This weekend kicks off the annual John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium House Music featuring recordings of new music by composition students at The University of New Mexico and local and international composers, as well as interviews and panels. From May 1-4, everyone can enjoy a series of curated videos celebrating the music of contemporary composers and performers specializing in new music interpretation and lectures and master classes.
Music journalist Egbert Hiller said of the event, “An enchanted landscape on the edge of the United States and a place for innovative ideas and sounds that are a result of the exchange between different cultures, this lively new music scene gets to express itself annually at the John Donald Robb Composers Symposium in Albuquerque.”
Since 1972, the internationally renowned symposium has brought composers and musicians from around the world to UNM for a series of public concerts and unique learning opportunities for UNM students.
John Donald Robb (1892-1989) led a rich and varied life as an attorney, composer, arts educator, and folk song collector and preservationist. He composed an impressive body of work including symphonies, concertos, sonatas, chamber and other instrumental music, choral works, songs, and arrangements of folk songs, two operas, including Little Jo, a musical comedy, Joy Comes to Deadhorse, and more than 65 electronic works.
During his tenure at UNM, Robb’s fascination with Hispanic folk music led to his recording of more than 3,000 traditional Hispanic folksongs and dances from the American Southwest and South America, all of which formed the nucleus of the John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music at UNM. He was the author of several books on the subject, including his authoritative book, Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest: A Self Portrait of a People (University of Oklahoma Press, 1980; republished by UNM Press, 2014). Robb received numerous honors and grants, including the honorary Doctor of Music from UNM.
Concerts of the Symposium will stream on the Robb Trust YouTube channel starting Saturday, May 1, at 5 p.m. through Tuesday, May 4, at 7:30 p.m.
The concerts will include music by UNM Department of Music instructors Matt Forte and Patrice Repar, and great performances by tenor Jamie Flora and pianist, harpsichordist, vocal coach and conductor Kristin Ditlow, mezzo-soprano Olga Perez Flora and guitarist Ben Silva, hornist Michael Walker and soprano Katie Dukes (in the Amity Trio), and violist Kim Fredenburgh and oboist Kevin Vigneau (with Toby), among many others local, national, and international.
Saturday, May 1
Concert 1 starts at 5 p.m. Concert 2 is at 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, May 2
The Robb Concert starts at 5 p.m., followed by Concert 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Monday, May 3 ̶ Registration required for Master Classes.
Tuesday, May 4
9:30 a.m. – From Discrimination to Art (Registration required) with trombonist Abbie Conant and UNM alum and composer William Osborne.
12:30 p.m. – Making an Album: From Recording to Release (Registration required) with guitarist Dan Lippel.
2 p.m. – Composition Master Class (Registration required) with composer and vocalist Annika Socolofsky.
7:30 p.m. – Concert 6.