Saturday, November 23, 2013

Rick Robinson: CutTime Simfonica plays National Gallery of Art; Rochester, NY FringeFest Features Works of William Grant Still & Adolphus Hailstork

              National Gallery of Art

Rick Robinson's

 CutTime News

- New website
- CutTime Debut at National Gallery
- City of Trees orchestrated 

November 22, 2013 

Hello again!    

After another very busy two months let me briefly share my adventures with you. Following the announcements and fabulous award ceremony for the 56 Knight Foundation Arts Challenge Detroit winners, we got down to nuts-and-bolts of how to implement our grant projects. CutTime's project will expand the Classical Revolution Detroit series three-fold across Detroit-proper. Yet we can't start it without your help. We need to raise matching donations of $30,000 from individuals, corporations and foundations interested to inspire the community with art music. Contributing thru and sharing this secure credit card transaction link with a strong recommendation to friends would be a great help. We hope to launch the project between March and May.

I had a marvelous adventure in Rochester, NY in Sept., joining the Rochester Chamber Orchestra for a transcendent program for FringeFest celebrating Frederic Douglas' residency there. Directed by the electric Norwegian conductor Arild Remereit, moving music by William Grant Still, Adolphus Hailstork and Beth Denisch alternated with Douglas' quotes from his paper, The North Star. I really love returning to this city and hope to work further with Philharmonic players in CutTime programs next summer.

Work on the new is nearly complete. But we have launched anyway and it is quite a departure from the old website. Built on the Wordpress platform, we aim to be much more provocative with essays and food for thought in addition to photos, videos and music samples. We need to change the conversations Americans within and outside the industry are having around art music today. Please share your favorite pages on social media. Connect via polls and talkback pages.

In October I exhibited at the Ohio Arts Presenters conference, networking with venue managers, musicians and entertainers looking to book their next season. As you can imagine, it is a highly competitive marketplace with great talents vying for contracts and anchor gigs from which we can route tours. I managed to win my first showcase, which is a 12-minute live performance on the Majestic Theater stage. I chose to show off Simfonica and hired nearby Columbus Symphony musicians to join me. Somehow the percussionist I wanted missed the rehearsal so we lost those valuable crossover points. Still, we scored some attention, kudos and conversations around the fact that CutTime has a very broad appeal. Could this be what builds new audience for classical around major venues? That's our goal... particularly with week-long residencies throughout their communities.

Another exciting collaboration was a concert for students and recording for a Shakespeare animation project at the Detroit School of Arts. Simfonica performed with a Haitian drummer, flute and clarinet, a poet inspired by City of Trees and an actor from Stratford Festival. This exciting project, funded by a grant from the Knight Foundation, will result in 8 animated videos shared widely and non-commercial across the web.

Through all this I spent a month expanding scores for the DC concerts as well as my first full orchestration of City of Trees for a new reading competition called EarShot.

Then came the November 6 Simfonica program at the National Gallery of Art. What an honor to perform music of black-Americans for a house of maybe 100. I hired a DC friend from our Boston Pops days, violinist Joe Scheer, who recommended the other musicians in the photo at top. We added occasional drumming for the first time, which added a lot, and also hooked up two concerts at Joe's church in Arlington, VA and featured his own rocking Ellington arrangements.

Then I continued 2-hours south to Richmond, VA to share my work with the strong Classical Revolution chapter there. We had a gangbuster night with mainly Richmond Symphony musicians reading thru about 24 of my publications! (Photo below) All-in-all, it was a joyous week connecting new friends to the power of music and spoken words, followed by 3 days around New York City connecting with friends without the bass. I could imagine spending a lot more time there.

I hope everyone is looking forward to a great holiday season! I'll be subbing two weeks with Grand Rapids Symphony (as in October) and sowing Classical Revolution in Detroit this Tuesday (Nov. 26) at Cadieux Café and the 3rd anniversary somewhere TBD Dec. 12 (M).  CutTime Players has wonderful Christmas programs, but I failed to book any besides a private event for PVS Chemicals. Maybe next year!

Thank you all for your interest, referrals, recommendations, feedback and donations! Stay well, tune in and I hope to see you all somewhere very soon!

- Rick

[William Grant Still (1895-1978) and Adolphus C. Hailstork (b. 1941) are profiled at, which features a comprehensive Works List for Still by Prof. Dominique-René de Lerma,] 
- New website
National Gallery
- City of Trees orchestrat

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