“Supporting the Arts and Education”

The mission of the Ned and Frances Black Fund is to foster creativity in the Arts and Education.  The primary focus is on the creation and dissemination of Contemporary Music.  Projects may include commissions, recordings, performances, publications, broadcasts and other activities.  One targeted focus is the preservation of the legacy of the composer, James Sellars.



June 5-9

Ithaca, New York

Double Bassists Andrew O’Connor, Grant Blaschka, and Zachary Rowden received travel grants to attend the 2017 International Society of Bassists International Convention where they performed Tristan Perich’s double bass quartet, Carbon.



November 14-16

Hartford, Connecticut

Composer Natacha Diels was in a residency at Hog River Music (Hartford CT) to work on one of her signature ‘Nightmare’ pieces for 2 double basses with bassists Robert Black and Zachary Rowden.  The Hartt School Faculty Development Fund commissioned the work.

Natacha Diels



December 6, 7, 8

The Hartt School / Hartford, Connecticut

A 3-concert Memorial Festival was held on the University of Hartford campus to celebrate the life and work of composer, James Sellars.  Alumni and friends from Europe, South American and across the United States joined students and faculty from the Hartt School in presenting 16 works that spanned the creative career of James Sellars.

James Sellars


North Adams, Massachusetts

One Double Bassist will receive a substantial scholarship to attend the 3-week Bang On A Can Summer Institute at MASS MoCA.



The NFBFund will provide the prize money for the biennial David Walter Composition Competition sponsored by the International Society of Bassists. The awards will be given to each winning composer of the Competition’s four catagories: 1) solo double bass, 2) chamber music, 3) double bass ensemble, 4) works with electronic media. For more information about the Competition, click here.



The Swiss composer-performer Marcel Zaes has been commissioned to write an extended work for double bass and electronics. The work is being written for double bassist, Robert Black.

Marcel Zaes



March 21, 2018

St. Mary’s Barnes Church / London, England

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 The Return of the Comet, Three Gertrude Stein Choruses, and the Kissing Songs 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 collaborative dance/theater/music piece, June ne se Quis was created by choreographer/dancer, Katie Stevinson and double bassist Robert Black with financial support from the Hartt School/University of Hartford Faculty Development Fund.  The work will receive a multi-camera, high definition video production in late 2018.



August 18, 2018 - Hog River Gallery, Hartford CT

Singer, songwriter, composer, guitarist, Cole Blu, will be on tour in the Northeastern US in the Fall of 2018. The NFBFund will sposor his performance at the Hog River Gallery in Hartford, Connecticut.

Information coming soon