2010 Prize Winner
he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University takes pleasure in announcing commission winners for 2010. After reviewing 326 composer applications from 31 countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded Dan Visconti of Arlington, Virginia, the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for piano trio. The judging panel also granted Justin Dello Joio of New York City the distinction of Honorable Mention in this competition.
Mr. Visconti has a graduate composition degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music and took additional studies at the Yale School of Music. His composition teachers include Zhou Long, Margaret Brouwer, Aaron Kernis, and Ezra Laderman. A past recipient of a Barlow Endowment commission, his extensive list of awards, residencies, commissions, and fellowships includes (among many others) the Fromm Foundation at Harvard, Berlin Prize, Meet the Composer, BMI Foundation, American Academy of Arts and Letters, and the Aaron Copland Award.
General and LDS Commission RecipientsA
fter considering 177 applications in our General and LDS commissioning programs, the Endowment granted $55,000 to nine composers who will write works for the following ensembles and musicians:
N ow in its 28th year of operations, the Barlow Endowment enjoys a worldwide reputation as one of the premier sources of funding for composers who create new art music. In the last decade alone, the Endowment has awarded over $130,000 to ten Barlow Prize Winners, each of whom survived formidable competition in our flagship commissioning program. Barlow Prize Awards have ranged from $10,000-$20,000. Composers have written new works for choir, orchestra, band, string quartet, and other chamber ensembles. The wide variety of ensembles with which the Endowment partners not only for the Barlow Prize but for all our commissioning programs, represents one of our greatest assets. Global interest in the Barlow Prize continues to expand, and the stature of this award has exceeded original expectations. Hundreds of composers continue to enter this prestigious annual international competition. Since 2001, over 3,000 composers have submitted materials for the Barlow Prize, representing dozens of countries from every continent. We typically process an average of 320 applications each year.
As an agency that awards the creation of new compositions, the Endowment may stand alone in this respect: we only award composers for works not yet written with the guaranteed promise of performance. In the case of the Barlow Prize, we arrange for multiple premieres. This “multiple premiere” concept adds weight to the unveiling of a major new work, and launches it in a broader manner than the usual single performance typical of so many new works. For our General and LDS commissioning programs, a fundamental part of the application requires composers to provide documentation from artists and ensembles promising to support and premiere the work. These two ingredients, the creation of new music with a guaranteed performance, combine to form the backbone of the Endowment’s raison d’etre.
In addition to funding composers, the Barlow Endowment’s Education Grants program supports and nurtures composition students at Brigham Young University’s School of Music. Besides scholarships and exposure to the world of modern music, we support an internship program that allows selected students to participate at important annual meetings and judging sessions each summer.
Finally, without the support of Brigham Young University or the hard work of dedicated staff, advisors, directors, and the Barlow family, the Endowment’s successes simply would not happen.
A large share of the Barlow Education Grant goes towards direct student support by way of scholarships, assistantships, internships, travel awards, fee support for festivals and performances, and support for guest artists that work directly with students.
The BYU composition area admitted five new masters students that started the program in Fall 2010, and Barlow funds allowed us to offer each of them half tuition scholarships as they began their studies. Barlow funds also supported several assistantships that allowed our students to help teach and administer some of our core theory and composition classes, including Composition 1 (Music 188), Form and Analysis (Music 395), and Orchestration 1 (Music 481). This sort of teaching experience is helpful to their personal musical development and also provides them with professional experience that will help them when they apply to graduate school or university teaching positions.
August 2010 marked the sixth year BYU student interns have assisted with the annual Barlow Prize and Commissions judging. Four of our students—Hayley Weight, Mark Witmer, Curtis Smith, and Zach Van Houten—helped prepare the applicants’ files by coordinating hundreds of scores, recordings, and other materials that would be used in the judging process. They attended the judging, which included several days of reviewing scores and judging by the Barlow Board of Advisors and guest judges. Students not only observed the judging process first hand while assisting in the various rooms, but also had several opportunities to interact directly with these professional composers and performers during meals and breaks. The Barlow Internship program has been a great boost to our program and we look forward to its continuation.
In connection with Laycock Center funding and the School of Music’s Oscarson Lecture Series, Barlow funds supported the residency of LaDonna Smith, a prominent composer and performer in the experimental/improvisational world. Smith presented an evening concert that included performances on violin and viola with faculty artist Christian Asplund and the student ensemble Group for Experimental Music (GEM). Smith worked closely with GEM in advance of the concert, presented a lecture to the composition seminar, and also presented the School of Music Oscarson Lecture for the month of February.
Barlow Funds continue to support worthy faculty projects and activities as a way of increasing the profile and reputation of our area and as a means to ensure our faculty are in the best position to instruct the students in current trends and practices. Dr. Neil Thornock has received support, along with grants from the College of Fine Arts and Communications, for a forthcoming CD of music for saxophones that will be released by PARMA Records in 2011. Dr. Christian Asplund, a noted improviser, received support to perform his own music at several venues in Amsterdam during summer 2010, including a performance on the Karnatic Lab Concert Series with BYU composer Steven Ricks. In his vein, the composition faculty improvisation trio (ART trio) – Christian Asplund, Steven Ricks, and Neil Thornock – received support to perform at the International Society of Improvised Music (ISIM) Conference at the University of Michigan’s Rackham School of Music in December 2010.
On a larger scale, for the final three years ongoing, we combined our funds with other sources to send Stephan Lindeman to the BMI Jazz Composers Workshop for advanced training and workshopping of his jazz compositions (available on the latest CD by Q’d Up 3 [Tantara 77941]). Partly as a result of his BMI work, Lindeman won a large ensemble commission for the Utah Arts Festival in summer 2009 and has been invited to the American Composers Orchestra/Center for Jazz Studies at Columbia University’s Jazz Composers Orchestra Institute in summer 2010.
Even amid recessionary times, it has been a rich year for the Barlow Education Grant. We greatly appreciate the opportunities this Endowment provides.
B eing a Barlow intern this summer was a great experience on many levels. The first thing that happened during the short time assisting with the endowment was a creative recharge. All summer I had been working and traveling and my composing had really taken a hit. I felt drained and not at all ready to head into a new school year. Each day that I worked as an intern I felt a surge of ideas and optimism about composing. It was the perfect boost.
Along with coming away charged up, I gleaned valuable insight into composing music in the 21st century. I saw music that was weak and lacked the forward motion of a strong idea. I saw music that was “square” and predictable. I also saw music that was fresh and convincingly entertaining and composers I will follow up on and learn from. As I watched all this music pass through the judges’ hands I reflected on my composing and saw some areas for improvement.
As an intern I also learned the practical necessities of entering competitions. Things like the necessity of a neat score, real performance (not midi), track titles on the CD case as well as the CD, etc. were deeply engrained after a hundred or so applicants. I will keep all of this in mind as I enter my works into competitions in the future.
It was a great experience and a real privilege to help with such a large competition. Working with the composers, performers, and my peers was inspiring. I left this experience with lots of energy and excitement. Thank you for the opportunity.
W hen I first was given the opportunity to be an intern for the Barlow Endowment, I didn’t quite know what to expect. When they explained that we would do typical intern things such as data entry, filing, and catering to the judges’ needs, I remember thinking that this wouldn’t be exactly the most fun and exciting thing. However, this internship was far more than these typical intern duties.
The filing of applications was actually quite enjoyable. I was surprised to see so many big names, names of composers that I have studied and to whom I look for inspiration. In addition to these, there were so many applications from outside the United States. This is when I began realizing how special this endowment really is.
The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition is a first-class competition. This was my first thought as we began the judging of the pieces early August. The judges are top-notch and their judging is fair and very professional. Being present for the judging was an exciting and revealing experience. There was an energy that was felt throughout the entire process and the judging never became boring or monotonous. The competition was tough and intense, and in the end, I believe that we really did find the most deserving person for the prize.
This internship was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that I could not find anywhere else. I learned not only how to properly enter a competition, but also how to be competitive. Hearing the comments from the judges was pure gold and I absorbed as much of what was going on as I could. I feel so much more prepared and able to compete.
Though there can only be one winner every year for the prize and a few commissions handed out, I learned that the remaining applications do not go unnoticed. Some of the judges happened to be performers and were interested in a lot of pieces that came along. They took note with intentions of getting in touch with the composers to purchase their piece or to even commission them separately with other funds they have or know of. It can never hurt to simply apply.
I am so appreciative of this opportunity. It has been a priceless experience that I am positive will have a huge impact on my life and my future in music.
P articipating as an intern with the Barlow Endowment opened my eyes to the some of the opportunities available in the world of composition. I will always be very grateful for the experiences I have had as a Barlow intern.
As I started organizing applications on my first day as an intern, I was amazed at the diversity of the applications. So many composers from many different countries and backgrounds submitted applications. I was intrigued and excited to hear these new compositions, but I was also curious to see how each composition would measure up in the final round of judging.
The first morning of judging was an enlightening experience. I loved listening to each piece and then hearing great musicians and composers share their comments about the piece. I heard many great pieces of music, and the many different backgrounds that I saw in the applications showed through in the diversity of the music. It was one of the best experiences I have had as a student to be able to hear great music and then listen to the judges talk about things that a composer did well and things that they could have changed to make their pieces better. I learned a lot of new things that will help me to improve my own music.
It was also a great experience to get to know the composers and musicians that were there. I loved being in the same room with so many great minds. As I listened to them discuss each piece, I learned about the value of having different perspectives. Each judge brought their own perspective to the table and sometimes had very different ideas about the music. I learned something new about music from every person that was there.
This experience motivated me, taught me and gave me a great appreciation of the people I was honored to associate with during my time spent as an intern. I would like to thank the Barlow Endowment so much for this opportunity.
M y time as an intern for the Barlow Endowment was enormously helpful for me as a student and composer. I was able to interact personally with the experienced composers and performers who participated in the competition as judges and I also had the privilege of studying musical submissions from composers around the world. The study of music often takes on a rather historical flavor. Consequently, this detailed exposure to the contemporary scene was invaluable. In particular, I appreciated the personal attention and advice I received from many of the judges. It is gratifying to feel the sense of community that exists in the world of new music. The support that comes from this is very helpful as we all seek to enrich the lives of others with our music.
Barlow Board of Advisors
T odd Coleman is the academic coordinator of the Music Technology program at Elon University in North Carolina and was recently granted tenure and promoted to associate professor. Much of Coleman’s work since joining the Elon faculty in late 2007 has focused on creating the new curriculum and facilities, and providing a strong artistic, musical, and technical foundation for the new degree program and nurture its continued growth. Coleman’s recent composition activities span a wide range of styles and genres including a 20-minute flute concerto for April Clayton commissioned by the Barlow Endowment due to be released on the Tantara record label, a 13-minute work for wind ensemble commissioned by thirteen universities, a theme song written for Elon University’s current $100 million fundraising campaign called Ever Elon, and co-writing songs in popular/commercial genres with his students. His current composition project is a large interdisciplinary/transmedia art work for chorus, amplified cello, three-screen video projection and surround sound entitled Three Scenes in Jerusalem, which deals with glimpses into the final dramatic moments of the mortal life of Christ in Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Garden Tomb.
[mk_dropcaps style=”fancy-style”]S[/mk_dropcaps]tacy Garrop’s recent premieres include The Lovely Sirens and The Fates of Man, (the third and fourth movements of her Mythology Symphony), commissioned by the Albany Symphony Orchestra as part of her 2009/2010 residence with the Symphony. She also premiered a piece entitled Frammenti, which was co-commissioned for the Rembrandt Chamber Players, Chesapeake Chamber Music Festival, and Arizona State University faculty performers. Other recent performances of her work have been given by the Biava Quartet, Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble, Lincoln Trio, University of Chicago New Music Ensemble, Chicago a Cappella, South Bend Chamber Singers, and Volti.
Stacy’s Sonnets of Beauty and Music was recorded by Volti and commercially released in 2010 on Innova Records on their CD entitled “Turn the Page”. Also this year, Ravello Records released Amy Briggs’ “Tangos for Piano” that included Stacy’s Teeny Tango. Cedille Records will release two recordings in 2011 containing Stacy’s works. In February, they released “In Eleanor’s Words: In Stacy’s Notes: Music of Stacy Garrop,” which contains her String Quartet No. 3: Gaia, Silver Dagger, and In Eleanor’s Words with performances by the Biava Quartet, Lincoln Trio, mezzo-soprano Buffy Baggott, and pianist Kuang-Hao Huang. The second CD, to be released in the spring, is titled “Notable Women: Music by Today’s Female Composers” and will feature the Lincoln Trio’s recording of her piece SEVEN.
D avid Rakowski was the Maurice Abravanel Visiting Distinguished Composer at the University of Utah in April, and was a visiting distinguished composer at the Eastman School of Music shortly thereafter. He finished his monumental set of 100 piano études, several of which were premiered at the Bang on a Can Summer Festival and the Ohio Music Teachers Association conference in Cleveland. Premiered pieces included AhChim AnGae for Korean fiddle and string trio (Pacific Rim Festival), Double Fantasy for piano trio (Finisterra Trio, New York City), Étude-Fantasies (various children’s duos, California Music Teachers Association conference, LA), Cell’Out (4 ‘cellos, Music From Salem, New York) and Current Conditions, which was commissioned by the US Marine Chamber Orchestra for a children’s concert. Phillis Levin Songs had its New York premiere with soprano Judith Bettina and the New York New Music Ensemble. In the fall, Rakowski was resident at Yaddo and at the MacDowell Colony. Three doctoral dissertations on his piano études were defended in 2010.
S teven Ricks has had an active and successful year as a composer. After directing the BYU Paris Study Abroad Program in January – April, a BYU Kennedy Center Research Grant allowed him to pursue composition projects in Belfast and Amsterdam. In Belfast he had a brief residency at the Sonic Arts Research Centre (SARC) at Queen’s University, which included an evening concert of his music and the music of BYU Alumnus John Moeller as part of the SONORITIES festival. Activities in Amsterdam included a performance at the Karnatic Lab concert series with Christian Asplund and Lara Candland, and rehearsals and initial plans with the quartet Hexnut for an upcoming commission scheduled for premiere in May 2011. Towards the end of the year he worked on two commissioned works due for premieres in 2011: Medusa in Fragments for pianist Keith Kirchoff, plus video and surround sound; and Piece for Mixed Quartet for the NOVA Chamber Music Series. In December 2010 Ricks received notification that he was the recipient of a 2010 Fromm Music Foundation Commission, to write a new work for the Talujon Percussion Quartet.
T his year two recordings of Ethan Wickman’s music were released. Angles of Repose was recorded by the Zeitgeist New Music Ensemble on Innova, and Namasté for String Quartet (a Barlow-commissioned work) was recorded by the Avalon String Quartet by Albany records. In the coming year, Wickman’s piano music, as performed by Nicholas Phillips, will be the exclusive content of another CD released by Albany records. Other current projects include works to be recorded by violinist Scott Conklin and Euphoniumist Steven Mead. As winner of the 2011 Chamber Music Commission from the Utah Arts Festival, a new work will be composed for the 2011 festival. Wickman also received recognition as a nominee for the Orpheus 440 Project, in addition to being long-listed for a Grammy nomination in the “Best Contemporary Classical Composition Category” for Angles of Repose.
Barlow Board of Directors
Stephen M. Jones
Alice Barlow Jones
Scott M. Boyter