Donal Fox

Donal Fox

Internationally acclaimed classical jazz composer, improviser and pianist.

Visiting Scholar 2009-2011

Hosted by Prof. Peter Child, Department of Music & Theatre Arts

Donal Fox is an internationally acclaimed classical jazz composer, improviser and pianist.


Donal Fox is an internationally acclaimed classical and jazz composer, improviser and pianist. The Boston-born musician received early training at the New England Conservatory of Music and then at Berklee College of Music in the summer of 1968. The following summer, he received a scholarship to study at the Tanglewood Music Center, where he wrote classical music and performed jazz and classical piano in the presence of Leonard Bernstein and Gunther Schuller.

Among his awards are a 1997 Guggenheim Fellowship in music composition and a 1998 Fellowship from the Bogliasco Foundation. He was also nominated for the CalArts/Alpert Awards in the Arts and was the first African-American composer-in-residence with the St. Louis Symphony, from 1991 to 1992. As a visiting artist at Harvard University, he received a Certificate of Recognition from the President of
Harvard College for his contribution to the arts. In 2008, he was awarded the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Letters Academy Award in Music, and annual prize awarded to composers of "exceptional accomplishment" and "outstanding artistic achievement."

Throughout his two years as an MLK Visiting Scholar at MIT Mr. Fox was hosted by Prof. Peter Child in the Department of Music & Theatre Arts and taught Musical Improvisation (21M.335). Mr. Fox’s goal is to “revive the tradition of improvisation that characterized the performance of great composers of the past, Bach, Mozart, Liszt, and many others, but that is rare today.”




Human Diversity and Social Order Forum Series: "Fruits of Diversity" (MIT150 Symposium, 2/10/11)  

"May, Mbiti, and Fox are MLK Visiting Scholars for 2010-11" (MIT News, 9/19/10)

"MIT welcomes 8 MLK visiting professors and scholars" (MIT News, 9/17/10)

"Standing ovation at Carnegie Hall for MLK Visiting Scholar Donal Fox World premiere of his concerto 'Peace Out' (MIT News, 12/7/09)

"Fusion is not only happening in labs at MIT: Martin Luther King Jr. Visiting Artist Donal Fox teaches MIT students to bridge musical genres" (MIT News, 11/6/09)




Premiere Performance | Piazzolla to Bach Project 
Donal Fox Quartet with cellist Maya Beiser
Tanglewood | Lenox, Massachusetts
Labor Day Weekend Jazz Festival
September 5, 2010 | Seiji Ozawa Hall | 8 pm

Celebrating 73 summers at Tanglewood in the Berkshire Hills of Lenox, Massachusetts, the 2010 season comes to a close with the Labor Day Weekend Jazz Festival, featuring the Donal Fox Quartet with cellist Maya Beiser. In this BSO video podcast, Fox discusses his "Piazzolla to Bach Project," which will premiere at Seji Ozawa Hall, September 5, 2010.