2014 Prize Winner
he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University proudly announces commission winners for 2014. After reviewing 280 composer applications from several countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded Ben Hjertmann of Chicago, Illinois, the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for saxophone quartet. The Barlow Endowment’s performing consortium consisted of PRISM, Zzyzx and the United States Air Force Band Saxophone Quartet. The panel also granted Steven Bryant of Durham, North Carolina the distinction of Honorable Mention in this competition.
Dr. Hjertmann has a DMA from Northwestern University where he graduated in 2013 with Program Honors. He recently taught composition, theory, music technology, and songwriting at Northwestern. From his website: “His music has been featured at Fast Forward Austin, Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinics, the conference of the College Band Directors National Association, and the South by Southwest Non Classical showcase. Hjertmann has been a resident artist at 360 XOCHI QUETZAL, the MacDowell Colony, the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, and the Shell Lake Arts Center. He was a 2013 fellow at the Bang on a Can Summer Music Institute, and a 2011 fellow at the Other Minds Festival.”
General and LDS Commission Recipients
fter considering nearly 100 applications in our General and LDS commissioning programs, the Endowment granted $62,000 to ten composers who will write works for the following ensembles and musicians:
Click on an image for more information regarding premieres and performances of pieces written by Barlow recipients.
A fter 15 years as Executive Director of the Barlow Endowment, the time has come for me to step down–a move that coincides with my retirement as Professor of Music at Brigham Young University. My time with the Endowment has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Personal relationships with composers and musicians from around the world have enriched my musical life in ways I never dreamed.
It is my pleasure to announce that ETHAN WICKMAN will become the new Barlow Endowment’s Executive Director. As required by the Endowment’s Charter, Brigham Young University’s President Kevin Worthen appointed Ethan to this post in November.
Wickman holds a DMA in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, an MM from Boston University, and BM from Brigham Young University. According to the biography on his website, he is described as a “composer of facility and imagination, the kind to whom both performers and audiences respond” (The New York Times), composer Ethan Wickman’s (b. 1973) music has been performed by soloists and ensembles in venues in the U.S. and around the world. He has received grants and commissions from the Barlow Endowment, Meet the Composer, the American Composers Forum, the Wisconsin Music Teachers Association, the Utah Arts Festival, and Chicago’s Music In The Loft, where he is the 2014-15 Composer-In-Residence. He was awarded the Jacob Druckman prize for his orchestral work “Night Prayers Ascending” at the Aspen Music Festival; the Harvey Phillips Award for his work “Summit” from the International Tuba Euphonium Association; first place in the Utah Arts Festival Chamber Commission Competition; and was a finalist in the 25th annual ASCAP Rudolf Nissim Orchestral Composition Competition.”
Ethan’s five years as a member of the Endowment’s Board of Advisors (2009-2013), an additional year as a guest judge (2014), his two commissions from the Endowment, and his close association with BYU make him exceedingly qualified to assume the Executive Directorship of the Barlow Endowment.
I hope you will all join me in giving Ethan your enthusiastic support.
A large share of the Education Grant funds always go towards direct student support, by way of scholarships, assistantships, internships, travel awards and fee support for festivals and performances, and support for guest composers and performers who work directly with students.
Established in 2011, the Milton A. Barlow Scholarship and the Barlow Student Composition Award are ongoing scholarships and awards presented to the most outstanding composition student(s) in our program. The Milton A. Barlow Scholarship is a one-year, full tuition scholarship, and the Barlow Student Composition Award is a $500 cash award that carries with it a commission to write a new piece for one of BYU’s premiere large ensembles.
These two named awards have added prestige and visibility to the composition area, and we look forward to the continued success of the recipients and the recognition these awards bring the Endowment.
The recipient of the 2014 Milton A. Barlow Scholarship and the 2014 Barlow Student Composition Award is Dylan Findley, a current senior majoring in music composition who also plays clarinet. Dylan has been a model citizen in our area, performing for several semesters in the Group for Experimental music and in several composition recitals in support of his fellow composers. He has been an excellent student and his music has continued to evolve in impressive ways. The scholarship provided him with some additional support as he finished up his senior year. As recipient of the Barlow Student Composition Award he was commissioned to write a new work for the BYU Wind Symphony, and his completed work, Beyond, was premiered on April 9, 2015, in the de Jong Concert Hall under the direction of Dr. Don Peterson. Dylan has been a member of the ensemble for the past two years, which no doubt had an impact on his ability to create a beautifully-scored and emotional work. Dylan successfully completed his BM in Music Composition and will go on to pursue an MM in Music Composition at the University of Miami, where he received a competitive scholarship and teaching assistantship.
August 2014 marked the tenth year BYU student interns have assisted with the annual Barlow summit and Barlow Prize and Commissions judging. Four of our students—Dylan Findley, Scott Gibson, Christopher Morrison, and Nathan Thatcher—helped prepare the applicants’ files, coordinating hundreds of scores, recordings, and other materials that would be used in the judging process. They then attended the summit, 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.
Barlow funds support performances and residencies by guest performers every year—something that provides important exposure to our students and that also often allows our students to work closely with performers in workshops and reading sessions. We were pleased to host the New York Piano Trio again this year in November, which includes three accomplished performers: Curtis Macomber on violin, Stephen Gosling on piano, and Chris Finckel on cello. While they were here they rehearsed and recorded new works that were written specifically for their visit by seven of our student composers. The students completed the pieces prior to the group’s visit, and then each had nearly 30 minutes to work with the group in the Madsen Recital Hall at BYU. Each focused segment on an individual student’s work allowed the student to ask and answer questions about the piece, receive feedback from the performers on their work, and give any specialized input to the performers directly. The group then presented a run-through of the piece from start to finish to provide the students with a fairly polished reading of their work. Each composer’s session with the trio was recorded so the students could listen to the feedback again and also use the recording of their piece to get additional feedback and to use with their portfolio when applying to graduate school or for awards.
The NY Piano Trio also presented an impressive evening concert that included works by Mauricio Kagel and Charles Ives—important contemporary composers whose works we seldom hear.
Barlow Education Grant funds continue to provide needed and valuable support for our composition courses, providing honoraria for student performers that workshop and perform pieces by developing student composers. The practical training our composition students receive from these performances is a key part of their success in our program and in their consistent acceptance into competitive graduate programs.
Barlow funds also helped support Utah percussionist Glenn Webb and members of the NOVA Chamber Music Series present contemporary works on campus. These performances have been important educational experiences for our students and also help to build our community of composers.
Barlow funds covered travel and lodging expenses and honoraria for distinguished composer and Artistic Director of the influential Other Minds Festival, Charles Amirkhanian. He presented a School of Music lecture and then a Barlow Lecture to the composition students and faculty during his visit to campus in October. He also performed two of his pieces in a Group for New Music concert in the Madsen Recital Hall during his visi
Barlow funds often provide travel support and cover ticket expenses for performances that students attend off campus. For example, in September faculty member Christian Asplund accompanied three composition students to a concert and lectures by veteran avant-garde improviser Anthony Braxton in Los Angeles. They were able to talk with Braxton after one of the concerts and have a meaningful discussion about how spirituality has played a role in his work. These sorts of direct interactions with prominent artists are essential for our students and we appreciate the support Barlow provides for them.
Barlow funds are also used to support worthy faculty projects and activities, both 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.
This year funds helped cover production costs for the release of two BYU faculty CD’s: Michael Hicks’s CD Felt Hammers: The Complete Solo Piano Music, 1982-2010, performed by Keith Kirchoff (released by Tantara Records); and Neil Thornock’s CD Between the Lines, which is an ambitious collection of percussion music performed by Matthew Coley (released by New Focus Recordings).
Funds also supported travel and lodging for a residency by Neil Thornock and Christian Asplund at BYU-Idaho, which included a joint recital and private lessons with the four composition students currently studying under Darrell Brown, a graduate of our program. This proved to be a valuable recruiting trip because all four of these students, actually very talented composers, applied to our graduate program.
T he Barlow Endowment Internship provided me with a unique opportunity to learn from professional musicians in a real-world environment. I did not understand the judging process until I had the opportunity to facilitate over seventy submissions for the Barlow Prize and find that these seasoned composers only found five distinguished scores. I was shocked to see several composers that were well-renowned for their artistry submit music that–while good–lacked representation of the commissioned ensemble. I quickly learned what makes a composition outstanding from this experience, and I discovered that the judges were deeply invested in promoting new music through this endowment.
Nevertheless, the greatest blessing came from my interaction with the judges. Stacey Garrop gave insight into music business and answered my questions about freelance composing in Chicago area. She also told us about a summer program called Fresh Inc that prepares composers to be entrepreneurs, and I may attend the program next year. However, I had the opportunity to work with Todd Coleman the most, who had a lot of great advice in choosing a graduate school in order to be prepared for long-term goals. It is rare to hear about the career end of music composition when the typical university curriculum is academically based, so I am grateful for their generosity to listen to and answer my questions.
Overall, I heard inspiring music from diverse sources and received hands-on experience in what makes a composition competitive and attractive in the professional world. I am grateful for the Barlow family in sponsoring this great endowment, and for Thomas Durham, Stephen Jones and Rebecca Ott for their allowance of interns for the judging of the competition. I hope to apply what I learned in the upcoming year as I enter competitions and prepare myself for the future.
B eing a Barlow Intern for a second year was a great experience. I knew what to expect so I was able to focus more on what I could learn from the music and how it was received by the judges.
As a saxophone player, this year’s focus on saxophone quartet was particularly interesting to me. I have played in saxophone quartets for years and was curious to see what people were doing with the medium. I was amazed at the variety of music that we heard. It was interesting that so much could come out of a very small ensemble. I was impressed at how imaginative many of the compositions were.
Similar to last year, I feel that I learned a great deal from the judges. They were all very friendly and professional and happy to give advice on everything from applying to graduate schools to making a living as a composer. They all had great experience that I was able to benefit from, and it helped give me an idea about what I might want to do in the future. Hearing their discussions during the competition was very instructive. It gave me new ideas about how to look at my own music and how I could improve it. I believe I will be a better composer because of this experience.
I very much enjoyed being a part of this again. I’m very grateful to everyone who was involved: especially the Barlow family for supporting a program that gives so many great opportunities to so many people.
B eing a Barlow intern was an amazing opportunity since we were working in the same rooms as the judges and got to hear not only the same snippets of pieces they were hearing, but also their dialogue with each other. Through their conversation and reactions to pieces the judges taught me what works in competitions and what does not. I feel that should I enter a piece into the Barlow or another competition I will have a leg up due to this experience.
In the plenary sessions, when the judges took on the difficult task of choosing a (some) winner(s), I was delighted by their civility and collegial attitude toward one another. They handled disagreements with courtesy, mutual respect and curiosity toward each other’s viewpoints; I felt enlightened and privileged to be witnessing this special process. These sessions also shed more light for me on what makes a successful competition piece. However, I also saw how diverse modern art music is and how many different styles can be viable for a competition.
Working with three other interns, all music composition students at BYU, yielded interesting conversations at mealtimes and between sessions. Some of these conversations helped me better define my own artistic goals and feel out new paths and I am grateful that I got to work as a team with these talented composers. Another thing worth mentioning is the meeting we interns had with Stacy Garrop, one of the competition judges, about the fresh inc. festival she started. This two-week summer program is designed to help composers with the business aspects of their careers and it is something I am considering doing in the future.
The Barlow internship was a highlight of my summer. What I learned far exceeded my expectations and I also had fun! I’m very grateful for the Barlow family’s support of new music and especially their support of the intern program of the Barlow Competition. I had an invaluable experience that I will not forget.
I t’s not often you get a chance to peek behind the curtain at a prestigious contest such as Barlow. My glimpse did not disappoint. Having not only learned much about the process for selection of winning entries but also rubbing shoulders with the incredibly talented and dedicated men and women who served as judges, I came away with a new perspective. I feel much more equipped not only to apply successfully to similar contests, but also to be a more perceptive judge of my own writing. It was most fascinating to hear the discussions that took place in evaluating each application. The judges were discerning and skilled and associating with them gave me excellent models to follow. It was incredibly helpful to hear them articulate how the concepts and abstract ideas such as musical form and language that I have learned in classes apply to real new works. I was also interested in the varied opinions represented by the judges and how they managed to come to consensus in spite of their individual ideas.
Coming away from this time at the Barlow Endowment, I want to change how I approach the writing of music and have gained greater insight into how to do so with skill and how to pursue a career with wisdom. I am grateful for the generous support of the Barlow family which made it possible for me to glimpse behind this curtain.
Witnessing firsthand the realities of the compositional world and discussing them with professionals has educated me in ways that would not be possible otherwise and set me up for future professional successes.
Barlow Board of Advisors
C anadian-American composer-performer Christian Asplund’s interests include intersections of text and music, improvisation and composition, and modular textures and forms. He has received awards from the Genesis Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, Artistrust, King County, ASCAP, the Alpert Foundation, and the Jack Straw Foundation. His teachers have included Thea Musgrave, Alvin Curran, Michael Hicks, David Sargent, Joel Durand, and John Rahn. He has performed with Stuart Dempster, Malcolm Goldstein, Christian Wolff, and John Butcher. His music appears on Present Sounds, Tzadik, Sparkling Beatnik, and other labels; his compositions have been performed and broadcast in many locations including Europe, North America, and Australia. His scores are published by Frog Peak Music. He has written books and articles for Perspectives of New Music (University of Washington Press) and American Music (University of Illinois Press). His most recent project was three marathon performances on piano of the complete works of Thelonious Monk in Utah, Washington, and New York. Words used by the press to describe his music include: passion, panoramic power, pure pointillist, plaintive, painstaking, rhythmically toothy, rocking, remarkable, rollicking, searing, subdued, soothing, submersive, splendid, unique, ethereal, mesmerizing, mind-blowing, otherworldly, absorbing, intelligent, idiosyncratic, distinctive, captivating, and bewitching. He lives in Provo, Utah, where he teaches at Brigham Young University.
T odd Coleman is the coordinator of the Music Production and Recording Arts Program at Elon University. In the five years since the new degree program’s launch, the number of majors has grown from two to more than forty. Coleman’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra, commissioned by the Barlow Endowment and premiered by April Clayton and the BYU Chamber Orchestra, was released by the Tantara label last year. At Elon University Coleman arranged, engineered, and produced a new song by Charlotte Smith to launch a campaign against racial intolerance. He was also commissioned by the university to compose a new 12-minute work for orchestra, large chorus, and rhythm section, to premiere at a special President’s Gala in the spring of 2013. The new work, titled Invarietate Concordia (Many and One), is a celebration of the rich diversity of the peoples of the earth and an ode to shared ambitions and universal brotherhood. Coleman was also commissioned by the Ciompi Quartet to write a piece for string quartet and organ, with a premiere in October 2013.
S tacy Garrop is an Associate Professor of Composition at Roosevelt University, and serves on the composition faculty of Fresh Inc Festival, a two-week summer program for composers and musicians that prepares students for the business side of having a music career. Her recent premieres include Give Me Hunger, commissioned for Chanticleer’s 2013/14 “She Said/He Said” touring program; Jarba, Mare Jarba, commissioned for Chanticleer’s 2014/15 “The Gypsy in My Soul” touring program; Terra Nostra: An Oratorio, commissioned by the San Francisco Choral Society and Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choirs; and Sanctuary, commissioned on behalf of the Lincoln Trio. Other recent performances of her works have been given by the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra and Columbus Symphony; by the ensembles Avalon Quartet, Capitol Saxophone Quartet, New Clay Saxophone Quartet, Fifth House Ensemble, Chicago Chamber Musicians, and Voices of Change; and by the choirs Chicago a cappella, Clerestory, National Youth Choir of Scotland, San Francisco Bay Area Chamber Choir, Young Women’s Chorus of San Francisco, and Volti. Her choral piece Give Me Hunger was recorded and commercially released on Chanticleer’s CLIC label; her saxophone and piano work Fragmented Spirit was recorded by the Australian HD Duo and commercially released on The Classics Labels. Stacy is currently working with Cedille Records on two projects for release in 2015, one of which will feature the Chicago College of Performing Arts Orchestra of Roosevelt University as they record an all-Garrop orchestra CD.
J ames Mobberley serves as Curators’ Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). Recent highlights include performances in China (2014 Musicacoustica Festival Beijing and a dance collaboration at the Tianjin Conservatory), the Thailand International Composition Festival, the Ecole Normale in Paris, and Vienna. Other events in 2014 include Guest Artist residencies at Western Michigan University, the Cleveland Institute of Music, and at the Summer Composition Workshop in Kansas City. Recent premieres include a solo work for Italian Flutist Luisa Sello, and an upcoming premiere of a solo work for alto saxophone for Zach Shemon, of the PRISM Quartet. Current projects include a new work for members of the American Modern Ensemble, and a new orchestration of a vocal/piano work for chamber ensemble to be premiered at New Music on the Point in June 2015. Retrospectively: honors include the Rome Prize, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and awards from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Civitella Ranieri Center, the Van Cliburn Composers Invitational, and the Charlotte Street Foundation. Commissions have come from the Koussevitzky Foundation, the Fromm Foundation, the Barlow Endowment, Chamber Music America, the St. Louis Symphony, the Kansas City Symphony, Meet the Composer, Music From China, and the Cleveland Chamber Symphony. He has appeared as Guest Composer with the Taiwan National Symphony, the American Composers Orchestra, the Composers Forum at Wellesley College, and 50+ venues around the world. He lives in Liberty, Missouri with his wife Laura (a writer), and sons Lucas and Jake.
L eilei Tian is a Chinese composer living in Paris, France. She is prize-winner of several international competitions such as Besançon Composition Competition for orchestra in France; Contemporary Music Contest “Citta’ di Udine” in Italy; Composition Competition of GRAME in Lyon; Gaudeamus Competition in Amsterdam; and ISCM Cash Young Composer’s Award. She was also awarded the “Rome Prize” by the Academy of France. Her recent works include “Il tunnel dell’Amore ” for chamber ensemble, commissioned by Ensemble Erik Satie of Paris, “Let us create man” for saxophone and piano duo commissioned by French saxophonist Claude Delangle, and “Intimations of Immortality” for mixed choir, commissioned by BYU for BYU Singers. Last year, her works were performed at Festivals such as Varmusik Festival in Gothenburg (Sweden), TPMC in Paris, International Saxophone Festival in Xi An (China), Örebro Live Festival (Sweden) and Festival au Teatre D’Annunzio di Latina (Italy). Her piece “La Caverne des idées” was released on CD by Stockholm Saxophone Quartet in May 2014. Her article “Les éléments culturels et philosophiques dans mon langage musical” was published in the book “Fusion du temps” by Edition Delatour France. She also served as a member of committee of selection (French section) for ISCM World Music Days 2015.
Barlow Board of Directors
Stephen M. Jones
Alice Barlow Jones
Scott M. Boyter