Featured Composer: Algernon Robinson

AJAlgernon (AJ) Robinson is a broadly gifted musician, having studied voice, violin and piano in addition to composition. After beginning his undergraduate studies with Lowell Lieberman at the Mannes School of Music, AJ transferred to UNCSA, where he is currently a senior in the studio of Lawrence Dillon.

"I knew early on that I was passionate about music," he says. "I started playing piano in elementary school and I thought I would be a concert pianist. I realized in high school, however, that I was much more interested in writing music. Creating things is more enjoyable and fulfilling for me."

In three years at UNCSA, AJ has explored the resources available here in highly personal ways. His "Tableaux" for solo clarinet won a competition sponsored by faculty clarinetist Oskar Espina-Ruiz; the CVNC review called it "nuanced and rich. With sweeping gestures carved from a complex quasi-tonal pitch language, "Tableaux" is a delightful exploration of the various tone colors available to the instrument. Student he may be, but he is already a sophisticated composer with a fine ear."

AJ followed up "Tableaux" with "Reflections," a complex work for viola and electronics recorded by Matthew Albert that balances a wide range of extended techniques and microtonal pitch materials in a convincing, nuanced manner.

AJ's music is often pristine, rhythmically elastic, with an engaging interplay of complementary elements. "Spring," recorded by Eighth Blackbird and soprano Lindsay Kesselman, demonstrates his fine ear for instrumental color and a pleasingly sophisticated harmonic palette. This year, the Attacca String Quartet recorded his personal take on minimalism, "Ascension."

In addition to his musical strengths, AJ has a strong social awareness and sense of responsibility. He is currently working on "Hidden Town," a commissioned music video for string quartet, percussion and dance exploring the historic relationship between Moravian settlers and enslaved people in this region. "Hidden Town" will be featured at the Royal Academy of Music in London in April.

"I especially enjoy collaborating with artists who work in other areas," he says. "One of my ambitions for the near future is to write a short chamber opera that incorporates visual arts and contemporary dance."

To see a sample of Algernon Robinson's music, click on the image below:



To listen to some of his music, visit the following: 

February 01, 2019