Scott Robbins’ Ritual Meditations

August 1, 2014

Linda Holzer, Professor of Piano at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, presented the world premiere of American composer Scott Robbins’ nine-movement piano solo, Ritual Meditations, in a filmed concert at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Sept. 21, 2012. The performance, in Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, made innovative use of technology, featuring multi-media enhancement in the form of photography by Peggy Harstvedt, projected as slides to accompany individual movements. Holzer performed the piece using her iPad 3 and the score-reading app ForScore with the hands-free page-turning device, AirTurn. The concert was filmed by UALR TV for local broadcast, and includes a short interview highlighting Holzer’s use of iPad technology in concert.

Presentation Type:  Lecture-Recital

Recording Date:  September 21, 2012

Recording Location: Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, University of Arkansas at Litte Rock

Duration: 5:54 interview; 46 min. musical performance

It is a privilege to be able to offer the premiere of a suite for piano, Ritual Meditations. Composer Scott Robbins grew up in Boone, North Carolina, near the Blue Ridge Parkway. He holds advanced music degrees from Wake Forest University, Duke University, and Florida State University, and now is a professor of music at Converse College in South Carolina. Dr. Robbins began his musical training as a drummer and guitarist in rock bands, and his music frequently retains aspects of his popular music background.

Scott Robbins’ compositions are widely performed and professionally recognized, having received over 50 awards, including the Clefworks Composition Competition, Second International Sergei Prokofiev Composition Competition, Yale University’s Norfolk National Composition Prize, NACUSA Young Composers Award, ASCAP Foundation Grant to Young Composers, American Music Center Composer Assistance Award, Florida Individual Artist Fellowship, multiple awards from ASCAP and commissions from the SC Music Teachers Association. Among those who have performed, commissioned or commercially recorded his works are the Czech Radio Symphony, Warsaw National Philharmonic, Loudoun Symphony Orchestra, Moyzes Quartet, Ensemble Radieuse, Trio Chromos, Gregg Smith Singers, and Dale Warland Singers. The Clearing, a film for which he composed the soundtrack, received the CINE-Eagle award and has been broadcast on Bravo and HBO.

In his notes for the piece, Dr. Robbins explains, “Ritual Meditations is an extended work consisting of nine movements arranged in an arch shape. All the movements possess varying levels of hypnotic, contemplative characteristics. The primarily-tonal musical language alludes to Minimalism (movement V), Bartok’s Mikrokosmos (movement VII), spirituals (IV. Hymn) and folk music (as in movement VI, which incorporates the hymn “I’ll Fly Away”).” Dr. Holzer is performing the piece using her iPad 3 and the app ForScore with the hands-free page-turning device, AirTurn.

Photographs in the slideshow that accompanies this performance of Ritual Meditations were taken by Peggy Harstvedt in diverse locations internationally over a period of 5 years: Pensacola Beach, Florida; Chicago, Illinois; Little Rock, Arkansas; Dallas, Texas; Prague, Czech Republic and Vienna, Austria.

Interview: Linda Holzer discusses and demonstrates concert technology. iPad, with the app ForScore and the hands-free page-turning device AirTurn.

Ritual Meditations              Scott Robbins (b. 1964)

I. Hazy, undefined
II. Maestoso, con ritegno
III. Somnus
IV. Hymn
V. Hypnotic
VI. Fly Away
VII. Misterioso
VIII. Passage - “Only empty hands did I bring into this world – barefoot, I leave it. Coming and going: two ordinary events that got entangled.” ~ Kozan Ichikyo (written on the day of his death)
IX. Majestic, sonorous

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