Akropolis to Premiere 2017 Barlow Prize for Reed Quintet

Each year the Barlow Endowment sponsors the Barlow Prize, one of the nation’s largest composition competitions resulting in a commission of a new work for a select instrumentation. In 2017,  the winner of the prize will receive a commission to write a new work for reed quintet to be premiered by Akropolis! 

The Barlow Endowment was established in 1983. Since then it has awarded $1.8M in prizes and commissions to more than 275 composers across the world. It has commissioned new works from Gyorgi Ligeti, Christopher Rouse, Henryk Gorecki, John Corigliano, Chen Yi, Augusta Read Thomas, Dai Fujikura, William Bolcolm, and Mario Davidovsky, to name only a few. Performers and ensembles who have premiered these works include Yo-Yo Ma, Dawn Upshaw, Ransom Wilson, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Baltimore Symphony, the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, the American Composers Orchestra, the King’s Singers, Empire Brass, Nexus, Boston Musica Via, eighth blackbird, the Muir Quartet, the United States Marine Band, the Dale Warland Singers, and the BBC Singers among many others.

The winning composer will receive a $12,000 commission from the Barlow Endowment to compose a major new work for Reed Quintet. The winning composer’s work will be premiered in 2019 by a consortium of three quintets: Akropolis (Michigan), BYU (Utah) and Calefax (Netherlands). The 15-20 minute work is expected to meet the highest artistic requirements for the medium. 

The competition typically attracts 300-400 entries from composers across the world and the participating performers join the Barlow Board of Advisors in a two-day judging process in July in Utah. The premiere will likely occur sometime in the 2018-19 concert season, depending on the completion of the new piece by the composer and the performers’ schedules.

This is a huge honor and testament to the growing popularity of the reed quintet over the past decade. We’d like to thank the Barlow Endowment for Music Composition for realizing the immense compositional potential of this ensemble, and we are thrilled to be judging this competition alongside our mentors & the very ensemble that created the reed quintet over 30 years ago, Calefax.

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