2010 Kresge Artist Fellow Rick Robinson joined the Detroit Symphony Orchestra as section bassist in September 1989. The product of a musical family in Highland Park, MI, Robinson began playing cello then double bass at Barber Middle School. After attending the Allstate program at Interlochen Center for the Arts for two summers, he credits three years at the Interlochen Arts Academy for his confidence to pursue a musical career. He earned his Bachelor of Music degree from the Cleveland Institute of Music, where he studied with Larry Angell. At that time he wrote a set of Paganini variations for solo bass and performed L'Histoire du Soldat, the inspiration for his first band. While in Cleveland Robinson won principal bass positions of both the Canton and Akron Symphony Orchestras. He then went to Boston for graduate studies at the New England Conservatory where he studied with Larry Wolfe and served as principal bass of the Portland Maine Symphony Orchestra.
Robinson continued to program ambitious solo recitals after school and in 1986 Robinson won the Haddonfield (NJ) Symphony Solo Competition, performing Bottesini's Concerto in B minor with that orchestra. While a Boston freelancer he was a substitute with the Boston Symphony Orchestra with Seiji Ozawa and an assistant principal of the famous Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra with the legendary John Williams. He also began subbing with DSO in 1987. On the 1989 European tour, the DSO was financially pressured by two state legislators to immediately hire more African-American musicians. With Robinson on hand, the musicians voted overwhelmingly to offer him membership. In addition to performing numerous concerts in the DSO, since 1995 Robinson manages, directs, and arranges famous classic music for a premiere ensemble of eight DSO musicians called CutTime Players. Together they have performed over 100 family and student concerts and workshops at the highest level. He publishes most of his work through CutTime Productions, making sampling outreach possible for every orchestra. Robinson suddenly began composing again in 2002 and DSO premiered his Essay (After Sibelius) in 2006. His monumental string sextet in A-Major entitled Mighty Love premiered the next year. Several works he has written since then for his newest DSO ensemble (CutTime Sinfonica) blend rich classical counterpoint with diverse urban dance idioms such as rock, Latin, tango and soul. For these compositions Robinson won a 2010 Kresge Artist Fellowship of $25,000 with which he intends to record a debut commercial CD of his work. He also won a fiscal sponsorship from the New York Foundation for the Arts for CutTime Players to visit 17 southeast Michigan schools in 2010-2011. If you would like to contribute, learn more or hear samples, visit www.cuttime.com. Robinson also enjoys running, cycling, dancing and sailing.