John donald robb composers' symposium

2014 SYMPOSIUM:  april 6-9, 2014

The 2014 John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium will take place April 6-9 and is being presented in partnership with the UNM College of Fine Arts, the Latin American & Iberian Institute, the Interdisciplinary Film and Digital Media Department, and the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department.  This year’s programs will include Cuatro Corridos, a new chamber opera that centers around human trafficking and will generate discussions about social justice, gender and border issues.  The work is the result of a collaboration by composers Hilda Paredes, Hebert Vázquez, Arlene Sierra and Lei Liang, with text by Jorge Volpi, and is a one-woman show telling the story of women trapped in a cycle of prostitution and slavery across the U.S.-Mexico border.  Soprano Susan Narucki. 

For decades, the John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium (a partnership between the Robb Musical Trust and the UNM Music Department) has brought composers and performers to campus to engage and teach students about contemporary music and contemporary music performance.  Since taking over as Artistic Directors, Peter Gilbert and Karola Obermüller have made it their goal to find programs with an interdisciplinary scope.  This year’s symposium will feature interdisciplinary panel discussions that look at social activism and research alongside the arts, as well workshops and masterclasses for UNM performers and composers. All panels, workshops, masterclasses and concerts are free and open to the public. Visit the Robb Trust website ( for details about symposium events.

Cuatro Corridos

history of the symposium

In 1972, Dr. William Wood was hired as Composer-in-Residence and Associate Professor of Theory and Composition. That year, his former teacher Norman Lockwood was invited to participate in the first annual UNM Composers' Symposium, which also featured performance of works by UNM student composers. The event has continued annually since then, making it one of the longest on-going festivals of new music in the world, and one that now has attained a regional, national and international reputation. During the 1990s, the symposium was renamed and became the John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium, in honor of Dr. Robb, who served as Dean of the College of Fine Arts from 1942 to 1957.

Honored guests have included Ned Rorem, George Crumb, Vincent Persichetti, Max Schubel, Karel Husa, Gunther Schuller, David Raksin, Lukas Foss, George Rochberg, Thea Musgrave, Ernst Krenek, David Baker, Lou Harrison, John Harbison, Milton Babbitt, Christian Wolff, James Tenney, Joan Tower, Alan Hovhaness, Nicholaw Maw, Libby Larson, Julio Estrada, Pauline Oliveros, Anthony Braxton, Robert Cogan, Pozzi Escot, Gordon Getty and John Cage. In 1989, the Symposium, as part of the university's centennial, honored forty of the Music Department's alumni and friends, with special honors accorded to John Donald Robb, John Lewis and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Michael Colgrass. Special themes and subjects have been featured during some years, including film music (with Joji Yuasa as guest composer), music and technology (Joan La Barbara and Morton Subotnick), and music theory and jazz (Maria Schneider).

Click HERE for the website of the Robb Musical Trust.

program booklets:

42st symposium program

41st Annual Composers' Symposium Program (March, 2012) (PDF, 9.1MB)

Program 2011

40th Annual Composers' Symposium Program (March, 2011) (PDF, 2.3MB)

39th Symposium Program

39th Annual Composers' Symposium Program (March, 2010) (PDF, 1.3MB)

38th Symposium Cover

38th Annual Composers' Symposium Program (March/April, 2009) (PDF, 3MB)

Program Booklet 2008

37th Annual Composers' Symposium Program (March/April, 2008) (PDF, 984KB)

Robb Program

36th Annual Composers' Symposium Program (March, 2007) (PDF, 4.28MB)

35th Symposium Program

35th Annual Composers' Symposium Program (April, 2006) (PDF, 1.89MB)


Last updated on Monday, March 25, 2013 10:56 AM



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