2008 Prize Winner
he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University is pleased to announce the commission winners for 2008. After reviewing 336 composer applications from 27 countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded HAROLD MELTZER of New York City the $12,000 Barlow Price to compose a major new work for string quartet. The judging panel also granted Kelly-Marie Murphy of Ottawa the distinguished Honorable Mention award.
Dr. Meltzer completed undergraduate work at Amherst College and received graduate degrees from Columbia, King’s College, and Yale University. He co-founded the new music/theatre ensemble, Sequitur, and has been artistic director since 2004.
He currently holds a teaching position at Vassar College. His extensive list of awards, residencies, and fellowships includes the MacDowell Colony, Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim, Charles Ives Fellowship, and Samuel Barber Prize at the American Academy in Rome.
General and LDS Commission Recipients
ach year, after considering multiple applications, the Barlow Endowment awards prize monies to composers who have been commissioned to compose works for groups or individuals. Applicants may apply for either the General or LDS categories, depending on the musician by whom the composer was commissioned. The Barlow recognizes the following composers and ensembles to receive awards this year:
|General Commission Recipients||Ensemble(s)|
|Claude Baker||Marc-Andre Hamlin (piano) and the Indianapolis Symphony and Orchestra|
|Alvin Singleton||Orchestra of the League of Composers|
|Michael Gandolfi||Boston Musica Viva|
|Scott Wheeler||Joshua Gordon, Cello|
|Steve Mackey||Eighth Blackbird|
|Seung-Ah Oh||Flexible Music|
|Christopher Rouse||Calder Quartet|
Stephen Hartke’s work Meanwhile premiered on November 7, 2007 at the University of Richmond School of Music as part of an entire evening of Hartke’s compositions. The piece, which was written for Eighth Blackbird, was performed several other times during the 2007-2009 seasons and was one of three finalists for the 2008 Pulitzer Prize.
On February 1, 2008 Albany Records released Elements, a compilation of piano music performed by Genevieve Feiwen Lee. The CD features Philippe Bodin’s 2004 Barlow Commission Inner Banners, which is a five-movement piece representing earth, fire, water, air, and metal
Harold Meltzer’s Brion premiered January 29, 2007 at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York. The piece was performed by the Cygnus Ensemble, who also performed the piece on April 23, 2008 at Merkin Hall in New York City, as well as February 26, 2010 at Bargemusic in Brooklyn, New York.
Libby Larsen’s latest piece, Bach 358, premiered on February 23, 2008 as part of the College Orchestra Directors Association Annual Meeting. The piece was performed by the BYU Philharmonic Orchestra in the de Jong Concert Hall, and was well received.
Peter Gilbert’s latest work, Hear as the Night Hollows, was premiered on April 2, 2008 at the Fenway Center at Northeastern University in Boston. The piece was again presented on May 14 and 15 as part of “The Sound Space Experience,” a concert sponsored through the Harvard University Studio for Electroacoustic Music.
Ross Bauer’s piece, Implicit Memory, was completed near the end of 2007 and premiered on February 25, 2008. The piece, which lasts approximately thirteen minutes, was written for the New York New Music Ensemble. It was performed at the Merkin Hall in New York City.
David Rakowski’s Cantina was performed March 2, 2008 by the Marine Band as part of the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) Conference in Washington, DC. Cantina was also presented on April 25, 2008 by the Meadow Winds Ensemble at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas.
Gabriela Lena Frank’s Barlow Commission was premiered on May 30, 2008 at the internationally-acclaimed deYoung Museum in San Francisco, California by the Adorno Ensemble, with soloist Lucy Shelton. Prior to the performance, Frank and others involved with the production presented lectures at Stanford University.
Steven Ricks’ work, Anthology, premiered on March 7, 2008 as part of fEARnoMUSIC’s Metal and Wood Meet Earth and Water concert series. The piece was first performed at The Old Church in Portland, Oregon and then again on March 21, 2008 at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
Robert Beaser’s new commissioned work premiered on June 15, 2008. The piece, which was written for the Boston Youth Symphony, was featured as part of their final concert for the 2007-08 season. The performance was held in the Sanders Theatre at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Peter McMurray’s Divje Babe premiered on March 12, 2008 at the Slosberg Hall at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. The piece was written for and commissioned by the Willow Flute Ensemble.
David Sanford’s commissioned piece, Humilitatem, premiered on November 11, 2008 at St. Mary’s School in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Ethan Wickman’s latest Barlow Commission, which was written for the Avalon String Quartet, premiered on April 17, 2008 at Northern Illinois University. It was also performed on April 20 at the Chicago Symphony Center’s Buntrock Hall.
Bruce Polay’s Polay String Quartet premiered on March 20, 2008 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. The piece, which was written for the Lynn University String Quartet, was presented as part of the university’s New Music Festival. The entire concert spotlighted the works of Bruce Polay.
David Vayo’s Barlow Commission, Awakening of the Heart, premiered in 2006. It was performed again on December 7, 2008 at the Center for New Music in the University of Iowa School of Music.
Malcolm Forsyth’s piece, Lyric Essay, premiered at the International Double Reed Society Convention. The convention was held at Brigham Young University on July 22-26, 2008.
I n 1983, Milton Barlow asked my predecessor, Merrill Bradshaw, to sit down with Newell Dayley and James Mason and hammer out the particulars of the Barlow Endowment’s charter. After multiple consultations with our founder, Milton Barlow, and others familiar with the process of drafting such documents, the three of them laid the foundation of what was to become one of the world’s leading commissioning agencies for composers of art music. Bradshaw, Dayley, and Mason became the first Board of Directors, and the Barlow Endowment was off and running. By 1985, the organization deployed the charter, awarding commissions to composers in addition to supporting the composition faculty and students at Brigham Young University—the Endowment’s permanent home.
If you look at the Endowment’s newly-constructed website, you will notice the broad range of composers, soloists, ensembles, and venues with whom we have associated over the past 25 years. Our record demonstrates a strong and reliable commitment to composers and new music. Over the years, many composers and musicians (too many to list) have donated their time and energy to this cause. I thank all of the past winners, applicants, advisors, directors, and staff who have helped build our worldwide reputation. Even in difficult economic times, the Endowment holds fast to its ideals: encouraging and financially supporting individuals who demonstrate technical skills and natural gifts for the composition of great music.
W e used slightly less than a third of this year’s budget on scholarships, Barlow meeting internships, student-performer fees (for composition classes), and travel support for student composers to hear their works performed or to attend workshops. One instance of the latter—local, but of special note—was the Salt Lake City workshop, rehearsal, and concert of Harry Partch’s music and instruments, which a large group of our students attended and found particularly inspiring, even revelatory. We find that student hunger for unusual—and particularly microtonal—music is growing as mass media continue to saturate the airwaves with increasingly uninteresting acoustic formulae.
Aside from miscellaneous recording costs (for projects such as Ricks’ recent work Waves/Particles), the project of special note this year was Christian Asplund’s new CD, Viola, a copy of which we have provided to each board member. I personally find this a masterwork of creative music—fresh in sound and technique, introspective and haunting in its expression. In connection with this release, we funded travel for Asplund to promote this new work in the Northwest. We also funded a bit of other travel, including Neil Thornock’s trip to South Carolina for a premiere at the North American Saxophone Alliance.
Aside from the usual smaller amounts of spending for producing, copying, and mailing scores, we purchased small digital recorders for each of our composition faculty for on-site recording of their performances (and students’ performances), improvisations, or other sound sources for composition. We also made some small upgrades to computer-based notational or electroacoustic programs in our composers’ offices.
Guests and Residencies
Our featured guests this year included virtuoso performers who not only gave stellar recitals but rehearsed, played, and recorded student works: the chamber group fEARnoMUSIC in March, and the piano and clarinet duo Jean Kopperud and Stephen Gosling in November. As usual, these guests gave our students important insights into performance idioms as well as extremely serviceable digital records of those students’ latest music.
We had some brief visits from Barlow commissionees David Crumb and Harold Meltzer (Pulitzer finalist in 2009). We also had two composers for slightly longer visits, both of whom keep being quoted and cited by our students (always a good sign): Orlando Jacinto Garcia and Jarrad Powell. Both of these amazingly broadminded and eclectic composer/thinker/teachers deepened our student’s minds with some outwardly simple but dramatically beautiful music and ideas.
Our sincerest thanks go to the Barlow Endowment for its continuing support, which slowly but palpably continues to strengthen the educational experience of BYU.
I felt like I was finally in the mix. Dan Gawthrop, Dave Rakowski and Lansing McLoskey were having a nice conversation over dinner and I was dining and chatting right there with them. We shared desserts. I had a chat with our dean, Dr. Jones, while two of the Barlow daughters, Alice and Nancy, were sitting there, interested in what I had to say. I got to know Blaise Magniere, the violinist from the Avalon Quartet, who cautioned me to write extended techniques for his instrument only when an artistic musical objective would warrant it. I found myself mingling and associating my name with icons of the success I hoped to achieve one day.
What’s more, I was in the room when the judges made their judgments. I saw how carefully they considered some pieces and how quickly they rejected others. Sometimes, it was in a matter of seconds. Listening to the recording wasn’t even necessary for some submissions. I can’t imagine that there could be another opportunity like it for someone like me, to witness their decision-making, their reactions to the good and their winces at the bad. I know what type of music wins competitions like this, and I didn’t before.
You might think I was intimidated, whether that intimidation came by way of noticing the great complexity of some of the works submitted, or by the solid competency seen in the judges, but you would be mistaken. I was encouraged and inspired. I was treated with respect. I was motivated when I realized that they considered me their colleague. When I start a new composition, or when I am stumped on a measure and need an idea, I still draw from that experience. New ideas, and better ideas, find their place in my music.
In conclusion, I am happy to report that it didn’t end with the three days at Snowbird. I still communicate with some of the judges. I recently sent a draft of a score to Dan Gawthrop and he responded with comments and helpful information on how to get it performed. All things considered, the internship was invaluable to me. I will be back in 2009 for another round.
I am grateful for my involvement in the 2008 Barlow Prize Competition for many reasons; prominent among them is the perspective it offered me on the world of music composition in general. It has long been my understanding that art of any kind becomes richer, fuller, and more successful as the artist gains experience and expands his or her horizons. This is why I consider the Barlow to be a very valuable experience for me, and that it would be a valuable experience for any student composer.
During the filing process I was interested in the number of composers who submitted works from all over the world. With nothing more than a cursory glance at each submission, I could tell that the contest entrants had vastly differing degrees of experience, and that some submissions would fare much better than others. Going over hundreds of submissions etched firmly into my mind that I should take great care when submitting anything to any contest, so that my hard work can be more easily appreciated.
Meeting the judges was also a very eye-opening experience for me, as I have had little opportunity thus far to meet with either composers or performers that subsist solely from their art. It also gave me the opportunity, which I probably would not have been able to have otherwise, of talking to heads of composition departments, world-class performers, and the dean of the College of Fine Arts one-on-one and being able to ask honest questions and receive honest answers. It was a reassuring experience to be able to speak to these important, once-seemingly unapproachable people, and find that they were supportive of us young, budding composers.
The judges were, without exception, pleasant to work with and excellent at their jobs. The judging process was both breathtakingly fast and sufficiently thorough. Watching the judging was highly instructive. I could easily see the difference between something looking cool on paper, or seeming intelligent in theory, and sounding convincing in performance. The judges’ vast experience sometimes gave them a more integral concept than I had of what was truly original and well-wrought. By listening to their responses to all of the contest submissions, I was able to examine my own oeuvre, looking for patterns and weak areas. Listening to the judging process at once filled my head with ideas for new compositions and gave me new criteria for the evaluation and application of these ideas.
I consider myself very much enriched by my experience with the 2008 Barlow Competition. I encourage all who are offered this opportunity to jump at the chance and take advantage of the association with vast amounts of music, great judges, (excellent food,) and the inner workings of a prestigious worldwide competition to enrich themselves and their art.
T he first morning of Barlow judging, I hovered over the two judges whose room I had been assigned to, handing them new scores every few minutes, switching CDs and CD tracks, and setting out the composers’ resumes, just in case the judges were interested. The judges sat at a table, flipping through scores, sometimes rejecting an entry before I had even had time to turn on the accompanying CD. Every now and then, they found something that made them want to hear more, and we would spend a few more minutes skipping through the CD, listening to parts of pieces, before the judges decided to send the entry to the “maybe” or the “yes” pile. The “no” pile grew rapidly, the “yes” pile much more slowly.
We spent the whole first day this way, stopping only for meals, but the day went by very quickly for me. While I quietly kept all the entries organized, I also got to eavesdrop on my judges. One judge was a composer and the other was a performer, so I got two different viewpoints on many entries. The two views often coincided, but together they brought a wider range of considerations for judging than either would have had alone. I learned as much, if not more, from the comments the judges made about the entries they didn’t like as I did from the comments about the entries that got to move on to the final judging round.
The next two days I watched as all the judges got together to pick the final prize winner, and then the winners for General and LDS Commissions. The other interns and I turned on CDs and passed out scores, but mostly we just soaked up all the ideas, complaints, and concerns that the judges were bouncing off of each other. I was always amazed at how quickly the judges were able to make intelligent, informed decisions. I felt that the judges accomplished so much in three short days.
Likewise, in that time, I also learned so much. In the exciting, fast-paced judging atmosphere, I learned to think about many aspects of composing that I hadn’t considered before. By spending time with professional composers and performers, as well as being exposed to all the new music from the submissions to the competition, I felt motivated to continue with my own compositions. Interning for the Barlow Competition has been an enriching and inspiring experience for me, and I am grateful that I had the chance to participate.
I t was a great privilege and honor to be associated with the Barlow Endowment for Composition this summer. I give great credit and appreciation to the Barlow family for their foresight and support of the arts and particularly the commissions of new works of music by great composers. What a wonderful opportunity for so many musicians, performers, and composers, to have this type of support!
My work as an intern for the Barlow Endowment began a few months before the Snowbird retreat. As interns we gathered together and cataloged every entry as it arrived in preparation for the August festivities. What I expected to be a rather tedious, time consuming, boring task, was really one of the most enlightening! I learned so much about how to prepare something for a competition. As I worked alongside the judges, months later, I was reminded of those same impressions, making several mental notes on how to present my work–especially given the short amount of time each entry has. I was pleased to see that the music was given the most attention. Because the music is the main influence upon decisions, it is also imperative that the recording be of the highest quality possible. There were plenty of scores that I am sure would have been more enlightening if it were not for the MIDI attempting to portray what only the human touch possibly can.
I was very impressed with the panel of judges and the honest and equal chance they gave each entry. Despite the varying aesthetics and experience of judges paired together, and even my own personal values and aesthetics for music, it was quite interesting to see how often it was with unanimous consent that pieces were selected as finalists for consideration. I believe this speaks highly of the composers to be able to communicate musically on many different levels.
Another great privilege of this experience was the opportunity to mingle with the judges. With meals and meetings there were plenty of opportunities to learn from these highly qualified musicians. I found each one to be openly willing to help us as students, and even more so as composers who were someday hoping to break into the professional world. Many judges would not even wait to be approached, but took an interest in us, and openly stated things that they look for and what they hoped we would be learning from the experience as well.
Overall, the experience of listening to so much music was also enlightening. It was good to hear what is currently being composed and use it as a measuringstick for my own work and direction in composition. I learned the importance of networking. Not only establishing good relationships with other composers; but performers, conductors, and educators.
Barlow Board of Advisors
[mk_dropcaps style=”fancy-style”]R[/mk_dropcaps]ecent commissions for Daniel E. Gawthrop include anthems for churches in Bridgewater, Virginia and Atlanta, Georgia, as well as a liturgical mass setting for chorus, brass, organ, and congregation for an Episcopal parish in Durham, North Carolina. East Texas Baptist University commissioned and premiered an a cappella choral work called Prayer for Grace in honor of faculty member Jim Moore. A commission from the St. Louis Children’s Choir led to the first premiere of a Gawthrop work in Powell Symphony Hall. A choral festival devoted entirely to Gawthrop works included a brief residency by the composer with the Choral Society of Central Georgia in Macon. Concert organist Rudy Lucente gave the first performance of a Gawthrop work in Verizon Hall in Philadelphia on the large instrument by Dobson Organ Builders.
D escribed as “a major talent and a deep thinker with a great ear” by the American Composers Orchestra, Lansing McLoskey’s music has been performed across the U.S. and in eleven other countries. 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 – SLAM! and Chanson pour cordes – by the Frost Symphony Orchestra at Festival Miami 2007. He also received the Orovitz Award from the University of Miami, where he is an Assisstant Professor.
Current projects include new works for The Ibis Camerata and Dinosaur Annex Ensemble in Boston. Recordings of his music are released on Albany, Wergo Schallplatten, Capstone, and Tantara Records. In 2008, Albany Records released an entire CD devoted to McLoskey’s work. The album, Glisten and Wild Bells includes both of his Barlow commissioned works.
D avid Rakowski Barlow Prize commission, Cantina, was premiered by the US Marine Band at Northern Virginia Community College in March 2007, with performances by the University of Michigan Symphony Band on November 21 and the Meadows Wind Ensemble of SMU on February 20, 2008. His 35-minute Piano Concerto, written for Marilyn Nonken and Boston Modern Orchestra Project and commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation, was premiered in Jordan Hall, Boston, and recorded for CD release on the BMOP Sound label; in January his Sex Songs was premiered by Susan Narucki and Network for New Music as part of the Leonard Bernstein Festival sponsored by the Philadelphia Orchestra. Cantina and an eighth volume of piano études were published by CF Peters.
In June, Etudes Volume 3 was recorded in New York by pianist Amy Briggs for upcoming release on Bridge Records. Additionally, Rakowski spent six weeks at the Civitella Ranieri Foundation in Umbria, Italy, in June and July working on a commission from the Kaufman Center in New York City.
S teven Ricks’ debut solo CD, Mild Violence, was released by Bridge Records in May 2008. It includes three Barlow-commissioned pieces: Boundless Light for flute and electronics; American Dreamscape for chamber ensemble and electronics; and Dividing Time for percussion quartet. The CD has received several favorable reviews, including a five-star (highest) review in the September 2008 issue of BBC Music Magazine.
Additional premieres and performances in 2008 included: Waves/Particles for flute, cello, percussion, and electronics, commissioned by the Canyonlands New Music Ensemble and premiered by them on April 23 in Salt Lake City; Amygdala, commissioned by the Utah Arts Council for clarinetist Jean Kopperud, and premiered by the Kopperud/Gosling duo at the TRANSIT New Music Festival, October 26 in Leuven, Belgium, including several other performances in the US; and Young American Inventions for piano and electronics, performed by pianist Vicki Ray, December 10 at REDCAT in Los Angeles.
Barlow Board of Directors
Stephen M. Jones
Alice Barlow Jones
Scott M. Boyter