Saturday, October 10, 2015

John O. Robison: Musicologist

John O. Robison
School of Music

On Thursday this past week, I met John O. Robison, a musicologist at the University of South Florida who has made himself an expert in some aspects of Korean music and has even written a book on Korean women composers, among other books. As I spoke with him, I gradually came to realize that he is a genius. In the ninth grade, he was already teaching himself calculus - a branch of mathematics that I encountered only in university - and he went on from that to more mathematics, so much so that he tired of math before even entering college, where he decided on music as his field.

We spoke for over two hours at midday - over lunch and coffee - and I let him talk most since I didn't want to make a fool of myself through my ignorance of formal approaches to music.This was for the best since I learned that he has knowledge in depth not only on Western music, but also upon East Asian and Indian music. But you can discover still more from this university website:
Professor of Musicology and Director of Early Music Ensembles, plays plucked string, bowed string, and woodwind instruments. He has performed nationally and internationally on solo Renaissance lute, viola da gamba, Renaissance and Baroque recorders, Renaissance winds (shawm, rackett, curtal, etc.) and Baroque oboe, and modern oboe/english horn.

Robison researches a variety of Renaissance and Baroque topics, as well as intercultural composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries from the African, Asian, and Latin American continents. He has published articles in the Music Review, the RMA Research Chronicle, the Journal of the Lute Society of America, and Intercultural Music and is coauthor/editor of A Festschrift for Gamal Abdel-Rahim, published in Cairo by the Bi-national Egyptian/American Fulbright Commission.

He has participated in all nine conferences on new intercultural music sponsored by the Center for Intercultural Music Arts in England and Spain, as well as at conferences on modern African and Asian music in China, reading papers on Egyptian, Indian, Azeri, and Korean women composers. He presents papers regularly at meetings of the American Musicological Society and College Music Society and has hosted regional conferences of those organizations at USF.

Robison created a world music survey course (Folk and Traditional Music of World Cultures) and a course (Intercultural Composers of the Twentieth Century) that studies contemporary composers who have blended musical concepts from two or more cultures.

Robison earned his undergraduate degree at Oakland University, studying oboe, history and theory/composition. He received his Masters and Doctoral Degrees in Musicology and Performance Practice from Stanford University.
I think that this says a lot about the man, far more than I can, given my poverty of mind in things musical. How did I happen to come to know him? He was in Grenada recently, where he was purchasing a lute from an expert, Knud Sindt, an acquaintance of my friend Tim Anderson from my undergraduate years at Baylor.

The world is so full of amazing things . . .



At 12:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jeff, CPH here--very cool, sounds like you had an excellent discussion. When I first read the post, I thought you'd met guy: ; another John (tho Elder) Robison, amazingly. I've read a fair bit of autistic/Asperger-ish stuff over the years, and this Robison comes up there pretty prominently. But I think this Robison may not have a musical bone in his body...I guess it truly takes all kinds.

At 4:05 AM, Blogger Horace Jeffery Hodges said...

Let me link for you: John Elder Robison.

Jeffery Hodges

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