Skip to main content

Education Grant Report


A large share of the Education Grant funds always goes towards direct student support, by way of scholarships, assistantships, internships, travel awards and fee support for festivals and performances, along with support for guest composers and performers that work directly with students.

Established in 2011, the Milton A. Barlow Scholarship and the Barlow Student Composition Award are ongoing scholarships/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 $750 cash award that carries with it a commission to write a new piece for one of BYU’s premiere large ensembles.

The recipient of the 2023 Milton A. Barlow Scholarship was one of our outstanding undergraduate composition majors, Simon Cheek. This scholarship provided essential support to him and his family which allowed him to focus his efforts on preparing for his senior recital. It was a clear choice to continue supporting his progress and work with this helpful scholarship.

The recipient of the 2023 Barlow Student Composition Award was a carry-over from last year due to delays in the completion of the new Music Building. Master’s composition student Randall Smith is the recipient for 2023, for a new piece for the BYU Wind Symphony to be premiered in an evening concert of the 2024 Winter semester. We look forward to its premiere in the fully completed concert hall in our new building.

Barlow funds also provided some great support to our lower-division composition courses by paying honoraria to our top student performers to workshop and record works by both Music 187R students, and students in our upper-division composition course Music 388R. Funds also supported several students as they participated in summer workshops and programs, including students Simon Cheek and Jinxin Fu who both attended the Composition Institute at Brevard Music Center, and Eleanor Smith who attended the Electronic Music Composition Workshop at the Tanglewood Institute.

July 2023 marked the sixteenth year BYU student interns have assisted with the annual Barlow competition and summer judging meetings. The interns this year were: Samuel Erickson, Jinxin Fu, Quinton Porter, Kaito Singleton, and Eleanor Smith. They all reported gaining valuable perspectives from the adjudication and awards process and established formative relationships with each other and the Board members and guests that will influence their path in the years to come.

Barlow funds support Barlow Lectures and residencies by guest composers and performers each year that provide our students with exposure to the top professionals in the field of contemporary music. In addition to hearing these artists in a Barlow Lecture, students meet with these guests individually and in small groups for private composition lessons, shared meals, and discussions in other settings. Here is a bulleted list that highlights our activities in this area that included support from Barlow funds:

· Barlow funds combined with some Laycock Center and other College of Fine Arts and Communications funding to host composer/performer Pamela Z, an exciting multimedia artist who gave a compelling lecture to our students, shared meals with students and faculty, taught private lessons, and presented a solo concert of her work in The Box in February.

· Composers Mari Kimura and Elizabeth Capeto gave Zoom lectures to our composition seminar during fall semester—even though they couldn’t visit BYU in person, their insights and music was inspiring to our students via this flexible format.

· Amsterdam-based clarinetist/composer/improviser Oğuz Büyükberber visited campus in October and taught the electronic music composition class about his approach to using modular synthesizers, gave a clarinet master class, presented a Barlow Lecture on his music, and then recorded and performed with faculty improvising duo RICKSPLUND.

· Composer/oboist Alyssa Morris, a BYU alumnus, presented a Barlow Lecture to the composition seminar, taught private composition lessons to several seminar students, and attended rehearsals and the premiere of a new work by the BYU Wind Symphony in October.

· Composer/pianist Keith Kirchoff presented a lecture-recital to the composition seminar, also in October, that grouped three new works written specifically for him with virtuosic pieces by Robert Schumann and Franz Liszt—an interesting program that sparked a lot of questions and discussion.

· A group of composition students went to dinner with composer Dan Forrest, just before BYU Singers presented a full concert dedicated to his music.


Barlow funds continue to support worthy faculty projects and activities, as a way of increasing the profile and reputation of our area, and to ensure our faculty are in the best position to instruct the students in current trends and practices.

Barlow funds provided support to Christian Asplund and Steven Ricks, as improvisation duo RICKSPLUND, for a forthcoming release on the Neuma Records with veteran improviser Douglas Ewart. The reputation and reach of the Neuma label, combined with Mr. Ewart’s notoriety, will no doubt give this forthcoming disc some weight and likely positive reviews in several publications. Asplund and Ricks also received support towards the publication of their music through other sources, in particular a film version of Asplund’s “Book of Mormon Songs” concert from earlier in the year that was screened in the Harold B. Lee Library auditorium, and support for the performance of Ricks’ chamber opera “Baucis and Philemon” in The Box at BYU.

All BYU faculty members receive support from this grant for travel expenses to conferences, performances of their work, and personal performance opportunities as they arise, and they also rely on these funds to pay student and professional performers to realize their own and others’ music. For example, in 2023 Ricks received support, along with BYU faculty pianist Jihea Hong-Park, to present their collaborative piece for piano and electronics—“Overlapping Voices”—at the 2023 SEAMUS National Conference in New York, NY. The Barlow Education Grant continues to support a variety of worthwhile and productive activities within the BYU School of Music composition area. We are excited for the guests and activities it will support in the years to come, in particular the upcoming Barlow 40th celebrations planned for February 2024.