Augsburg News

News Archives - 2003

Augsburg College professor, Carol Barnett, receives high honor

Dec. 8, 2003

Carol Barnett, Augsburg music professor Carol Barnett, Augsburg music professor and composition instructor, was awarded the 2003 Nancy Van de Vate International Composition Prize for Opera from the Vienna Masterworks for her work, Snow. The opera, for which she did her own libretto, is in one act and five scenes. It lasts 68 minutes and is scored for six singers and a chamber ensemble of eight players. The prize was $1000 and publication of her winning work.

The opera is based on a short story by Russian author Konstantin Paustovsky. Barnett became attracted to the story while studying and translating Russian text as a student. She filed it away until 1991, when she revisited the text and was inspired to create Snow. This being Barnett's first opera, she drew on her experience and observations playing flute and piccolo for the Minneapolis-based Children's Theatre Company for the theatrical element needed for such a piece.

Carol Barnett, a flutist as well as composer, is a graduate of the University of Minnesota where she studied with Dominick Argento, Paul Fetler, and Bernhard Weiser. In 1991 she was a fellow at the Camargo Foundation in Cassis, France, and in 1999 she was awarded a travel grant from the Inter-University Research Committee on Cyprus. She was Composer in residence with the Dale Warland Singers from 1992 to 2001.

Her works have been performed by the Minnesota Orchestra, the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, the Gregg Smith Singers, the Harvard Glee Club, the Womens Philharmonic, the Dale Warland Singers, and the Ankor Childrens Choir of Jerusalem, Israel, among others. Her current projects are numerous and include working on a recording of Snow. She has also been commissioned to write a piece for the final performance of the 25th anniversary year of the popular "Music in the Park" series in St. Anthony Park and her latest piece, written for choir and percussion, will be performed by the South Bend Chamber Singers in Oregon.

Barnett enjoys her role teaching composition to music students at Augsburg. It provides an opportunity for her and her students to do a great deal of exploring and listening to some of the vast amounts of wonderful musical material already in existence, in addition to learning how to create new pieces of their own.