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David Rakowski winner of 2006 Barlow Endowment Commission

The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University has awarded a $15,000 commission to the 2006 Barlow Prize-winner David Rakowski of Massachusetts to compose a new work for wind ensemble.

A consortium of five renowned wind ensembles have agreed to premiere his composition in 2008, said Thomas Durham, executive director of the Barlow Endowment and associate director of the BYU School of Music.

The ensembles include the University of Michigan Symphony Band, the United States Marine Band, the BYU Wind Symphony, the UCLA Wind Ensemble and the Southern Methodist University Meadows Wind Ensemble.

Rakowski completed undergraduate work at the New England Conservatory of Music and received graduate degrees from Princeton. He is the Walter W. Naumburg professor of composition at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., where he has taught since 1995. He has twice been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and his list of honors, fellowships, publications and recordings is extensive.

Out of 350 applications from 19 countries in the general and Latter-day Saint commissioning programs, the endowment granted $72,000 to 13 composers who will write works for the following: Gregory Mertil (Solungga Liu and University of Minnesota Wind Ensemble); Gabriela Frank (Lucy Shelton and the ADORNO Ensemble); Justin Dello Joio (Carter Brey); Aleksandra Vrebalov (Rhode Island Civic Chorale and Orchestra); Libby Larsen (BYU Philharmonic Orchestra); Dai Fujikura (International Contemporary Ensemble); Daniel Kellogg (Yoshiyuki Ishikawa and the University of Colorado Faculty Quartet); Larry Polansky (Sarah Cahill and Joseph Kubera); Malcolm Forsyth (International Double Reed Society); Todd Coleman (April Clayton and BYU Chamber Orchestra); Steven Ricks (Fear No Music); Leilei Tian (Antonio Politano and Haesung Choe); and Dwight Bigler (BYU’s “Pilgrim’s Journey” project).

The judging panel also granted Philippe Bodin of New York City an honorable mention in the competition.

“For the 2006 competition, composers requested nearly $1.3 million in funding from the endowment,” said Durham. “But, because of limited resources, the endowment was unable to fund many deserving composers and their projects this year.”

Next year’s Barlow Prize will be a major new work for percussion ensemble.

The Barlow Endowment began in 1983 when Milton A. Barlow of Chevy Chase, Md., made a generous donation to the composition area of BYU’s School of Music. BYU honored him with a Presidential Citation and Medallion in 1996 for a lifetime of distinguished community service and philanthropy. Barlow died on April 6, 2001. His daughter, Alice Barlow Jones, now represents the family as a member of the Barlow Endowment’s board of directors.

Annually, the endowment awards the winning composer between $10,000 and $20,000 to compose a new work. The organization has commissioned 190 new works by 170 composers in the last 24 years.

Writer: Valerie Housley

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