Part of library’s Speaker Series

Robinson to return to Waldoboro

Feb 04, 2013
Aaron Robinson

Waldoboro — On Saturday, Feb. 16, at 1 p.m., native son Aaron Robinson will introduce his new book “Does God Sing?: A Musical Journey,” which came out in January, at Waldoboro Public Library, 958 Main St./Route 220.

A Medomak Valley High School grad, Robinson is known locally for his work as a church and theater musician; and has received national and international acclaim for work in several fields including composition, conducting, recording and film scoring. His book will be available for purchase by cash or check.

Composer and conductor Robinson was a late bloomer in music, but by his mid-teens, he was giving professional solo concerts. Proficient in piano, composition and organ, Robinson thirsted for new music to expand his knowledge. After several years of conducting and performing, he discovered not only life lessons in all types of music, but also the experiences that produced them. From the simplest of melodies sung by a single human voice to the glorious sounds of a full choir accompanied by a magnificent pipe organ, he realized how music communicates with us; all we need to do is listen.

In “Does God Sing?”, Robinson explores the power of music and the ability music has to change and heal our lives. Through a mixture of memoir and commentary, Robinson explains how music revealed itself through music in his life and in the lives of those around him.

As conductor, Robinson has conducted several premiere works for the concert stage including Scott Joplin’s opera “Treemonisha,” Leonard Bernstein’s “Candide — The Concert Version” and “Sondheim and Co. — A Gala Celebration,” honoring the music of Stephen Sondheim. In 2004, Robinson received critical acclaim for his work as conductor and musical arranger for Langston Hughes’ “Black Nativity — A Gospel Celebration.” The creation of the latter achievement was documented for public television and has now received worldwide acclaim, resulting in a best-selling Christmas gospel album.

Robinson has lectured extensively on the history of American music including jazz and ragtime; the music of George Gershwin; and American music, celebrating American Broadway and film composers. He has been called one of America’s foremost proponents of ragtime and early jazz.” He has performed both on and Off-Broadway in New York City.

Robinson studied composition at the Boston Conservatory with American composer John Adams and Lawrence Thomas Bell; and film scoring at the Berklee School of Music with Maestro John Williams; and in 2001 was musical supervisor, conductor and arranger for the “Islands,” the North Haven musical that traveled to the New Victory Theater on New York City’s 42nd Street. Many of his classical works have been performed throughout the world including “An American Requiem for Orchestra and Chorus,” which had its New England premiere under the direction of celebrated conductor Robert Russell. Robinson’s “New England Ragtime Suite” is performed at ragtime festivals around the world and recently was called one of the most original works of ragtime written in its true form since the turn of the 20th century.

Robinson created the musical tale “The Amazing Bone,” based on children’s author William Steig’s (creator of “Shrek”) book; the ballet fantasy “Peter and Wendy” from the play by J.M. Barrie; and the stage musical of Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.”

He has released several recordings including “They All Played Ragtime,” along with the original cast recording of “Treemonisha — The Concert Version,” “Langston Hughes’ ‘Black Nativity,’” “Symphonic Dances — The Music of Aaron Copland and Leonard Bernstein” and “La Belle Epoque.”

Returning to his native state of Maine in 2001, Robinson served as director of music for Immanuel Baptist Church in Portland, where he also served as choirmaster and celebrated organist; vocal coach and staff/faculty accompanist for the University of Southern Maine; former in-resident musical director for Good Theater; celeste player for the PSO; and lecturer for Merrill Auditorium’s Broadway Series. Most recently, he provided original music for the 2012 documentary “In the Shadows of Grey Gardens”; and produced his book, which was released by Tate Publishing.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115 or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.

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