2015 Prize Winner
he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University proudly announces commission winners for 2015. After reviewing 317 submissions from 29 countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded Alberto Colla of Alessandria, Italy, the $20,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for symphony orchestra. The piece will be premiered by the San Antonio and Utah symphonies and by an orchestra from the Beijing Modern Music Festival in 2017.
The panel also granted Jimmy Lopez, of Lima, Peru, the distinction of Honorable Mention.
Mr. Colla graduated in composition, piano, choral music and choir conducting at the Alessandria Conservatory. He studied with Azio Corghi at the Accademia Petrassi in Parma and at the Accademia Internazionale Santa Cecilia in Rome. A composer of several major works, his music has been performed by the Chicago Symphony, the Estonian National Symphony, the Albany Symphony and many others. He teaches composition at the Conservatorio L. Canepa in Sassari, Sardinia.
Dr. Lopez graduated with a Ph.D. in composition from the University of California at Berkeley where he studied with Edmund Campion. He previously studied at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and the National Conservatory of Music in Lima, Peru. The winner of numerous prizes, his music has been performed by the symphonies of Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Chicago, and Seattle, among many others.
General and LDS Commission Recipients
fter considering nearly 150 applications in our General and LDS commissioning programs, the Endowment granted $65,000 to twelve composers who will write works for the following ensembles and musicians:
T his past year was a momentous one for the Barlow Endowment. After fifteen years at the helm as Executive Director, Tom Durham stepped down from his position in conjunction with his retirement from Brigham Young University. Tom worked hard to build relationships with outstanding performers and composers of new music, and also brought a singular blend of professionalism, humor, and vision to the Endowment. We will continue to miss him and wish him a happy and productive life beyond faculty meetings, advisory boards, and classrooms. We also bid farewell to Todd Coleman, who completed his five year appointment as a member of Barlow’s Board of Advisors. Todd’s gifts as a composer, administrator, and colleague always lent a valued perspective in discussion and deliberation.
While 2015 was a year of some departures, it also brought the appointment of Daniel Bradshaw to the Board of Advisors. Daniel is an award-winning composer currently serving as chair of the Music and Visual Arts Department at Brigham Young University-Hawaii. With a DMA from Indiana University, Dan is a previous Barlow commission winner whose music has been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera singer Ariel Bybee, Chicago Symphony violinist Alison Dalton, and many others. We look forward to Dan’s contribution in the coming years.
Finally, in my first year as Executive Director, I have done my best to reach out to those who share a vision of the Barlow Endowment’s mission to support the creation of great new music. I look forward to working with our Board of Directors, our Board of Advisors, and composers around the world to ensure the Endowment can continue to benefit the art form to which we are all deeply committed.
Ethan Wickman holds a DMA in composition from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Music at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
A large share of the Education Grant funds go towards direct student support by way of scholarships, assistantships, internships, and travel awards and fee support for festivals and performances. Funds also provide 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 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 to the recognition these awards bring to the Endowment.
The recipient of the 2015 Milton A. Barlow Scholarship and the 2015 Barlow Student Composition Award was David Jones, a first-year master’s student in music composition. David was an impressive applicant who has already developed a strong personal style and compositional technique. He had already written some shorter works for various large ensembles, so he was a good candidate for both the award and the scholarship, which provided him with a strong incentive to attend BYU.
As recipient of the Barlow Student Composition Award, he was commissioned to write a new work for the BYU Chamber Orchestra. His completed work, Aspen, was premiered on March 31, 2016, in the de Jong Concert Hall under the direction of Kory Katseanes, who commented about David’s piece:
It was a pleasure for everyone in the orchestra. I could tell from the start that the orchestra loved playing David’s piece. It is just a terrific piece and it was always fun to rehearse. It has great balance and pace, with something for everyone that challenges and at the same time rewards. That’s no small feat; there are many new pieces that challenge, but don’t quite give back in equal measure. But David found the right balance. When a piece is really good, during the performance it seems to be easier and better than it ever felt in rehearsal. It sort of emerges out of its rehearsal shell and becomes a new piece. Only really good pieces do that, and David’s piece did. During the rehearsals I always thought it was a good piece, then during the performance I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this really IS a good piece.’ It was fun to experience that.
August 2015 marked the 11th year BYU student interns have assisted with the annual Barlow summit and Barlow Prize and commissions judging. The Barlow Internship opportunity has been a great boost to the program and we look forward to its continuation.
Four of our students—Joachim Austin, Tyler Lee Gardner, Erik Maloy, and Christopher Morrison—helped prepare for the annual summit by coordinating hundreds of scores, recordings, and other materials that would be used in the judging process. They 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 firsthand while assisting in the various rooms, but also had several opportunities to interact directly with these professional composers and performers.
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. As such, we were pleased to host the Lydian String Quartet for a short time in November. The Lydians are an accomplished ensemble in residence at Brandeis University who have years of experience with new music, and who were one of the consortium members for the 2008 Barlow Prize. They presented an evening concert that featured an exciting program of three works written specifically for them by composers Lee Hyla, Harold Meltzer, and Kurt Rohde. The group also rehearsed and recorded new works written by nine of our composition students specifically for their visit. The students completed the pieces prior to the group’s visit, and then each had nearly 30 minutes to work with the Lydians in Studio Y. Each composer’s session with the Lydians was recorded so the students could listen to the feedback, give specialized input to the performers, use the recording of their piece to get additional feedback, and include it with their portfolio when applying to graduate school or for awards.
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 covered travel and lodging expenses and honoraria for two additional composers in 2015. In March, UC Berkeley professor Ken Ueno visited campus to present a Barlow Lecture, teach composition lessons, and participate in a BYU Group for New Music concert. BYU faculty composer and organist Neil Thornock presented one of Ken’s solo organ works, and Ken presented his unique brand of extended vocal techniques in a solo improvisation, and also presented a trio improvisation with BYU faculty composers and performers Christian Asplund and Steven Ricks.
In October, Seattle-based composer and Cornish School faculty member Jarrad Powell visited campus to present a Barlow Lecture and to attend the premiere of a new carillon work he wrote for Neil Thornock to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the BYU carillon. Barlow monies supported part of the commissioning funds for the new work, and also supported other aspects of Dr. Thornock’s commemoration.
Barlow funds often provide travel support and cover ticket expenses for performances that students attend off campus. For example, in December faculty member Steven Ricks accompanied several composition students to a Utah Symphony concert that included the premiere of a new work by composer Nico Muhly.
Barlow funding, as listed below, continues to support worthy faculty projects and activities as a way of increasing the profile and reputation of the composition area. These projects and activities ensure our faculty are in the best position to instruct the students in current trends and practices of composition.
Residency of Christian Asplund and Steven Ricks in Amsterdam. They worked with composers and musicians for future collaboration with BYU facutly and students. During the residency the duo performed at STEIM, the Netherlands’ premiere electronic music center. The performance also included group improvisations with performers Oguz Buyukberber, Laura Carmichael, Ned McGowan, and Naomi Sato.
Michael Hicks’ CD: Felt Hammers: The Complete Solo Piano Music, 1982-2010, performed by Keith Kirchoff (Tantara Records)
Steven Ricks’ CD: Young American Inventions (New Focus Recordings)
I consider myself very fortunate for the opportunity to participate in the Barlow Endowment. The exposure to a multitude of different compositional approaches, accompanied by insight and commentary from experienced sources, has provided a wealth of understanding to draw from as I continue to refine and realize my own compositional philosophies.
I think one of the bigger challenges I’ve faced in my compositional endeavors so far is that of effective orchestration in a large symphonic setting. When the judging sessions began I found myself sympathizing with certain pieces that were soon deemed lacking in one area or another; as time passed, however, I began to notice more and more details, from the minutiae to the broader strokes of each piece. By the end I felt I had undergone years of experience in the field in a matter of days. The judges were great to work with and would often direct specific insight toward me as examples presented themselves, both in terms of compositional ideas as well as advice for entering competitions, which I feel will be invaluable knowledge as I work to improve and establish myself as a composer in the coming years.
I’d say the experience of the Barlow Endowment has been one of the most important of my college career so far, at least in terms of getting a solid understanding of where I am and what I need to do to succeed in my field. I am extremely grateful to the judges, to those who offered me the opportunity, and to the Barlow family who made it all possible.
M y experience as part of the Barlow Endowment was better than I expected. There was an air of professionalism and joy as everyone came together to pick the winners of the Prize and commissions. The judges were efficient, and they showed a true appreciation for the arts and respect for the composers. My job was to facilitate the judging by preparing scores and CDs. The amount of music we had to go through was daunting, but I loved hearing such a variety of compositions from living composers.
There were many things that came up as the pieces were judged that helped me as a composer and as a possible future participant in the competition. One of the more specific things I learned about composition was the importance of form and progression. Music isn’t just sound. It requires form and color, just as much as a painting. With the styles that are dominant in our time it can be easy to forget the necessity of composing tangible music instead of focusing purely on technique. There were many songs that sounded interesting and were composed well, but lacked form, which left me wondering, often times, “Where is this music going? What are they trying to express? Would I listen to this in a concert hall?” I thought about the pieces I was writing currently and wondered if they fell into this same trap. Were they captivating from the beginning? Was the form clear? I was happy to receive advice from the advisors.
B eing an intern this summer was a very worthwhile experience. I learned a lot about the different aesthetics and techniques in which individual judges and composers are interested. I was also interested to learn how a few people together in a room can zero in on one composition and decide that one composer out of all those who entered had the freshest approach. If anything, I learned that the composers who will really make a difference in the future are the ones willing to take a chance, be themselves, and approach the classic techniques of composition in a new way—a way that will hopefully break new barriers for the future of music. All this gave me great insight for my own writing, and I hope to incorporate these new ideas as soon as possible.
I was impressed by how many composers there are. There is a lot of music being created, so being part of this experience was humbling and inspiring. It was inspiring to realize how much music there is, in all its variety, and also inspiring to see how many people are dedicated to the art form. It helped me realize the strength of the community of composers, which I hope to continue to be a part of. The medium is alive and well, and part of it is owed to the kindness of the Barlow Endowment. What a great opportunity and experience!
S everal experiences stand out from my second time as a Barlow intern. Assisting two different pairs of judges showed me that different approaches can be equally valid. I learned from both pairs of judges what does and doesn’t work in competitions. For example, a common trait of many entries that did not make it past the first round was their very slow rate of change or their lack of development. I also learned more about what constitutes good compositional technique in general.
Another valuable experience for me was talking with Dr. James Mobberley at dinner one evening. He was extremely generous in answering questions about the composition department at his university and in giving me advice about applying to doctoral programs. The next evening’s dinner was also delightful as I sat with Alice Barlow Jones and her daughter and learned more of their family history and of their adventures around the world.
After the judging I took with me a list of composers whose music piqued my interest. Studying their music has already proven stimulating, inspiring, and influential. This increased awareness of and acquaintance with the world of contemporary art music may be for me the single most valuable heritage of my internship with the Barlow Endowment.
I am grateful to the Barlow family for making this endowment and competition possible.
Barlow Board of Advisors
C hristian Asplund’s interests include intersections of text and music, improvisation and composition, and modular textures and forms. As a composer and performer, 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 written books and articles for Perspectives of New Music (University of Washington Press) and American Music (University of Illinois Press). He has performed with Stuart Dempster, Malcolm Goldstein, Christian Wolff, and John Butcher. His music appears on labels such as Present Sounds, Tzadik, Sparkling Beatnik, and others, and his scores are published by Frog Peak Music. Christian’s compositions have been performed and broadcast in many locations including Europe, North America, and Australia. 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.
an Bradshaw serves as chair of the Music and Visual Arts Department at Brigham Young University–Hawaii. His compositional interests deal with a variety of influences, from the classical tradition to rock idioms, to the rhythm of waves, and to Polynesian drumming. Professional honors include awards from the American Music Center, the Minnesota Orchestra, the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, and the American Composers Orchestra. Recent projects include an audio-visual collaboration with Brandon Truscott using his work for solo contrabass, Deep Wood, in February, 2015; a performance of his chamber work, Hall of Mirrors, performed by the Indiana University New Music Ensemble in April 2015; Con Cuore Sincero, premiered in Palestrina, Italy by the Ko’olauloa Children’s Chorus, and At Full Strength for orchestra, which will be premiered by a consortium of college orchestras in 2016-17.
Dan received his doctoral degree in Music Composition from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music where he studied with Claude Baker, Sven-David Sandström and David Dzubay. He is the son of the late composer Merrill Bradshaw, whose music continues to inspire him.
S tacy Garrop had four commercial recordings released in 2015: Flight of Icarus on Capitol Saxophone Quartet’s “Balance” CD, produced by Blue Griffin Recording; Jarba, Mare Jarba on Chanticleer’s “The Gypsy in My Soul” CD, produced by Chanticleer Records; String Quartet No. 4: Illuminations on the Avalon Quartet’s “Illuminations” CD, produced by Cedille Records; and Mythology Symphony: Thunderwalker and Shadow on an all-Garrop orchestra CD entitled “Mythology Symphony” produced by Cedille Records.
Stacy also had several premieres in 2015: Mythology Symphony for full orchestra, performed by the Chicago College of Performing Arts Symphony Orchestra with maestra Alondra de la Parra; Noir Vignettes for double bass and piano, performed by Michael Cameron and Marta Aznavoorian; Bohemian Café for woodwind quintet and double bass, performed by Fifth House Ensemble; Keyboard of the Winds for solo piano, performed by Nicholas Phillips; and Terra Nostra: an Oratorio performed by soloists Jennifer Paulino, Betany Coffland, Joseph Raymond Meyers, Nikolas Nackley, the Piedmont East Bay Children’s Chorus, the San Francisco Choral Society, and the California Chamber Symphony. Additional performances of her works were given by Chanticleer, Orchestra of the Swan Chamber Choir, Volti, Picosa, Lincoln Trio, Orion Ensemble, and the Red Clay Saxophone Quartet.
J ames Mobberley serves as Curators’ Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri-Kansas City. 2015 highlights include the launching of his website, plus 27 performances of a work for organ and fixed media by two wonderful organists, James Higdon and Olivier Latry. James toured five Russian cities, while Olivier’s tour featured 22 performances in Europe, Russia, the US, and Australia. Violist Michael Hall added eight new performances to Mobberley’s recent solo work for him, Subject to Change Without Notice. Other events in 2015 include a Guest Artist residency at New Music on the Point (Vermont) and the first visit to East Carolina University as a start to a three-year residency with the North Carolina New Music Initiative, a wonderful student-centered project designed by faculty composer Edward Jacobs. Premieres include Triathlon, a solo work for alto saxophone for the PRISM Quartet’s Zach Shemon; and Janus, Reflecting, written for the American Modern Ensemble’s Riko Hugira (piano), Sato Moughalian (flute) and Eric Umble (clarinet) for New Music on the Point. Current projects include a work for trumpet and organ for the Duo Clarion and a Sinfonietta for 16 instruments for East Carolina University. He lives in Liberty, Missouri with his wife Laura (a writer), and sons Lucas and Jake.
L eilei Tian, a Chinese composer living in Paris, France, is prize-winner of several international competitions. These competitions include the Besançon Composition Competition for orchestra in France; the Contemporary Music Contest “Citta’ di Udine” in Italy; the Composition Competition of GRAME in Lyon; the Gaudeamus Competition in Amsterdam; and the ISCM Cash Young Composer’s Award. She was also awarded “Rome Prize” by Academy of France. Her recent works include Chant du désert for double bass ensemble; Silence compris for piano solo; and In Paradisum for brass quintet. This year her works were performed at festivals, including the London New Wind Fest; the International Contemporary Art Festival “Artescienza” in Rome; the Gas Festival in Trollhättan (Sweden); the Festival “Sound of Stockholm;” the Festival “Musica de Agora de Bahia” in Brazil; the United States Navy Band International Saxophone Symposium; “Asians in Paris” (Japan), and others. In 2015, she also served as a member of the Jury at ENKOR International Music Competition.
Barlow Board of Directors
Stephen M. Jones
Alice Barlow Jones
Scott M. Boyter