2020 has been a year of changes in so many ways. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, social and political unrest, and the fallout from each of these for the arts-including some composers having difficulty collaborating with ensembles or presenting their work because of loss of performance venues—we witness composers and performers around the world fulfilling their vision and dreams. Their increased innovation and creativity continues to influence humanity through their talents and gifts. Performances are reaching new audiences through virtual concerts and the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition continues to recognize and support these exciting opportunities.
New opportunities abounded for the Endowment as well. The judging took on a new structure as all application materials were submitted electronically for the first time, providing participation by new international composers who were not able to submit previously. Likewise, the judges all adjudicated remotely and met virtually online. Even though this was not ideal (as they all missed the surreal surroundings of Snowbird and the rejuvenation that affords), it provided an avenue for the competition to carry on and bless the lives of so many composers and performers with continued financial encouragement and support during a tenuous year of turmoil.
We have started conversations with the Barlow family members regarding a 40th Anniversary event commemorating the start of the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at BYU. The Endowment has gone through many phases of commissioning programs, and the family is interested in partnering with the BYU School of Music to perform some of the Barlow winning works along with hosting winning composers and ensembles. It is a work in progress—especially navigating the pandemic environment and artists’ organizations—but we are envisioning a multi-day event at BYU in the new Music Building (scheduled to be completed in 2023).
Even with this year’s many vicissitudes, some things remained the same. The rotation of Advisors is an annual event and we are sad to bid farewell to Dorothy Chang Bartolussi, our friend and colleague, at the conclusion of her five-year term on the Board of Advisors. We have very much appreciated her candor, wit, and wisdom in the adjudications. She will be sorely missed.
This year, the Board of Directors has implemented a three-year term for Advisors starting 2021 and increased the number of advisors from five to six. This change will alleviate the judging load and time commitment for the advisors.
In addition, the Board of Directors instituted a term length for the Executive Director. With this adjustment, Ethan Wickman’s six-year term as Executive Director concludes as of December 2020. Prior to this appointment, he served a five-year term as Advisor as well as being a guest judge. His influence and contribution to the Barlow Endowment has been considerable for well over a decade. Ethan has provided exemplary work by refining the judging process and also working toward greater diversity and inclusiveness among judges, as well as an increase in women receiving awards. We are very appreciative of his expertise, guidance, forethought, and commitment to the Endowment and wish him well in his future endeavors in creative and research projects, as well as teaching and mentoring back at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Dr. Daniel Bradshaw has accepted the invitation to serve as the next Executive Director. Bradshaw received his doctoral degree in music composition from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is a professor of composition and theory at BYU-Hawaii and has served as chair of the Department of Visual and Performing Arts there from 2014-2018. Dan has also previously served on the Barlow Endowment Board of Advisors. Bradshaw becomes the fourth executive director in the Barlow Endowment’s 37-year history. His father, Merrill Bradshaw, was the founding executive director, serving from 1983 to 1999.
We are all committed to the Barlow Endowment. Whenever I travel and interact with music faculty at other universities, I hear their high regard for the Barlow Endowment. All of us here at BYU are committed to strengthen the reputation of the endowment while maintaining its founding documents and its legacy.