2003 Winners

2003 Prize Winner

Brian Current

For more information about
Brian Current, Barlow Prize Winner, consult his website.


fter reviewing 427 composer applications from 32 countries, the judging panel awarded Brian Current of Toronto, Canada the Barlow Prize. The judging panel also granted John Kaefer the distinction of Honorable Mention in this competition.

Mr. Current will receive a $17,000 commission to write a new work for orchestra with 2005 premieres by American Composers Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. Brian received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2002, and has received numerous honors. Orchestras and chamber ensembles have performed his works worldwide.

Other Commissioning Programs


he Endowment awarded $43,000 in its other annual commissioning programs to eight composers, listed below. Additionally, for the special Joseph Smith Bicentennial celebration, the Endowment awarded a total of $25,000 and selected four composers to write works for Brigham Young University’s premier performing ensembles as follows:


James Balentine’s March, Strathspey and Reel for Clarinet and Piano was premiered July 2003 at the International Clarinet Association Clarinetfest by Jaren S. Hinckley and Jed Moss on piano. It was also performed September 2003 by Robert Walzel, Director of the School of Music, at the University of Utah. During October 2003 it was performed at the following venues:  Brigham Young University, San Diego State University, Palomar College, CSU–Northridge, and CSU-Sacramento.


Zhou Long’s The Rhyme of Taigu was premiered by the Singapore Symphony Orchestra conducted by Lan Shui and was scheduled for a recording session on the BIS label in August 2003. He also received an Academy Award in Music which honors outstanding artistic achievement and acknowledges the composer who has arrived at his or her own voice.

Zhou Long
Lisa DeSpain

Lisa DeSpain’s String Quartet No. 1 / Rise and Fall for the Cassatt String Quartet was performed at the Winnipeg Music Festival in February 2003. Her work was also performed in March 2003, at the Mannes College of Music in New York, the Greenwich School of Music “Cutting Edge” series, and was reviewed in the American Record Guide and the new Music Connoisseur.

Kenneth Frazelle

Kenneth Frazelle’s From the Song of Songs was premiered on February 6, 2003, by soprano Erie Mills and pianist Jeffrey Peterson at San Jose State University. Other performances in February and March were at Brigham Young University, Civic Music Association in Oklahoma City, Chicago Cultural Center, and at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Nathan Hofheins’ commissioned work, Fantasia on a French Carol, was premiered December 11-14, 2003, by the Orchestra at Temple Square during their Christmas Concerts at the Conference Center in Salt Lake City.

Nathan Hofheins

Dorothy Chang’s Wind/Unwind was performed in January 2003, by North/South Consonance in New York City. It was also performed at the Florida State University Festival of New Music in Tallahassee and also performed by Eighth Blackbird in Chicago in October 2003.

Dorothy Chang
David Liptak

David Liptak’s String Quartet No. 2 was premiered on October 7, 2003, by the Cassatt String Quartet at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Other performances by the Cassatt Quartet were performed on November 5, 2003, in Syracuse and November 12, 2003, in Sacramento.

James Mobberley2

James Mobberley’s Vox Inhumana was premiered by newEar and soprano Rebecca Sherbum at the Electronic Music Midwest Conference held at the UMKC campus on October 30, 2003, and also performed at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Kansas City, Missouri on November 7, 2003.

Executive Director Report
2003 Report
Tom Durham Executive Director

F or the first time in its history, the Barlow Endowment awarded in excess of $88,000 to thirteen composers at the 2003 summer meetings held at the Snowbird Resort in the Wasatch Mountains high above Salt Lake City. Moreover, the number of composers interested in the Endowment’s commissioning programs exceeded totals for all previous years since the Endowment’s inception. Our office received 427 submissions from composers applying for the $17,000 Barlow Prize for a new orchestral work. In the General and LDS programs, we collected 120 applications from composers.  Applicants in all our programs represented 32 countries from all continents around the world. The special Joseph Smith Bicentennial Commissions attracted the interest of 60 composers.

Numbers of this magnitude attest to our increasing profile among composers, performers, and musicians worldwide who know and respect the Barlow name and what it stands for. Although the Endowment has undergone a few personnel changes recently, we feel stronger and more fortified than ever before. We remain steadfast in our pledge to assist composers in their efforts to create great music and have it performed by the best ensembles in the most respected venues. Nothing has distracted us from this mission in our twenty years of operation, and we expect to continue to support composers to this end for many years to come.

Education Grant Report


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

Michael HicksBYU Professor of Music

2003 Report

M ore than two-thirds of the funds went to scholarships for eleven composition students, about evenly divided between undergraduate and graduate students (including a few who moved from one category to the other during the year). Several of those students have now been welcomed into prestigious graduate composition programs elsewhere (Queens College, Indiana University).  Among the more notable works produced by students receiving Barlow funds are a beautiful song cycle on texts by children of the Holocaust, some international award-winning carillon pieces, a children’s opera soon to be produced, and a wonderful 15 minute modern dance piece recently performed here (twice). We are pleased with the achievements of our scholarship students. We are learning, however, that the demands on the Education Grant are so great that we probably must award scholarships more sparingly in the future.

Among those demands are ways of sponsoring the work of new and continuing faculty members. During the past year much of that sponsorship went to support new faculty member Steven Ricks.  His four-movement work for soprano and chamber ensemble entitled Leave Song was recorded here by the outstanding vocalist Jennifer Larson, who also lectured to our students on new music voice techniques. The recording, featuring seven BYU faculty instrumentalists was issued on a CD produced by the Society of Composers, Inc., entitled Sonic Images (Capstone CPS-8712). With Barlow Education Grant help, Ricks was also able to represent BYU at two major events. The first of these was the Oliver Knussen Workshop: Music of Elliott Carter at Carnegie Hall in May.  Ricks was able to gain a great deal of new knowledge in the art and craft of conducting–he is currently director of BYU’s Group for New Music–as well as conductor of Carter’s music. The following month Ricks was able to attend June in Buffalo, an important annual gathering of important American composers.

I should mention the Grant funded two of our female students to travel and attend Composing a Career: A Career Development Symposium for Women Composers, a very worthwhile event in California. These students came back with much useful practical knowledge about making good on the business side of music composition–and also some quite interesting aesthetic insights gleaned from working with some of the more experimental composers at the symposium.

Aside from Jennifer Larson, we were able to bring two Barlow Lecturers to campus. First was Daniel Harrison, a theorist who taught a general audience here about some structural devices of early twentieth-century composers, new ways of hearing the various layers of the music.  Second was the brilliant Robert Ashley, who held two master classes with our composers and, during a general lecture period, performed excerpts from several of his solo operas to an amazed and enthusiastically appreciative audience of students and faculty.

Finally, I mention the Barlow-sponsored visit to our campus of the Canyonlands Ensemble, a University of Utah-based group specializing in some of the more challenging-to-perform music of the past few decades. Their visit and performances were stunning, illuminating, daunting and, above all, a superb feast for the eyes and ears of our students.

Aside from all of these items–too many of them as it turned out, since they gobbled up our carryover funds, new funds, and then some–various faculty members also received generous support for the composition and presentation of their work–e.g., making copies of scores and CDs to send to prospective patrons.

What can we say?  It was an enlightening year, one to celebrate and remember–all enabled by the Barlow Education Grants, for which our deepest gratitude, as always, goes to the Barlow Endowment.


Barlow Board of Advisors

2003 Annual Report
Claude Baker

C laude Baker, who has agreed to a second five-year term on the Barlow Board of Advisors, was awarded a 2002 Academy Award in Music from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Baker was one of four composers chosen to receive this national award which recognizes outstanding artistic achievement. He was also awarded a joint commission by the Koussevitzky Music Foundation and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra to write a work in celebration of the ISO’s seventy-fifth anniversary. The premiere of the new piece will take place during the 2004-05 concert season and will be conducted by the orchestra’s new music director, Mario Venzago. In the spring of 2003, Baker assumed a “mini-residency” with the Canton Symphony Orchestra.  During that period, the orchestra performed “The Glass Bead Game” and “Aus Schwanengesang.” The latter work was commissioned jointly by Canton and the North Carolina Symphony. In the weeks preceding these performances, Baker oversaw rehearsals of his compositions, and also presented classes and lectures at several schools and universities in the Canton area.

Murray Boren
Murray Boren

M urray Boren is the Composer in Residence at Brigham Young University where he also teaches composition and music theory. Compositions include 10 operas and over 100 chamber works. He also writes extensively for the theater with his most recent scores for productions of “Antigone” and “Wind in the Willows.” Current commissions include a harp concerto for the American Harp Society 2004 Convention, choral works for the New York Summer School of the Arts 2004 program, and an opera about Joseph Smith, Jr. A CD of his compositions is available on Tantara Records.

Bruce Polay
Bruce Polay

B ruce Polay was recently selected 2004 Illinois Conductor of the Year by the Illinois Council of Orchestras for an unprecedented second time, at the ICO’s winter conference in Chicago. He has upcoming guest conducting invitations to China, Italy, Mexico, Russia, Spain, and Ukraine. Two commissions, one for a two-piano work to be premiered in San Francisco and a work for string orchestra which he will take on tour in Spain, will be completed this summer. His “Illumination” for Orchestra (2003) was commissioned by the Galesburg Symphony Society and will be premiered with the composer conducting the Knox-Galesburg Symphony in April, 2004. This work celebrates the bicentennial of the birth date of the Prophet Joseph Smith. Additionally, Bruce will make a CD of the piano works of Fridrich Bruk (Finland) and has been contracted to make a compact disc of his selected works for solo piano, violin and piano, as well his “Semi-Suite” for Violin, Cello, and Piano, which will be performed by the Knox-Galesburg Symphony Trio.

Melinda Wagner
Melinda Wagner

M elinda Wagner, a Pulitzer prize-winning composer, recently heard the premiere performance of her piano concerto, “Extremity of Sky.”  The piece was composed for Emanuel Ax and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with support from the Prince Charitable Trusts. Current projects include a song-cycle for soprano Christine Brandes and the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, chamber works for Network for New Music and Orchestra 2001, and a trombone concerto for Joseph Alessi and the New York Philharmonic.

Guest Judges

Robert Beaser
Robert Beaser
Michael Runyon
Michael Runyon
Ardean Watts
Ardean Watts
Lansing McLoskey_resized
Lansing McLoskey

Joseph Smith Bicentennial Commemoration Judges

Kory Katseanes
Kory KatseanesBYU Philharmonic Orchestra
David Blackinton
David BlackintonBYU Wind Symphony
Ronald Staheli
Ronald StaheliBYU University Singers
Rosalind Hall
Rosalind HallBYU Concert Choir

Barlow Board of Directors


K. Newell Dayley

Vice Chair

Dale Monson

Executive Director

Thomas Durham

Family Representative

Alice Barlow Jones

Financial Officer

Scott M. Boyter


Rebecca Ott