he Barlow Education Grant supports students and faculty of the BYU School of Music in their education and their professional endeavors in music composition.
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 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 2018 Milton A. Barlow Scholarship was incoming masters composition student Scott Nelson. Scott was an impressive applicant who decided to attend BYU as his first choice among several competing offers. He is an ear training instructor and TA for the BYU Electronic Music Studio, and has made several positive contributions to our program and School in the short time he’s been here. This scholarship is a huge support to him and was a major factor in his choice to attend BYU.
In Winter 2018 we heard two premieres composed by 2017 Barlow Student Composition Award winners Austin Lopez and Jonny Stallings, by the BYU Philharmonic and Synthesis respectively.
For his Barlow Student Composition Award, Austin was invited to write a new work for the BYU Philharmonic under the direction of Kory Katseanes. He completed an energetic, rock-inspired piece called Hardline that was premiered in February 2018. Austin also presented a compelling senior recital in February and is heading into graduation this summer with some great momentum, thanks in large part to all this support from the Barlow Endowment.
Barlow Student Composition Award winner Jonny Stallings, a second-year masters student in music composition, is an accomplished jazz pianist in addition to being a composer and was a member of Synthesis, BYU’s top jazz ensemble. Arranging for his commission to be from them was a logical choice, and his new work was premiered in march 2018 and helped his impressive development as a composer. Jonny graduated in August 2018 and has applied to several competitive doctoral programs in music composition for Fall 2019.
Additional Barlow funds supported Jonny in presenting some original music at Congreso Noir in Salamanca, Spain — an international conference on film noir to which he was invited as an official participant.
The mission of the Barlow Endowment and the intentions of each of the commissioning ensembles helped shape my view of new music: it embraces what makes us all human simultaneously with what humanity cannot understand, and then inspires us to seek growth in order to increase understanding.
July 2018 marked the thirteenth year BYU student interns have assisted with the annual Barlow summit and Barlow Prize and Commissions judging. Four of our students—Kalysha Chandler, Clark Evans, Thomas Fairholm, and Ryan Miller—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, including representatives of the wind quintet consortium members. 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 program and we look forward to its continuation.
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, reading sessions with performers, and in other settings. Here is a bulleted list that highlights our activities in this area:
- Princeton composer Dan Trueman visited in January for a Utah Crosstalk concert that included three of his works, performed by our students. One of the pieces was Four Squared for Ligeti, an innovative piece for acoustic piano, two digital pianos, and laptop ensemble that uses gametrak tethers (video game controllers) to manipulate audio. The presentation of this piece represented over a year of preparation and rehearsals so this was a rewarding fulfillment. Dan had private lessons with our students, presented a Barlow Lecture, and coached our student performers in advance of the concert.
- BYU alum and successful Hollywood composer Chris Bacon gave Oscarson (whole School of Music) and Barlow (composition students) Lectures in September in which he talked about his current work (including some yet-to-be-released clips [hint GRINCH]) and showed several clips from major productions, for both television and film, that included his music. He answered student questions, talked about which aspects of his Music Composition degree from BYU were most helpful to him, and spoke with students more personally in a lunch session.
- Chinese composer Jia Guoping, Director of the Musicology Institute at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, was on campus in November for several days for a Group for New Music concert featuring his work and the work of several other contemporary Chinese composers. His residency also included private lessons with composition students, a Barlow Lecture, visits with BYU orchestra director Kory Katseanes, and informal lunch/dinner meetings with faculty and students. He was so pleased with his visit and impressed with BYU that it has initiated talks for possible formal connections between the BYU School of Music and Beijing Conservatory.
- Young composer/performer Logan Hone, a saxophonist from Utah who graduated from Cal Arts and is active in the LA area, visited campus to perform in a “Monk Marathon” featuring ALL the works of jazz legend Thelonious Monk with BYU faculty composer/performer Christian Asplund in October. Hone presented a Barlow Lecture to our composition students on his music and varied musical activities in the exciting LA scene.
- Ethel, an innovative string quartet, conducted a reading session with seven of our composition students in December. The range and quality of the student works was impressive, and certainly caught the attention of the group. The session was recorded and was a great learning experience for the students, and will be a great asset to them as they apply for awards, to graduate school, and generally progress towards graduation and future careers.
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 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.
One great example of this was through Barlow support to faculty composer Stephen Jones in connection with the premiere and recording of his new chamber work, Sixteen Stones. Jones hosted several SLC-area professional performers for the BYU premiere and recording of his piece on our October 2018 faculty recital. It was a great opportunity for students to see work by one of their teachers brought to fruition by a group who had fine-tuned it through careful practice.
The Barlow Education Grant continues to support a variety of worthwhile and productive activities within the BYU School of Music composition area. We greatly appreciate these funds and will continue to use them in interesting and helpful ways.