Trailblazing Detroit Symphony bassist seeks to broaden classical audiences

Posted on: September 7, 2011

In Wednesday’s (9/7) Detroit Free Press, Mark Stryker writes, “Bassist Rick Robinson has always been a trailblazer and entrepreneur. He was just the second African-American musician in the Detroit Symphony Orchestra when he joined in 1989. Since the ‘90s he has spread his wings as the founder of CutTime Productions, an umbrella for his activities as a chamber musician, concert presenter, composer, arranger, publisher, lecturer and advocate for broadening the audience for classical music. Now Robinson, 48, is aiming higher. He’s taking a one-year leave of absence from the DSO beginning in January to devote himself full time to CutTime initiatives. … For Robinson, who has seen audiences for classical music diminish in size and diversity during his career, it’s about securing the future. … Robinson’s CutTime Players (octet), and CutTime Simfonica (string ensemble) specialize in informal presentations of a wide range of repertoire, from his arrangements of classical standards to original works that blend a neo-romantic classical style with soul, blues and jazz. … While bitterness over the DSO’s recent six-month strike led to the departure of some of Robinson’s colleagues, his own decision to seek a leave was inspired by his personal and professional trajectory. He won a prestigious Kresge Artist Fellowship in 2010, and the $25,000 award allowed him to invest in marketing materials, recordings and other facets of his business.”

Posted September 7, 2011