The 52nd annual John Donald Robb Concert will feature world-class performances on Friday, March 29, 7:30-9 p.m. at Keller Hall at The University of New Mexico. Admission is free for this all-ages, family-friendly community event.

The show will feature contemporary chamber music by renowned guitarist Daniel Lippel, internationally celebrated composers Tania León and Reiko Füting, world premieres by gifted New Mexico composers Monica Demarco, Juantio Becenti (Diné), Christopher Orphal, and Doug Falk, performances by prominent New Mexico musicians Jacqueline Zander-Wall mezzo-soprano, Jesse Tatum flute, Sally Guenther cello, Debra Ayers and Kristin Ditlow piano, a poetry reading by Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe, and a guitar composition by the prolific John Donald Robb. Attendees can meet the artists at a free reception in Keller Hall following the concert.

symposium 2024 poster

The program includes:

Paisanos Semos (1984) for solo guitar by Tania León (b. 1943)

Heterogeneity (2021) for solo guitar by Doug Falk (b. 1981)

Poetry reading by Laura Tohe (b. 1952), Navajo Nation Poet Laureate

Map Songs (2024) for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello, piano, and electronics by Monica Demarco (b. 1990), poetry by Laura Tohe, a Robb Commission world premiere

Fantasia on Songs from Los Pastores, Op. 40a (1964) for guitar and orchestra (reduction for guitar and piano) by John Donald Robb (1892-1989) dedicated to Cuban guitarist and former UNM professor Héctor García (1930-2022), in celebration of Diane and Jim Bonnell’s 60th wedding anniversary. The Bonnells are longtime patrons of the Robb Trust and Jim has served on its board of directors since 1999.

The Empty (2024) for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello, and piano, dedicated to U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, by Juantio Becenti (b. 1984), text by Renee Podunovich from If There Is A Center, No One Knows Where It Begins, a world premiere

(Less) Simple Studies in Microtonal Scordatura, Vol. 1 - Quartertones (I - V) (2024) for solo guitar by Christopher Orphal (b. 1999), a world premiere

wand-uhr: infinite shadows (Prélude) / Hine ma Tov (2013/2016) for solo guitar by Reiko Füting (b. 1970)

Composers include Juantio Becenti, Monica Demarco, Doug Falk, Reiko Füting, Tania León, Chris Orphal, and John Donald Robb.

Performers are Debra Ayers piano, Monica Demarco electronics, Kristin Ditlow piano, Sally Guenther cello, Daniel Lippel guitar, Jesse Tatum flute, Laura Tohe poet, Jacqueline Zander-Wall mezzo-soprano.

The annual Robb Concert celebrates the life and work of John Donald Robb and is a part of the Robb Symposium Series (previously the John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium), in partnership with UNM Music and the UNM College of Fine Arts. Learn more here.

In 2004, the Robb Trust began an ongoing sponsorship of the creation of newly composed chamber works in honor of John Donald Robb that utilize music from Robb's unique collection of folk music recordings housed in the UNM Libraries’ Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections. Previously called the John Donald Robb Composers' Competition, from 2004 to 2014 works were solicited that utilized music from the archive and prize winners were selected. Since 2016, the Trust has moved to commissioning works based upon music from the archive. The Trust is proud of the growing legacy of remarkable new works connected with Dean Robbs historically significant folk music collection. Learn more here.

The Robb Trust supports the musical legacy of John Donald Robb, furthers his commitment to education, and advances music of the Southwest. Robb served as dean of the UNM College of Fine Arts (1942-57) and was responsible for starting the UNM Symphony and many other initiatives. As a composer, he produced an impressive body of work performed worldwide. His fascination with traditional folk music led him to collect 3,000 field recordings of traditional songs and dances, which are digitally archived at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections.

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