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.