Robb’s concert will feature music, poetry, artist meet-and-greets: UNM Newsroom

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

The show will feature contemporary chamber music by renowned guitarist Daniel Lippel, internationally renowned composers Tania León and Reiko Füting, world premieres by talented New Mexico composers Monica Demarco, Juantio Becenti (Diné), Christopher Orphal and Doug Falk, performance by New Mexico standouts. 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.

2024 symposium 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), Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation

Songs of the Map (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’s 60th wedding anniversary and Jim Bonnell. The Bonnells are long-standing patrons of the Robb Trust and Jim has served on its board of directors since 1999.

Empty (2024) for mezzo-soprano, flute, cello and piano, dedicated to US 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 beginsa world premiere

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

Wall clock: endless shadows (PrItcrazy)/ Come on 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.

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 part of the Robb Symposium Series (formerly 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 works in honor of John Donald Robb that use music from Robb’s unique collection of folk music recordings housed in the UNM Libraries’ Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections. Formerly called the John Donald Robb Composer Competition, from 2004 to 2014 works that used music from the archive were solicited and award winners selected. Since 2016, the Trust has switched to commissioning works based on music from the archive. The Trust is proud of the growing legacy of wonderful new works associated with Dean Robbhistorically important collection of popular music. Learn more here.

The Robb Trust supports the musical legacy of John Donald Robb, continues his commitment to education and advances the music of the Southwest. Robb served as dean of UNM’s 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 around the world. His fascination with traditional folk music led him to collect 3,000 field recordings of traditional songs and dances, which have been digitally archived at the Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections.

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