By MAUREEN JONES
The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers has chosen two BYU School of Music professors to receive its 1997 award.
Thomas Durham, associate director of the School of Music, and Mack Wilberg, professor of choral music, were selected by an ASCAP independent panel of judges to receive cash awards for their efforts in music composition.
Frances Richards, the director of the symphony and concert department for ASCAP, said it is a performing rights society that protects the copyrights of the composers, authors and publishers who are its members.
The awards acknowledge “composers who have distinguished themselves for writing,” Richards said.
The awards are based on the composer’s activity for the previous year, Richards said. They are also awarded on the basis of “the strength of the catalog (of music) and the prestige it lends to classical music.” She said the competition for the awards is tough and intense.
“BYU has a very distinguished school of music,” Richards said. The awards are a great honor.
“It is nice to be noticed,” Durham said concerning the award. Durham has published 17 choral pieces and in the past year has had five of his compositions performed by the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, of which he is a member.
Durham said he mainly composes sacred choral music.
Wilberg, the director of Men’s Chorus and Concert Choir, said he composes his music for his own use or for the needs of others. He said that he often uses his compositions in these choirs.
Durham said he arranges a lot of music. He tries to modify music to make “a more concise, crisp text that has some sort of special message.”
Wilberg said he works with arrangement as well as composing.
The awards are given to members of ASCAP, Richards said. Members can file a form for the award and the panel of judges reviews each application.
ASCAP attempts to look at both pop music and standard or concert music in determining the awards, Richards said.
Wilberg and Durham won the awards in the standard category.
According to a news release, the judges that make up the panel are an assortment of music professors, musicians and music critics.