Seamus Heaney, a Nobel Prize laureate in literature with a long connection to Harvard, will read his 1986 “Villanelle for an Anniversary” at this year’s Commencement ceremonies. The reading — during Morning Exercises May 24 — will cap a yearlong celebration of the 375th anniversary of Harvard College. Heaney wrote and delivered the poem in commemoration of the 350th anniversary. There is an extra touch this year: The reading will be followed by the world premiere of “Villanelle for an Anniversary,” an a cappella work written by Preceptor in Music Richard Beaudoin, an American composer in his fourth year on the faculty of the Department of Music. Set to Heaney’s text, the four and a half-minute piece was commissioned by Harvard President Drew Faust, the first commissioning of a new work during her tenure and the first such commissioning by a Harvard president in decades. “I’ve been here long enough that the poem means something...
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