SP.237: The Artist in the World

Instructor: Graham Ramsay, Bldg 24-604, xt. 8-0481

Spring 2007: Class #5, March 8, 2007

Brian Robison, composer


The creative work of Brian Robison reflects his performing experience in a broad range of musical styles. His principal composition teachers were Steven Stucky, Karel Husa, and Roberto Sierra at Cornell University (MFA 1992 and DMA 1999), and Burt Fenner at the Pennsylvania State University (BM 1986). He also studied with Philippe Manoury and Tristan Murail at the famed American Conservatory in Fontainebleau, France, where he was awarded the Maurice Ravel Prize (Prix Maurice Ravel de la ville d'Avon) in August 1991.

Recent awards include composer residencies at Aaron Copland House (2006), the MacDowell Colony (2006), and Norton Island (2005). Additionally, in 2005 a comprehensive “Brian Robison Collection” was initiated as part of the Contemporary Music Research Collection in the Diehn Composers Room at Old Dominion University (Norfolk, VA), to facilitate scholarly investigation of his music.

In July 2000, the American Composers Orchestra named him the winner of the 2000 Whitaker Commission; the new work, In search of the miraculous , received its world premiere performance by the ACO in Carnegie Hall in 2003. A recording of his first work for wind ensemble, The Congress of the Insomniacs , is available on the disc Waking winds (Innova Records 621), in a performance by Dr. Frederick T. Harris, Jr. and the MIT Wind Ensemble, for whom the work was written. Robison also composed and performed the soundtrack to a 1920s short silent film, “Cockeyed,” available in the 3-DVD set More treasures from American film archives, 1894-1931 .

Recent works include new pieces for Boston Musica Viva (premiered 29 Sept 2006) and The Boston Horns (premiere TBA). Dr. Robison currently teaches at the College of the Holy Cross (Worcester, MA) and Northeastern University (Boston, MA). He has also taught at Ithaca College, Cornell University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.



Link to supplemental Biographical Data (the real story is here, folks)


Work Samples


1. A Field Guide to North American Car Alarms

a. Score (PDF)

b. Audio file (MP3)


2. The Congress of the Insomniacs

a. Score (PDF)

b. Audio file (MP3)


©2007 Experimental Study Group, Massachusetts Institute of Technology