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Michael-Thomas Foumai has been awarded a $12,000 commission from the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University. The new work will be composed for Philadelphia-based flutist Mimi Stillman.

The piece will draw inspiration from the ancient Hawaiian religion. Hawaiian mythology is relatively unknown outside of the islands, but embodies a wealth of rich folklore whose philosophy would serve as the thematic and structural framework. Inspiration of the piece comes from the Hawaiian version of the creation story, a chant known as the Kumulipo (darkness or origin). Hawaiians believed that the origin of life began in darkness and spanning 2012 colorful poetic lines, this chant illustrates the birth of the islands, animals, creatures of the sea and genealogy of the gods and man. The chant is divided into eras (wā), and in each age some form of life is born.


The Board of Directors of the Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard University is pleased to announce the names of twelve composers selected to receive 2014 Fromm commissions. These commissions represent one of the principal ways that the Fromm Music Foundation seeks to strengthen composition and to bring contemporary concert music closer to the public. In addition to the commissioning award, a subsidy is available for the ensemble performing the premiere of the commissioned work. Previous recipients include Luciano Berio, Elliott Carter, Leon Kirchner, Augusta Read Thomas, Gabriela Lena Frank, Chaya Czernowin, Roger Reynolds, David Gompper, and many more of today’s leading composers. 2014 Fromm commissions were awarded to Andy Akiho (New York, NY), Darcy James Argue (Brooklyn, NY), Christopher Cerrone (Brooklyn, New York), Javier Farias (Potomac, Maryland),  Michael-Thomas Foumai (Honolulu, HI), David Fulmer (Lexington, MA), George Lewis (New York, NY), Osnat Netzer(Cambridge, MA), Sam Nichols (Davis, CA), Sam Pluta (New York, NY), Annika Socolofsky (Ann Arbor, MI), Aleksandra Vrebalov (New York, NY).

The Fromm Foundation is the legacy of Paul Fromm (1906-1987), one of the most significant patrons of contemporary art music in the U.S. in the second half of the 20th century. “I want to know you,” Igor Stravinsky once said to Fromm, “because contemporary music has many friends but only a few lovers.” The Foundation recently marked its sixtieth anniversary, and has been housed at Harvard University since 1972. Since the 1950s, it has commissioned well over 300 new compositions and their performances, and has sponsored hundreds of new music concerts and concert series. Among a number of other projects, the Fromm Music Foundation sponsors the annual Fromm Contemporary Music Series at Harvard; this year’s concerts, “Voces de America Latina,” performed by the International Contemporary Ensemble, will take place on On April 17 and 18, 2015 at John Knowles Paine Concert Hall on the Harvard University campus. Applications for commissions are reviewed on an annual basis. The annual deadline for proposals is June 1. Requests for guidelines should be sent to The Fromm Music Foundation at Harvard, Department of Music, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138.

Mimi Stillman:

Fromm Music Foundation:

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