First Nights


For twenty-one years the Fromm Foundation has provided support for the commissioning and performance of a new work by a living composer as the culminating event in Professor Thomas Forrest Kelly’s Harvard course “First Nights.” The course considers the premiere performances of five famous pieces in the Western canon. The culminating premiere of a new commission at the end of the course has been an opportunity for the Foundation to support new work and provide high quality performances to several generations of students. Professor Kelly taught his final First Nights class in the fall of 2016.

Copies of the scores of all works are on deposit in the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library.

Composers and Titles of Commissions for “First Nights”

1995 Jeff Nichols, Riot Act
1996 Thomas Oboe Lee, Poema de Natal
1997 Anthony Brandt, Songs for soprano and string quartet
1997 Karim al-Zand, Winter Scenes
1998 Kathryn Alexander, Lemon Drops
1999 David Horne, You
2000 Elliott Gyger, As the Wind Moves Through the Harp
2001 Joshua Fineberg, Veils
2002 Martin Brody, String trio
2003 Michael Gandolfi, Resonance Frames
2004 Arlene Zallman, Un re in ascolto
2005 Kayhan Kalhor, Silent City
2006 Dmitri Tymoczko, Four Dreams
2007 Hans Tutschku, Einst mit Dir
2008 (on leave: no course)
2009 Keeril Makan, Becoming Unknown
2010 Elena Ruehr, Sixth Quartet, I. The Sea
2011 Matthew Aucoin, Music for Mike
2012 Richard Beaudoin, Le fille dérivee
2013 Rick Burkhardt, TED
2014 Osnat Netzer, Irrefutable Tautologies
2015 Ronald Perera, When Music Sounds
2016 Matthew Aucoin, Its Own Accord