A number of significant milestones lent 2019 a special significance for the Barlow Endowment. Early in the year, we were thrilled to learn that The Crossing’s recording of Barlow-commissioned Zealot Canticles by Lansing McCloskey was awarded a 2018 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance. Later in the spring, at the Beijing Modern Music Festival, Alberto Colla’s Barlow Prize-commissioned orchestral work, Ode by the Earth, was premiered. Colla’s work, like McCloskey’s, represent astonishing contributions to the field of composition. Not only do these pieces demonstrate expertise in their craftsmanship, they are also works of great impact and meaning. However, these are but two of many works of similar profile that the Endowment has helped launch into the world over the past few decades It is a gift to participate in such an endeavor.
At the summer meetings we welcomed members of Eighth Blackbird, Crash Ensemble, and the New York New Music Ensemble to adjudicate and award our first ever commission for Pierrot + percussion sextet with electronics. The array of wonderfully inventive music submitted by composers the world over led to fascinating discussions and planted seeds for future collaborations. In addition to the Barlow Prize (awarded to Canadian composer Bekah Simms), the Board awarded commissions to a diverse array of 15 other composers—all in various stages of their careers—in our General and Latter-day Saint categories. Financially, it was something of a banner year and Endowment funds were distributed generously.
While each summer brings personnel changes as members of our Board of Advisors come and go, 2019 was particularly bittersweet because of a staff member change. After serving the endowment since its inception, our financial officer, Scott Boyter, bid us farewell by his retirement. Scott was a valuable member of our family. A masterful steward of endowment funds, he also provided a direct link to the earliest days of the Barlow Endowment and its initial objectives as laid out by its founders. Scott’s talents were an ongoing testament to the fact that the dissemination of great art relies not only upon the hands and minds of the artists, but also upon the gifts of those that manage the means that make that dissemination possible. This past summer also represented the fulfillment of Dan Bradshaw’s years of excellent service on the Board of Advisors. We will miss his steady, balanced, and insightful voice in our deliberations. Despite those departures, we enthusiastically welcomed recognized composers, Chen Yi and Benjamin Sabey, to the Board of Advisors. Each is exceptionally accomplished and each will make a wonderful contribution in the years to come.