awards 2018*


Marcel Zaes

Swiss composer-performer Marcel Zaes has been commissioned to write an extended work for double bass and electronics.  Moments of Doubt is a 5-channel piece that can be performed live or presented as an installation.  The work was written for double bassist, Robert Black.


On Wednesday, March 21, 2018, The Barnes Festival presented a memorial/celebration concert of James Sellars’ music at St. Mary’s Barnes Church in London, England.  The program consisted of James Sellars's Return of the Comet, The Kissing Songs and Stein Chorsus along with music by Roxanna Panufnik, Samuel Barber, Johannes Brahms, and Leonard Bernstein.

Performers were Guy Protheroe-conductor, Lisa Nelsen-flute, David Campbell-clarinet, Alexander Balanescu-violin, Ian Belton-violin, Levine
Andrade-viola, Sophie Harris-cello, Martin Henderson-double bass, Julian Jacobson-keyboard, and the members of the English Chamber Choir.

The Ned and Frances Black Fund thanks Guy Protheroe and Anne Manley for their tireless work in organizing and presenting this concert.


The Ned and Frances Black Fund provided the prize money for the biennial David Walter Composition Competition sponsored by the International Society of Bassists.

This year's winners the Competition’s four categories were:

  • solo double bass: Hydra Nightingale by Caroline Louise Miller
  • chamber music: Shadow Confrontations (for string quintet) by Tony Solitro
  • double bass ensemble: Soundings (for bass quartet) by Robert Gibson
  • works with electronic media: Hometown by Luis Augusto Da Fonseca

For more information about the Competition, click here.


Will Yager-bass / Stephanie Berger-photo

The Robert Black Foundation Bass Scholarship is awarded annually to one double bassist to attend the 3-week Bang On A Can Summer Institute at MASS MoCA, North Adams, Massachusetts.

Bang On A Can processes applications and selects the awardee. Apply here.

The 2018 awardee is Will Yager.


Singer, songwriter, composer, guitarist, Cole Blu, was on tour in the Northeastern US in the Fall of 2018. The Ned and Frances Black Fund sponsored his August 18, 2018 performance at the Hog River Gallery in Hartford, Connecticut.


*The 2018 awards were made by the Ned and Frances Black Fund.  In 2019, this Fund was incorporated as the Robert Black Foundation.