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BYU Barlow Endowment for Music Composition lists 2003 commissions

The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University has named Brian Current of Toronto, Ontario, as the winner of its 2003 Barlow Prize.

Current will receive a $17,000 commission to write a new work for orchestra that will be premiered by both the American Composers Orchestra and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

The Barlow Endowment also awarded $43,000 in its other annual commissioning programs to eight composers: Mario Davidovsky for the Boston Musica Viva, Libby Larsen for a special saxophone concerto project, Charles Wuorinen for a work for Robert Aitkin and James Avery, David Crumb for the ensemble Third Angle, Kurt Rohde for the Pacific Chamber Symphony, James Worlton for the Nova Ensemble, Stephen Anderson for the West Point Military Band, and Rebeca Peterson for a special chamber and dance work.

In the category of Joseph Smith Bicentennial Commissions, the Endowment awarded a total of $25,000 to four composers for works to be premiered in 2005 by top BYU performing ensembles. They include Stephen Jones for the Philharmonic Orchestra, Murray Boren for the Wind Symphony, Robert Cundick for the University Singers and Mack Wilberg for the Concert Choir.

The 2003 competition included 427 applications from composers representing 32 countries, according to Thomas L. Durham, executive director of the Barlow Endowment. "This year, we received requests for composer funds nearing $1 million," he said.

A graduate of McGill University in Montreal and the University of California, Berkeley, Current has received honors from the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris, the SOCAN Competition for Young Composers, ASCAP and the Canadian Council for the Arts.

In March 2001, he received grand prize honors in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's National Competition for Young Composers, the nation's highest distinction for composers under 30 years of age.

Founded in 1983 by businessman Milton A. Barlow, the endowment counts among its more than 150 commissions the 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion by Melinda Wagner.

"Year after year, distinguished soloists and ensembles premiere Barlow compositions by such composers in some of the world's most esteemed venues," said Durham, who noted that the endowment only supports new works yet to be written.

"The commission sponsors the creation of a bona fide new work rather than merely rewarding a composer for a work taken off the shelf that may be years old," he said.

The annual Barlow Prize is the endowment's most prominent commissioning venture and typically awards the winning composer between $10,000 and $20,000 for a new work. It then matches the composer with a renowned performer and prestigious ensemble that have agreed to premiere the commissioned work.

In 2004, the Barlow Endowment will sponsor a $10,000 Barlow Prize for a new choral work.

Judges for this year's endowment commissions included Robert Beaser, artistic director of the American Composers Orchestra, and Michael Runyon, composer and librarian with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Endowment's board of advisors: Bruce Polay, musical director of the Knox-Galesburg Orchestra; Melinda Wagner, Pulitzer Prize-winning composer; and Claude Baker, chair of composition at Indiana University. The sheer volume of entries this year also necessitated the assistance of two additional judges: Ardean Watts, former associate director of the Utah Symphony, and Lansing McLoskey, freelance composer and two-time Barlow Endowment award recipient.

For more information about the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition, visit the website at

Writer: Cecelia Fielding

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