A s a composer, there is something effervescently rejuvenating about spending hours each summer with fabulous new music in the company of some of the best composers and performers working today. At the same time, I can’t deny the holistically nourishing aspect of doing this work in such a magnificently beautiful setting. The work we undertake during our Barlow meeting—and the mission of Barlow in particular—harmonizes effortlessly as the aesthetics of nature and art seem to embellish and empower one another. There is something undeniably divine in our labor of helping give life to works by the most talented voices of our time. Though no work of music will likely endure as the mountains that surround us, their very presence gives us—and the Endowment—something irrepressibly aspirational.
The 2018 meeting ran smoothly and effectively. We were grateful for the contributions of our ensemble guest judges: Andrew Crane (BYU Singers), Donald Nally (The Crossing), and Patrick Dupre Quigley (Seraphic Fire). We also note with gratitude the contributions of our other guest judges: Ben Taylor (filling in for Chen Yi who was unable to attend this summer’s meeting), Newell Dayley, Margot Murdoch, Hilary Demske, and John Costa. Conversations and deliberations were honest and forthright, and yet the rapport between judges was undeniable. I am honored to witness such great souls coming together in common cause.
The Board of Directors continues to look for ways to improve the judging process and even extend the reach of the Endowment to new communities. For example, adding an additional morning to adjudicate the LDS commission entries enabled a more careful, thoughtful deliberation. Additionally, we are working to improve the ergonomics of the submission process by now accepting sound files in place of physical CDs. There are improvements yet to be made, and I am confident that our respective boards will continue to work to find effective ways of harnessing 21st century technologies. Looking ahead, we hope to commission work that will engage the public more broadly and more creatively, including site-specific projects, and installations that engage the community in less traditional venues.
All of these things reinforce the notion that the essence of the Barlow Endowment is service: service to composers, service to ensembles, service to our profession, and service to communities. How grateful I am that we can gather together each year, with resources in hand, to build something of enduring, resplendent beauty.