ROCO is pleased to present the world premiere commission of Rick Robinson’s “Getcha Groove On” (sponsored by The Wortham Foundation).
During two decades playing double bass in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO), Rick Robinson began resetting the context of classical music for a broader community. In 2012 Robinson left the DSO sanctuary to show musicians across the country clever ways to share symphonic music casually and effectively. This pragmatic attitude is fully expressed in his CutTime® Productions artistic enterprise.
Born into a fourth-generation musical family in Detroit, Robinson began to excel and lead at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Cleveland Institute of Music and New England Conservatory. He held principal positions in the Akron and Canton (OH) and Portland (ME) symphony orchestras as well as the Boston Pops Esplanade with composer John Williams. Robinson won the Haddonfield concerto competition in 1986, gave ambitious annual solo recitals and secretly studied conducting. He became a substitute for both the Boston and Detroit symphony orchestras (1987-1989) when Robinson was invited to immediately join DSO in 1989 to resolve a political demand by two Michigan state legislators.
In 1995 Robinson launched CutTime Players, a premiere eight-piece ensemble of DSO musicians performing The Soldier’s Tale and clever transcriptions of famous masterpieces both locally and outstate. In a hundred concerts and workshops, they collaborated to pioneer lively programs maximizing the joy, mechanics and potential for meaning that refresh art music. Robinson publishes 70% of these works as CutTime Players Publishing (ASCAP).
Magically Robinson began composing conventional and emotional classical works after a waking dream in 1999 and DSO premiered this grand symphonic Essay After Sibelius in 2006. He then took up writing for a string sextet and by 2010 launched the ensemble with DSO principals called CutTime Simfonica. The first dozen mature works progress from Schubertian to a mix with R&B. Featuring “fleshy-Romantic textures”, they won him a Kresge Fellowship in 2010. Alternating juicy counterpoint with urban, pop and folk grooves, Robinson creates smooth on-ramps for new audiences. Critic Jeffrey Rossman of CVNC called him, “a modern-day Dvorak… [whose] compositional skills are quite exceptional. His erudite and passionate verbal remarks were as moving as the beautifully crafted and emotional music.”
With his music and mission fully in place, Robinson began to partner with Classical Revolution (CR) to launch chapters in Detroit and Grand Rapids. He also launched a budget CutTime String Quartet in 2010. CR began as a series in San Francisco in 2006, organizing relaxed readings and concerts in non- traditional spaces. This became a worldwide, grassroots movement and the ideal format for CutTime to develop new ways to share classical music. Also known as Mr. CutTime, Robinson is pioneering possible new business models while helping his industry find its way in the new economy.