$12,000 grant for new work for string quartet
The Barlow Endowment for Music Composition at Brigham Young University has awarded Harold Meltzer with its 2008 Barlow Prize. This award commissions the composer with a $12,000 grant to create a new work for string quartet.
A consortium of three prominent quartets will premiere the new work in 2010, including the Avalon Quartet, the Lydian Quartet and the Pacifica Quartet.
“The Barlow Endowment hopes this year’s Barlow Prize may spawn a work of sufficient magnitude to be counted among the chamber music world’s most prominent modern literature,” said executive director Thomas L. Durham. “In the meantime, we all await a potentially splendid addition to the repertoire — a major new string quartet with three performances planned for 2010.”
In addition to Meltzer’s commission, several other composers received commissions in 2008. Those composers and the performing ensembles include: Claude Baker (Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra and Mark-Andre Hamelin, pianist); Alvin Singleton (Orchestra of the League of Composers); Daniel Asia (Nonet); Michael Gandolfi (Boston Musica Viva); Scott Wheeler (Joshua Gordon, cellist); Steve Mackey (Eighth Blackbird); Seung-Ah Oh (Flexible Music); Christopher Rouse (Calder Quartet); Daniel Bradshaw (Ignace Jang, violinist); Christian Asplund (Gamelan Bintang Wahyu); Christian Gentry (Benjamin Sung and Jihye Chang); and Neil Thornock (Kenneth Long, bass clarinetist).
Judging for this year’s Barlow Prize took place the first week of August 2008. Three members from the performing consortium joined the endowment’s Board of Advisors for the judging: Judith Eissenberg, Blaise Magnierre and Julie Bevan represented the Lydian, Avalon and Pacifica string quartets, respectively. The judging panel also included board members Lansing McCloskey, Daniel Gawthrop, Steven Ricks and David Rakowski. David Dzubay and John Costa served as guest judges.
In 2009, the endowment will be celebrating its 25th anniversary by sponsoring a $20,000 Barlow Prize for a new trombone concerto. “Joe Alessie, principal trombonist with the New York Philharmonic, will premiere the new work in 2011 along with BYU’s Philharmonic Orchestra directed by Kory Katseanes,” said Durham.
The endowment will send out its annual poster announcing details to its 5,000-member mailing list in January 2009.
Meltzer completed undergraduate work at Amherst College and received graduate degrees from King’s College and Yale University as well as a Juris Doctorate from Columbia. He co-founded and is the artistic director of the music/theater ensemble Sequitur, and he currently holds a teaching position at Vassar College.
His extensive list of awards, residencies and fellowships includes the MacDowell Colony, Rockefeller Foundation, Guggenheim, Charles Ives Fellowship and Samuel Barber Prize at the American Academy in Rome.
More information may be found on his Web site: www.haroldmeltzer.com.
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 Music Department (now the School of Music).
Following his graduation from Harvard’s Graduate School of Business Administration, Barlow went to work for the Marriott organization in 1941. He quickly rose through the ranks and distinguished himself as a senior executive for several years. In 1964 he left Marriott and struck out on his own, amassing an impressive real estate empire. He died in 2001.
His daughter, Alice Barlow Jones, now represents the family as an ex-officio member on the endowment’s Board of Directors.
Each year, the Barlow Prize (formerly known as the International Barlow Composition Competition) matches its winning composer to renowned performers and prestigious ensembles that have previously agreed to premiere the winner’s commissioned work, according to Durham.
“Although 20 percent of the endowment’s annual earnings go to BYU’s School of Music, its charter directs that the bulk of the profits should support the creation of new music,” he said. The organization has commissioned more than 220 new works by 1,200 composers in the last 25 years, counting among its commissioned works Melinda Wagner’s 1999 Pulitzer Prize-winning Concerto for Flute, Strings and Percussion premiered by the Westchester Philharmonic.
For more information, contact Thomas L. Durham, (801) 422-3226.
Writer: Thomas L. Durham