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The Center for Latter-day Saint Arts awards the Ariel Bybee endowment

S. Andrew Lloyd wearing a black shirt and looking seriously into the camera.
The Center for Latter-day Saint Arts

S. Andrew Lloyd is an assistant professor of organ and composition at University of Texas San Antonio.

Lloyd was chosen by 10 jurists to receive the Ariel Bybee endowment through the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts. The endowment was created in honor of Ariel Bybee, who was a mezzo in the Metropolitan Opera and died in 2018.

The contest for the endowment centered around giving a composer the opportunity to compose an art piece specifically for soprano Rachel Willis-Sørenson to sing.

A renowned opera singer, Willis-Sørensen has performed at opera houses around the world from LA Opera to Opéra national de Paris, and is known for her diverse repertoire ranging from Mozart to Wagner.

Willis-Sørensen herself sat on the panel of jurists who chose the winner.

“We decided on S. Andrew Lloyd. And then he wrote this cycle for me of five songs," Willis-Sørensen said "I'm so excited about them. It tells a beautiful story of the struggle that you experience against yourself and then ultimately the relaxation and surrender to the truth that exists within you.”

The piece Lloyd wrote through the endowment is titled Amaranthine, and it was performed by Willis-Sørenson for its world premiere at New York City’s Carnegie Hall on April 8.

Along with Amaranthine, Willis-Sorenson also performed pieces by Strauss and song cycles by Rachmaninoff, Beach and more.

Lloyd said the piece he wrote for Willis-Sørenson was based on the poem The Hound of Heaven by Francis Thompson.

“The poem basically follows an individual who's running from the presence of God, and it paints God as the eternal pursuer, God is relentlessly pursuing this individual. And in the end, the individual surrenders,” Lloyd said.

Willis-Sørensen said she hopes to be able to perform the piece again.

Caitlin Keith is a general news reporter at UPR. She is from Lindon, Utah and is currently an undergrad student studying print journalism at USU. Caitlin loves to write and tell people’s stories. She is also a writer at the Utah Statesman. She loves to read, ski, play the cello and watch various TV shows.