he Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University proudly announces the recipients of the 2017 commissions awards. After reviewing 346 submissions from 31 countries worldwide, the judging panel awarded Gilad Cohen of Ridgewood, New Jersey, the $12,000 Barlow Prize to compose a major new work for violin and piano.
The panel also granted Yair Klartag, of New York, New York, the distinction of Honorable Mention in this competition.
Dr. Cohen is a graduate of Princeton University, the Mannes College of Music, and the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance. His music has been performed by such groups as the Brentano Quartet, the Mivos Quartet, the Israeli Chamber project, the Israeli Revolution Orchestra, and many others. Honors include the Israeli Prime Minister Award for Composers, an Encore Grant from the American Composers Forum, and top prizes in the 1st Lin Yao Ji International Competition for Composition (Beijing), and the 2012 Franz Josef Reinl Composition Contest (Vienna). He is currently Assistant Professor of Music at Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ.
Yair Klartag has studied composition with Ruben Seroussi (Tel-Aviv University) and with Georg Friedrich Haas (Basel Musikhochschule), and is a doctoral candidate in composition at Columbia University. His music has been performed by the Munich Chamber Orchestra, Tokyo Sinfonietta, the Jack Quartet, the Mivos Quartet, and others.
General and LDS Commission Recipients
fter considering 150 applications in our General and LDS commissioning programs, the Endowment granted $72,000 to twelve composers who will write works for the following ensembles and musicians:
|General Commission Recipients||Ensemble(s)|
|Claude Baker||Momenta Quartet|
|Stacy Garrop||Michael Hall (viola) with Bandung Philharmonic and Baroque on Beaver Festival Orchestra|
|Georg Friedrich Haas||Third Coast Percussion|
|Ted Hearne||Ensemble Dal Niente|
|Elainie Lillios||Bent Frequency|
|Tina Tallon||Kurt Rohde (viola)|
T he summer of 2015 brought a number of momentous changes to the personnel at the helm of the Barlow Endowment. In the months following my appointment as executive director, new leadership in the Brigham Young University College of Fine Arts and Communications and the School of Music precipitated additional changes to the Board of Directors. After serving as Dean of the College of Fine Arts for twelve years, as well as Chair of the Barlow Board of Directors for as many, Stephen Jones stepped down from both positions to return to service on the faculty of the School of Music. Concurrent with Stephen’s move away from administration, Barlow Vice Chair, Kory Katseanes, left the Board of Directors, and his position as Director of the School of Music, to return to the faculty as well. We wish both Stephen and Kory well in their careers as professors and active professionals in their respective fields of composition and conducting.
These losses, however, were not without the terrific gains we continue to enjoy in 2016: Ed Adams, former director of the BYU School of Communications, assumed the position of Dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communications, while Kirt Saville, Professor of Music Education and Associate Director of Bands, was appointed Director of the School of Music. Ed and Kirt have concurrently assumed the roles of Chair and Vice-Chair, respectively, of the Barlow Board of Directors. These men bring a wealth of experience and perspective, and I am thrilled to be working with them. In addition to administrative changes at BYU, family representative Alice Barlow Jones completed her term on the Board. Her sister, Nancy Barlow Cox, is now the family representative. Alice has been instrumental in keeping the vision of her parents, Milton and Gloria Barlow, alive for our judges and guests each year. Nancy continues this tradition and brings great energy and vision to the Endowment.
Last year we also bid farewell to Stacy Garrop, an illustrious composer and member of our Board of Advisors, after six years of service. Stacy possessed an excellent eye and ear for the craft and creativity that Barlow aims to promote each year. Her dedication and friendship to the Endowment and its cause have made a permanent impression. We are elated to have welcomed composer Dorothy Chang, of Vancouver, BC, to the board of advisors for our 2016 summer meetings. We look forward to working with her during her term and anticipate the valuable difference she will make.
My greatest joy in serving as executive director is the opportunity I have to hear such fabulous music from around the world. If the current climate (political, social, and environmental) is tumultuous, the Barlow Endowment continues to seek out and uphold work of great beauty and significance. In that spirit, I conclude with these words of Sir Michael Tippett (as relayed to the BYU School of Music many years ago by erstwhile Barlow Advisor, Steven Stucky, who passed away last year):
Whether society has felt music valuable or needful, I’ve gone on writing because I must. I know that my true function within a society that embraces all of us is to continue an age old tradition, fundamental to our civilization, which goes back into prehistory, and will go forward into the unknown future. This tradition is to create images from the depths of imagination and then to give them form, whether visual, intellectual, or musical. For it is only through images that the inner-world communicates at all: images of the past; shapes of the future; images of vigor for a decadent period; images of calm for one of true violence; images of reconciliation for worlds torn by division; and in an age of mediocrity and shattered dreams, images of abounding, generous, exuberant beauty.
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 2016 Milton A. Barlow Scholarship, for the second year in a row, was David Jones, a second-year master’s student in music composition. David’s new piece for the BYU Chamber Orchestra, Aspen, was premiered on March 31, 2016, in the de Jong Concert Hall under the direction of Kory Katseanes, and was a huge success. David was selected as one of five composers for the EarShot Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra Composers Competition, October 2016, where his piece Aspen was workshopped and performed while David worked with composers Melinda Wagner, Michael Schelle, and Robert Beaser.
In an attempt to broaden the influence of the Barlow Endowment and provide more opportunities to our students, we gave Barlow Student Composition Awards to two students this year–Nicolas Ayala and Stuart Wheeler. Nicolas was given the opportunity to write a new work for the BYU Wind Symphony, under the direction of Don Peterson. Nicolas is a flutist and has played in the group previously, so this was a particularly good fit. Stuart Wheeler was invited to write a new work for BYU Singers, under the direction of Andrew Crane. This was particularly meaningful since it marks the first collaboration between the composition and choral area in some time. Both pieces were premiered in the de Jong Concert Hall during winter semester 2017 and will receive more particular mention in the 2017 annual report.
July 2016 marked the twelfth year BYU student interns have assisted with the annual Barlow summit and Barlow Prize and Commissions judging. Four of our students—Kevin Anthony, Stuart Wheeler, Kaylie Brown, and David Jones—helped prepare for the annual summit by 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 has been a great boost to our composition program and we look forward to its continuation.
Barlow funds provided workshop fees and travel and lodging support for two students who participated in summer workshops in June 2016: Erik Maloy and Kevin Anthony. Erik was selected as one of only several composers to participate in the Imani Winds Chamber Music Festival at The New School in New York City, where his new woodwind quintet was rehearsed and recorded by an advanced student ensemble, under the direction of Imani Winds.) He also, along with other composition fellows, worked with distinguished composers Tania Leon and James Primosch.
Kevin Anthony attended an instrument building workshop at Stanford’s Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA) that involved using Arduino computer boards and computer programming to create new interfaces for musical performance. He created a new electronic instrument using light sensors, which he demonstrated for our composition seminar following the CCRMA workshop. He led BYU’s Group for Computer Music during Fall Semester 2016 in a similar workshop, in which students created instruments with infra-red sensors, ultra-sonic sensors, and accelerometers.
Barlow Education Grant funds continue to provide needed and valuable support for our composition courses, providing honoraria for student performers who 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.
Carla Scaletti delivered the keynote address at the 2016 International Computer Music Conference at the University of North Texas. During her visit to our campus in March 2016 she repeated that address for our students and also gave an informative lecture on her ambitious data sonification works as a resident artist at the CERN research center near Geneva, Switzerland. She presented a workshop on Kyma, the sound design and musical synthesis environment that she and her partner, Kurt Hebel, created, and also met privately with students. A Group for New Music concert on March 10 included two multi-channel electronic works; one with a simulated tornado-warning siren, and another with where audience members used small bells that were recorded and then processed and played through the Madsen Recital Hall sound system. It was a memorable residency!
Samuel Adler visited at the same time as Carla, and he presented a Barlow Lecture on his music that same week, and movements from two recent chamber works–sonatas for flute and piano and cello and piano, respectively–were presented on the same March 10 program. Professor Adler, head of the composition program at Eastman School of Music for years, is a distinguished composer with a breadth of experience. His anecdotes and music inspired the students. He was also able to meet with students privately and record a Highway 89 program for BYU Broadcasting during his visit.
Dai Fujikura is a Japanese-born composer who lives and works in London, England. He is one of the rising stars of new music in Europe and has had performances by major symphonies, opera companies, and chamber ensembles throughout the world. Composition faculty member Stephen Jones organized a stunning performance of Fujikura’s flute concerto (chamber version) with the BYU Group for New Music, featuring music performance major Catherine Winters on flute, and conducted by composition major Nicolas Ayala. Fujikura worked closely with the students and was truly impressed by their performance. He presented a Barlow Lecture and also met with students in private composition lessons. It was great to become better acquainted with his music and get a glimpse of what’s happening with new music in Europe.
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.
This year funds supported Neil Thornock to travel to Oxford and London, England, in July 2016, where he attended premiere performances of several of his new works for organ, and a new work for choir and organ. This was an important trip that has helped Neil strengthen professional relationships with UK-based composers/organists Michael Bonaventure and Huw Morgan. A forthcoming CD of keyboard works resulting from this collaboration is expected in 2017.
Funds also supported travel and lodging for a performance by Steven Ricks and Christian Asplund at the 2016 Conference of the International Society for Improvised Music (ISIM) at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. In addition to presenting a concert, they attended workshops and concerts by other conference participants and by Douglas Ewart, the featured artist at the conference.
P articipating as a Barlow Intern proved to be a rewarding experience. I have received few opportunities that offered such insight. Not only did the internship provide opportunities for skill building in several areas, but it also provided an immersive perspective on competitive musical competitions. It is an experience I value and recommend to any who are offered the opportunity.
After organizing hundreds of submissions, which included CD’s, scores and bios, I feel a heightened awareness of how my own compositions compare. Though I personally attempt to follow my ambitions and intuition within my music, avoiding comparison, I can now better objectively compare my compositions against others with whom I may be competing.
When submitting a piece to a competition, the submission stack can feel like a black hole of uncertainty. This is no longer the case for me. Though few portions of the judging process are certain and wholly objective, music being a subjective art, there are many aspects of music and presentation that I can now objectively consider before submitting a piece to any competition. I may submit a well-written piece, but it may not be what the competition is looking for in particular. From this, I learned my most valuable lesson about competitions: do not judge the quality of my work by whether or not it won a competition.
I saw judges agonize over pieces that lost, despite them having voted against it themselves. In the end, the judges have to make a choice, and the choice is not between what is good and what is bad. Ultimately, the judges are making the difficult choice between what is good and what is good. If I am lucky enough to someday submit a piece that resonates with a panel of judges in a way that influences their vote in my favor, then I should not think any higher of that piece than any other–mine or another’s. Without the experience of the Barlow internship, I could not have learned this lesson so clearly and powerfully.
H aving the opportunity to take part in the Barlow Endowment competition judging was invaluable. It was a privilege to be able to rub shoulders with musicians and composers of the highest caliber and to be able to learn from their experience and points of view.
Witnessing the judging process was truly enlightening. It was helpful to see what kinds of music immediately jumped out at the judges versus the things they quickly passed by. However, it was even more useful to hear the kinds of music that they considered, but that ultimately did not move forward in the competition. This helped me gauge the characteristics that take music from being good to being outstanding – which in this case meant that the piece literally stood out from among hundreds of other entries.
I learned for a piece to be successful, it needed to show a good balance between innovation, technical skill and compelling structure. With two of the three, it still had a chance of catching the judges’ attention, but the pieces that were most convincing had all three.
Having performers as judges was helpful. It brought home to me that composers don’t get commissioned by performers if they write music that performers don’t want to play.
Overall, this was a very worthwhile and unique experience. I don’t think I could have gained the same information and tools that I took away from it in any other way; I certainly could not have learned them as quickly. I am very appreciative of the generosity of the Barlow family, which has allowed me to have this opportunity.
T he Barlow internship this summer was a valuable and insightful experience. I was able to witness firsthand the process the judges go through in order to decide the winners of such a big, international competition, and I was able to get a better idea of what the judges are looking for when they decide whether a piece is competitive or not. In the final round, the composer that won was chosen for his unique sound, voice, style, and level of expression, as well as the craft of his compositions.
In addition to learning more about the judging process, I was also able to meet many new, important composers and performers. They were able to give me more information about the schools they teach at, and they gave me a lot of good advice on how to forge a career in composition and how to make it in the academic world. I definitely plan to enter this competition in future years. All in all, this internship has proven to be very valuable, and I have learned many new things.
A s a composition major, I have mixed feelings about composition competitions. So naturally the opportunity to sit in on a competition such as this and assist with it was intriguing to me. A look behind the scenes.
I came out with a shifted perspective. I was moved at how conscientious several of the judges were about who they were awarding money to, and what effect that award would have on the recipients. There was a lot of care put into those decisions. I couldn’t help but feel that it was a good thing to give these composers money to fund the work they are doing.
Sure it is not a perfect system. But doing this internship did help me to see the real good that undeniably comes from competitions such as this one.
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.
orothy Chang serves as a Professor of Music at the University of British Columbia School of Music in Vancouver, Canada. 2016 highlights include the world premiere semi-staged production of White Wines, and a musical adaptation of Gertrude Stein’s play for four female vocalists and speaking percussion, with librettist Adam Frank, musical director Marguerite Witvoet and director James Fagan Tait. Other premieres include Bagatelles for flute, cello and piano, premiered by the Nu:BC Ensemble, with a forthcoming premiere of the work arranged for the Vetta Chamber Music ensemble. Dorothy’s work Four Short Poems for erhu and piano was performed on the China tour by PEP (Piano-Erhu Project) at the Wuhan Conservatory of Music, China Conservatory in Beijing, Capitol Normal University, Shanghai Conservatory and Soochow University School of Music, as well in performances in Calgary, Montreal, Vancouver and New York. This past year Dorothy served as composer-in-residence of the Blueridge International Chamber Festival and also the Richmond Music Festival. Current projects include a new work for the Arkora new music collective, a collaboration with choreographer Yukichi Hattori and four other composers for the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, and a double concerto for erhu and piano to be premiered in early 2018 by PEP and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra.
ames Mobberley recently retired from his position as Curators’ Professor of Music at the Conservatory of Music of the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he is continuing in a half-time appointment involving both teaching and composing. 2016 highlights include the premiere of two new works: The Unpurged Images of the Day by trombonist JoDee Davis and pianist Robert Pherigo, and Passing Illuminations for trumpet and organ by Duo Clarion, along with over 30 performances of other works in Belgium, Portugal, France, Germany, Norway, Australia, Serbia, Canada and numerous locations around the US. Capricious Invariance (solo piano) was released on Albany Records, recorded by Christopher Janwong McKiggan. New recordings of Toccatas and Interludes (chamber sextet), Phenomenon (solo piano), Triathlon (solo saxophone), Respiri (solo flute), and Subject to Change Without Notice (solo viola) are now available for listening at www.soundcloud.com/jim-mobberley, along with 45 other Mobberley works. Jim and his wife Laura (a writer) are now experiencing the joys and sorrows of empty nesting at their home in Liberty, Missouri.
eilei Tian is a Chinese composer living in Paris, France. She is a 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 “Rome Prize” by Academy of France. Her recent works include “Never-Ending journey ” for cello and percussion and “Aurora” for brass quintet. Her works were performed at different festivals and concerts, and also broadcast by radio. In 2016, she served as a member of the Committee for National Commissions by French Ministry of Culture, the jury for Järnåkepriset Award for Swedish chamber music and the Jury at ENKOR International Music Competition.
Barlow Board of Directors
Nancy Barlow Cox
Scott M. Boyter