Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians

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Fox, Donal (Leonellis)

Fox, Donal (Leonellis), pianist; b. Boston, MA, 17 July 1952. His father is Herbert L. Fox, born January 6, 1930, Boston, MA.  Studied music composition at Boston University, receiving his BA in music composition, before turning to research in acoustic physics and earning his Doctorate in Physics.  His father (Donal's paternal Grandfather), Daniel Fox, was born in Russia of Jewish decent. Donal's mother is Lodiana E. Fox, Jan 10, 1927, Panama City, Panama.  Played and studied violin in Panama.  Came to America in 1946 to study at Boston University, where she received her masters degree in philosophy and met my father. His sister is Ena Fox, July 30, 1954, Boston MA, studied sculpture and painting at Cooper Union, Director of Art Education at the Institute for Contemporary Art. His brother is Thaddeus Fox, April 23, 1956, Boston, MA, played trombone in the high school band, is comptroller and computer programmer by trade. His other brother is Brian Fox, December 11, 1959, Boston, MA, plays fusion electric bass with various bands, is a computer programmer by trade.

Donal attended the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), Prepatory Department, Boston, MA, 1962-1964; Berklee College of Music, Boston, MA, summer, 1968; and Berkshire Music Center at Tanglewood, Lenox, MA, summer, 1969, where he studied jazz improvisation with David Baker and classical composition. He had early piano studies with Edna Nitkin (who beat Leonard Bernstein in piano competition), l960-l962. His principal piano teacher was Jeanette Giguere 1963-1972. Avram David (solfege, counterpoint, fugue, form and analyses. composition, 1972-1974
Composition, harmony, orchestration with Dr. T.J. Anderson, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 1975-1976. He studied composition, orchestration, and conducting with Dr. Gunther Schuller, Newton, MA, 1977-1982.

Recent commissions have included premiere performances with the Bang on a Can Festival in New York, the Boston Ballet, Videmus, Westdeutscher Rundfunk KSln, Germany, and the "Sixty Seconds Project," sponsored by the Paris New Music Review.  From 1991 to 1992, he served as composer-in residence with the St. Louis Symphony (Leonard Slatkin, music director).  In the l993-94 season, Mr. Fox was a special guest artist at the Library of Congress in a program that was recorded by National Public Radio, and was a visiting artist at Harvard University where he received a Certificate of Recognition from the President of Harvard College for his contribution to the arts.  In the 1998-1999 season he was featured concert artist with the Richmond Symphony (VA) where he gave the world premiere performance of Anthony M. Kelley's piano concerto Africamerica.  The concerto asked for Mr. Fox to compose and improvise four cadenzas and many solo passages, bridging both jazz and classical styles inherent in the concerto. 

Fox is also busy as pianist, including performances with the Richmond Symphony, solo recitals at Merkin Concert Hall, New York, Knitting Factory Main stage, Duke University Encounters Series, and jazz trio performances of his "Monk and Bach" and "Blues on Bach" series at the 2001-2002 Regattabar Jazz Festivals, USA.  He has recorded as composer and pianist for New World Records, Evidence Records, Music & Arts, Yamaha's Original Artist Series, and Wergo Records.

Fox's "Jazz Duet Series" has included concerts and collaborations with alto saxophonist Oliver Lake, tenor saxophonist John Stubblefield, tenor saxophonist Billy Pierce, tenor saxophonist/bass clarinetist David Murray, multi-instrumentalist, guitarist Elliott Sharp, jazz violinist Regina Carter, and poet/authors Quincy Troupe and Miquel Algarin.  In l998, Mr. Fox received a Fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation for a residency in Italy at the Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities for advanced creative work and scholarly research and in 1999 and 2001 was nominated for a CalArts/Alpert Award in the Arts.

He has held several positions as composer-in-residence and artist-in-residence with number of artistic organizations including Composer-in-residence, Djerassi Resident Artists Program, l999; Composer-in-residence, Liguria Study Center for the Arts and Humanities, Italy, l998; Composer-in-residence, faculty, pianist, Summer Stages at Concord Academy, 1996-1998; Composer-in-residence, Spencer/Colton Dance Company, 1993-1994; Visiting artist, lecturer, composer, pianist, Harvard University, l993; Composer-in residence, pianist, conductor, Videmus, 1992-1994; Composer-in-residence, pianist, conductor, St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (Leonard Slatkin, music director), 1991-1993; Artist-in-residence, Tobin Middle School for the Arts, Boston MA, l985-l986; Composer-in-residence, Tanglewood Contemporary Music Festival, l983; Conductor, composer-in-residence, co-founder, Fox/Hubbard Concert Series, 1974-1976; and Pianist, artist-in-residence, Elma Lewis School, Roxbury, MA, 1972-1974. 

Selected Works (Performances, Publications):
Refutation And Hypothesis I, a Treatise for Piano Solo (1981).  Duration:  12 minutes. Premiere:  February 1985, Collage Boston Symphony's contemporary music ensemble, Stephen Drury, piano, Sanders Theater, Cambridge, MA.  Publisher:  Margun Music, Inc. (l982)
Refutation And Hypothesis II, for Chamber Orchestra (1983) for two grand pianos, drum set, trumpet, horn, two trombones, two violins, viola, violoncello, and double bass.  Commissioned by the Fromm Foundation at Harvard and the Berkshire Music Center.  Premiere:  August 1983, Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music, Tanglewood Music Center Orchestra, George Hanson, conductor, Lenox, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Dialectics For Two Grand Pianos (1988) Commissioned by the Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities, Heritage Program Award. Dedication:  Vivian Taylor.  Premiere:  April 1991, Videmus chamber music ensemble, Vivian Taylor and John McDonald, pianos, Tufts University, Medford, MA.  Publisher:  Margun Music, Inc. (l992).  Recording:  New World Records, 80423-2 (1992).
Children Songs For Solo Piano, beginner to intermediate (1989) Commissioned by Dr. Faina Bryanskaya, for Dr. Bryanskaya's piano method, The Key to Music Making, parts II and III.  Premiere:  March 1989, National Teachers Association, Music Workshop.  Publisher:  White Lilac Press, Providence, RI.
Concert Etude No 1 (1989) for piano.  Commissioned by Videmus. Dedication:  T.J. Anderson for the occasion of his 60th birthday.  Premiere:  March 31, 1989, Donal Fox, piano, Sander's Theater, Cambridge, MA.  Concert performance videotaped by WGBH T.V. Ch 2, Boston, MA.
Toccata For Two Solo Violins (1990).  Duration:  8 minutes.  Commissioned by Project Step, Inc. Dedication:  Joseph Silverstein.  Premiere:  March 29, 1992, Dinosaur Annex contemporary music ensemble, Dianne Pettipaw and Anne Black, violins, First and Second Church, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Duetto For Clarinet And Piano (1991) Commissioned by Videmus for New World Records.  Premiere:  November 1991, Eric Thomas, clarinet, Donal Fox, piano, African Meeting House, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  New World Records 804232 (1992).
Four Chords From T.J.'S Intermezzi (1991) for piano.  Commissioned by Videmus. Dedication:  T.J. Anderson.  Premiere:  November 1991, Donal Fox, piano, African Meeting House, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  New World Records, 80423-2 (1992).
Jazz Sets And Tone Rows (1991) for alto saxophone and piano. Commissioned by Videmus.  Duration:  7 minutes.  Premiere:  November 1991, Oliver Lake, alto saxophone, Donal Fox, piano, African Meeting House, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  New World Records, 80423-2 (1992).
Jazz Sets With T.T. (1991) for alto saxophone and piano. Commissioned by Videmus.  Duration:  8 minutes.  Premiere:  November 1991, Oliver Lake, alto saxophone, Donal Fox, piano, African Meeting House, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  New World Records, 80515-2 (1997).
Chamber Improvisation I (1992) for piccolo/flute, vibraphone, trumpet, trombone, violin, violoncello, and piano.  Duration:  10 minutes.  Commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony Discovery Series.  Premiere:  January 13, 1992, St. Louis Symphony Chamber Players, Donal Fox, conductor and pianist, Sheldon Concert Hall, St. Louis, MO.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Chamber Improvisation II (1992) for flute, clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello, percussion, and piano.  Duration:  10 minutes.  Commissioned by Dinosaur Annex.  Premiere:  March 29, 1992, Donal Fox, conductor and pianist, First and Second Church, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Piano Concerto For Piano And Orchestra (work under revision). Commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin, music director and conductor.  Dedication:  Leonard Slatkin.  Original premiere date: March, 1995.
Chamber Improvisation III (1992) for voice, clarinet/bass clarinet, violin, violoncello, percussion, and piano.  Duration:  12 minutes. Commissioned by the St. Louis Symphony Discovery Series.  Premiere:  October 19, 1992, St. Louis Symphony Chamber Players, Donal Fox, conductor and pianist, Sheldon Performing Arts Center, St. Louis, MO.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Ballade For Clarinet And Piano (l993) for clarinet and piano.  Commissioned by WGBH Radio for "Off the Record," Richard Knisley, producer.  Premiere:  March l993, Eric Thomas, clarinet, Donal Fox, piano, WGBH radio, Boston.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  New World Records, 80515-2 (l997).
Chamber Improvisation IIIa (1993) for voice, flute, clarinet, violins guitar, double bass, harp, and piano.  Duration:  14 minutes.  Commissioned by Tufts University New Music Festival.  Premiere:  March 12, 1993, New Music Ensemble at Tufts, Donal Fox, conductor and pianist, Tufts University, Medford, MA.
Vamping With T.T. (1993) for bass clarinet and piano.  Commissioned by WGBH Educational Foundation.  Premiere:  March 24, 1993, David Murray, bass clarinet, Donal Fox, piano, Say Brother, WGBH/PBS TV, Channel 2, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  Evidence Records, ECD-22131-2 (1995).
Becca's Ballad (1993) for tenor saxophone and piano.  Commissioned by WGBH Educational Foundation.  Premiere:  March 24, 1993, David Murray, bass clarinet, Donal Fox, piano, Say Brother, WGBH/PBS TV, Channel 2, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  Evidence Records, ECD-22131-2 (1995).
Letting Go for full orchestra (1993).  Duration:  10 minutes.  Commissioned by the Little Orchestra of Cambridge, Adam Grossman, music director.  Premiere:  March 28, 1993, Little Orchestra of Cambridge, Donal Fox, conductor, Cambridge Multicultural Arts Center, Cambridge, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
T-Cell Countdown (l993) for voice, piano, and double bass.  Duration:  4 minutes.  Commissioned by the Bermuda Triangle for the Political Songbook Project.  Dedication:  Julius Hemphill.  Premiere:  May 25, 1993, Bermuda Triangle, Dora Ohrenstein, soprano, Kathy Supove, piano, Robert Black, double bass; Bang On A Can Festival, New York, NY.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  New World Records, 80515-2 (l997).
Chamber Improvisation Iv (1993) for soprano, flute, clarinet, violin, viola, violoncello, percussion, and piano.  Duration:  15 minutes. Commissioned by the Boston Musica Viva.  Premiere:  September 17, 1993, Boston Musica Viva, Donal Fox, conductor and pianist, Tsai Performance Center, Boston, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
River Town Packin House Blues, The Old People Speak Of Death, Following The North Star Boogaloo (l993) for piano and poet.  Duration:  15 minutes.  Commissioned by WGBH radio and Videmus.  Premiere:  November 15, l993, Quincy Troupe, poet/reader, Donal Fox, piano, Longy School of Music, Cambridge, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  New World Records, 80515-2 (l997).
Gone City, Ballet in Three Movements (1993-94) for clarinet, piano, and double bass.  Choreography:  Amy Spencer and Richard Colton.  Lighting Design:  Peter West.  Duration: 23 minutes.  Commissioned by Boston Ballet's Choreographer-Composer Collaborations Project.  Premiere:  July 21, 1994, Spencer/Colton Dance Company, Gone City Trio, Eric Thomas, clarinet, Donal Fox, piano, John Lockwood, double bass, Harvard Summer Dance Center, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA. Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recording:  New World Records, 80515-2 (l997)
Four Chords Revisited (1995) for piano.  Commissioned by Tufts University Department of Music for their 100th Celebration Concert.  Premiere:  February 24, 1995, Donal Fox, piano, Cohen Hall, Tufts University, Medford, MA.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
The Demon (1995) for Saxophone and piano.  Commissioned by the International Ottawa Jazz Festival and the SociZtZ Radio-Canada.  Dedication:  Jacques Emond.  Premiere:  July 16, l995, Billy Pierce, tenor saxophone, Donal Fox, piano, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, Canada.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.  Recordings:  SociZtZ Radio-Canada, CBC/SRC.
The Scream (l996) for piano.  Commissioned by The Paris New Music Review (The Sixty Seconds Project).  Dedication:  Guy Livingston.  World Premiere:  February 11, l998, Guy Livingston piano, Thom Theater, Stellenbosch, South Africa.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music. Recording:  Wergo Records, 6649-2 (2001)
Variations For Clarinet And Piano (l997). Commissioned by Thomas Piercy.  Premiere:  February 13, l997, Thomas Piercy, clarinet, Donal Fox, piano; Greenwich House Music School, Renee Weiler Recital Hall, New York, NY.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Variations On Schoenberg's Violin Phantasy, Op. 47 (l998).  Commissioned by Steinway Pianos, M. Steinert & Sons Co.  Dedication:  Marianne Jenson.  Premiere:  August 6, l998, Donal Fox, piano, Steinert Hall, Boston, MA.  Publisher: Leonellis Music.
Cadenzas And Segues (1999), a collaborative work for piano and orchestra with Anthony Kelley's Africamerica.  Duration 18 minutes.  Orchestration and thematic material by Anthony Kelley. Cadenzas and improvisations by Donal Fox.  Commissioned by the Richmond Symphony Orchestra.  Premiere:  May 24, l999, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, George Manahan, Conductor, Donal Fox, piano, Carpenter Center for the Performing Arts, Richmond, VA.  Publishers:  Myrmecoid Music and Leonellis Music.  Recording:  National Public Radio, Richmond, VA.
Music For Djerassi Documentary Film (1999).  Commissioned by Westdeutscher Rundfunk KSln and Dr. Claus Spahn.  Director:  Dr. Claus Spahn. Producer:  Friedhelm Maye.  Editor:  Heribert Schwan.  Premiere:  February, 2000 on Westdeutscher Rundfunk KSln, TV broadcast, KSln, Germany.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music. 
Variations On A Theme By Mozart For Orchestra (2000).  Commissioned by the Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, on the occasion of its twenty-fifth anniversary season.  Premiere:  May 21, 2000, Cambridge Symphony Orchestra, Adam Grossman, conductor, Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, Cambridge, MA.  Publishers:  Leonellis Music.
Fox Meets Bud On Bach (2000).  Commissioned by Duke University Department of Music:  Encounters with the Music of Our Time.  Dedication:  Anthony Kelley.  Premiere: October 21, 2000, Donal Fox, piano, Nelson Music Room, Duke University, Durham, NC  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Spangled Banner Fractured (2000)  Commissioned by World Music Institute and Thomas Buckner.  Dedication:  Liz Berseth.  Premiere: November 16, 2000, Donal Fox, piano, Merkin Concert Hall, New York, NY.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music.
Sixty-Second Etude Variations (2001).  Commissioned by The Paris New Music Review on the occasion of Wergo Schallplatten USA record release of The Sixty Seconds Project with royalties and proceeds donated to MZdecins sans Frontieres.  Premiere by Donal Fox, piano, The Knitting Factory Main Stage, New York, NY, July 25, 2001.
Toccata On Bach (2001).  Commissioned by Frederick Moyer.  Premiere: February 3, 2002, Frederick Moyer, piano, Palladian Society, Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, FL.  Publisher:  Leonellis Music
Inventions In Blue (2002) for piano, double bass and percussion.  Commissioned by the 17th Annual Regattabar Jazz Festival USA.  Dedication:  Harold Selinsky.  Premiere:  March 23, 2002, Donal Fox, piano, John Lockwood, double bass, Yoron Israel, Percussion, Regattabar Jazz Club, Charles Hotel, Cambridge MA. Publisher:  Leonellis Music. 

Recordings:
Boston Duets (with Oliver Lake) (1992); Videums: Works by T.J. Anderson, David Baker, Donal Fox, Olly Wilson (1992); Donal Fox/Billy Pierce Duo (1994); Ugly Beauty (1995); Mellow Mood (1996); Gone City (1997); Monk and Bach (2000); Blues On Bach (2001); Don't Panic! 60 Seconds For Piano (2001); Inventions In Blue (2002)
As sideperson:
Ran Blake: Portfolio of Doktor Mabuse (1983); The Oliver Lake String Project: Movement, Turns & Switches; The Urge Four Tet: 21st Century Decisions (1994)

Television:
Donal Fox And David Murray In Session, PBS Television, Say Brother, WGBH TV; The Fox/Troupe Project, PBS Television, Say Brother, WGBH TV Boston (1994); Three For Malcolm, PBS Television,  Say Brother, WGBH TV, Boston (1993)

Radio Broadcasts:
JazzSets, NPR, hosted by Branford Marsalis (1992); SociZtZ Radio-Canada, CBC/SRC, Donal Fox/Billy Pierce Duo, International Ottawa Jazz Festival, National Gallery of Canada (1995); The Connection, NPR, hosted by BBC correspondent Judy Swallow. (2001); Eric in the Evening (numerous radio interviews), hosted by Eric Jackson, WGBH FM, Boston MA,  (1990 to present); Eassy of Note, hosted by Bill Banfield, WCAL FM, Minnesota, "Piano: An Instrument of Choice," "Music Swung Another Way" (2002)

Soundtracks:
Music For Djerassi Documentary  (1999)

Unissued recordings:
Donal Fox:  Live At Merkin Concert Hall (2000)

Bibliography:
Books and Monographs:
Banfield, William C. Landscapes in Color: Conversations with Black Composers. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press, Inc., 2002.
Selected Articles on Donal Fox:
Sandow, Greg.  "View From the East:  The Talented Donal Fox"  New Music Box, November, 2001
Robicheau, Paul.  "Roll Over, Chopin:  Donal Fox Has No Problem Defying Genre Lines And Jazzing Up The Classical Canon."  The Improper Bostonian, October 2000.
Bouchard, Fred. "Confounding The Genre Police." Down Beat, October, 1998.
Blumenthal, Bob. "Pianist Donal Fox Crosses The Boundaries."  The Boston Globe, April 26, l996.
Rankovic, Catherine. "Donal Fox: Composer, Musician, Pianist and Improviser."  The St. Louis American, March 19, l992.
Wierzbicki, James. "Classical Artists Show A Bent For Improvisation."  St. Louis Post-Dispatch, January 15, l992.
Young, Bob.  "Hub Composer Fuses Jazz, Classical."  The Boston Herald, April 2, l991.

Websites:
http://www.schirmer.com/composers/foxd/
http://www.leonellismusic.com
http://archives.theconnection.org/archive/2001/03/0315b.shtml
http://www.newmusicbox.org/page.nmbx?id=31nw00v1

Awards:
Fellow, CalArts/Alpert Award/Ucross Foundation (2002)
Fellow, Djerassi Foundation (1999)
Fellow, Bogliasco Foundation, Italy (l998)
Fellow, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (l997)
Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant, l995
Meet the Composer/Rockefeller Foundation/National Endowment of the Arts Grant, l991
Project Step, Inc., l989
Fellow, Massachusetts Artists Foundation, l988
Fellow, Ludwig Vogelstein Foundation, l987
Massachusetts Council on the Arts and Humanities/Heritage Program Award, l986
Massachusetts Council on the Arts, l985
Fellow, St. Botolph Club Foundation, l984
Fromm Foundation at Harvard/Berkshire Music Center Award, l982

Contact information:
Leonellis Music
14 Highland Park Ave
Boston, MA 02119 USA
Tel/Fax: (617) 427-6539
E-mail: dfoxmu@aol.com
www.leonellismusic.com
www.schirmer.com/composer/foxd

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