about applications, services, past winners, etc.
D uring the year 2000 the Barlow Education Grant monies continued to support School of Music scholarships, guest lectures, recording projects, and faculty programs. Just over $14,000 was spent–less than in previous years.
While we normally promulgate the work of living composers (including BYU composition faculty), this year we devoted one of our guest lectures to the work of an American master, Aaron Copland, whose centennial the whole nation celebrated this year. We hosted Vivian Perlis, co-author of Copland’s autobiography and celebrated raconteur of American music from the past century. In addition to speaking to the entire School of Music student body, Ms. Perlis held two smaller sessions with student composers discussing their American musical heritage.
Earlier in the year we sponsored a very fruitful visit by Melinda Wagner, whose Barlow-commissioned work had received a Pulitzer Prize for music composition. Her lectures to the School of Music and the composition seminar, as well as her master classes with our best students, proved highly illuminating as she demonstrated how to harmonize the powers of intuition and intellect in compositional methodology. Her approachable style, down-to-earth and even family-oriented thoughts on being a composer, won the hearts of many students who recall her visit warmly.
During the summer we sponsored a trip by faculty member Murray Boren to the June in Buffalo conference, a yearly gathering place for major composers throughout the country. In addition to representing BYU among the various auditors at the conference, Professor Boren participated in workshops with Philip Glass, George Crumb, Charles Wuorinen, Lukas Foss, Steve Reich, Bernard Rands, and others–valuable professional training for our own composer-in-residence.
In addition to paying for various copying and mailing costs (for faculty scores) and a brief trip by Steven Jones (to work with Rands), the remainder of the Education Grant monies went to scholarships for three exceptional students, one of whom we lured away from the Manhattan School of Music and another who has established a fledgling career as a working film composer. (The latter two students tied as first-place winners of the university’s Mayhew Awards for composition early in 2001.) Thanks in part to students like these, sponsored by the Barlow Endowment, our undergraduate composition program is perhaps the healthiest and most accomplished it has ever been.
The production of a Barlow CD was not achieved as expected during the year 2000 due to illness and scheduling conflicts, but we anticipate its completion in the upcoming season.
Many thanks, as always, to the Endowment for its continued support. The Barlow Education Grant is superbly fulfilling its intended purpose of elevating this program not only up (in quality) but out (in exposure). Already this year, 2001, we have had some excellent experiences, about which—and more—we will report to you next year.
Murray Boren’s Wind Octet commissioned for the Belarus Wind Octet was premiered in their USA tour this spring.
Tully Cathey, 1998 Barlow Competition winner, premiered his Motherchord in January 2001 with the Utah Symphony, Keith Lockhart conducting.
Keith Bradshaw’s Desertscape was premiered by the Saguaro Duo and also at the Fourth National Symposium/National Association of College Wind and Percussion Instructors.
Kurt Rohde’s work for Emil Miland (cello) and Eric Zivian (piano) will be premiered this spring.
Jeff Manookian’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra will be premiered on October 5, 2001 in Maurice Abravanel Hall (Salt Lake City). James Michael Caswell will conduct with Laurel Ann Maurer as soloist. The second movement was performed at the Madeleine Festival (Salt Lake City) last spring.
Todd Coleman’s Siva Sakthi, Concerto for Double Bass and Orchestra, was performed last October by OSSIA (Eastman School of Music) and also the University of Rochester Chamber Orchestra with James Vandemark, Double Bass.
John Costa’s composition commissioned for the NOVA String Quartet was premiered by the NOVA Chamber Music Series at the All-Saints Episcopal Church in Salt Lake City. It was also broadcast on KUER, SLC.
Robert Cundick’s Five Canyon Impressions for the Young Artist Chamber Players was performed during the Temple Square Concert Series (Salt Lake City) in November 2000.
David Dzubay’s Sun, Moon, Stars, and Rain, a 1996 Barlow Prize winner, was premiered last Spring by the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra under the baton of James DePriest.
Richard Festinger’s Crossfire, composed for the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players, was performed in December 2000 at the Center for the Arts at Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco.
David Kechley’s FLOW: Transcending Passages for Cello and Orchestra was performed by the Seattle Symphony in May 2000 with cellist Walter Gray.
Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez’ Voici, le bateau pour les Calanques, for string quartet with piano, written for the Left Coast Ensemble, was premiered in April 2000.
Lansing McLoskey’s Wild Bells, commissioned for violist Leticia Oaks Strong in 1998, won the 1999 Lee Ettelson Composers Award from Composers, Inc. as well as First Prize in the SCI/ASCAP 2000 National Student Composition Competition.
Barlow Board of Advisors
Barlow Board of Directors
K. Newell Dayley
Alice Barlow Jones
Scott M. Boyter