Robin Holcomb

2017 Virginia B. Toulmin Foundation Orchestral Commission Recipient

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Robin Holcomb’s League commission, No Thing Lives to Itself, was premiered by the Portland Symphony Orchestra (Maine) and music director Eckart Preu on January 19 and 21, 2020.

Robin Holcomb has performed internationally as a solo artist and the leader of various ensembles. Following Sundanese gamelan performance studies at UC Santa Cruz and several years spent sharecropping tobacco in North Carolina, Holcomb was active in New York for many years as a composer and performer with deep roots in the downtown avant-garde as one of the original Studio Henry mavericks. She has recorded her music for Nonesuch, Tzakik, Songlines, and the New World labels. Holcomb is a founder and co-director of The New York Composers Orchestra and WACO (The Washington Composers Orchestra), ensembles for which she is also conductor, pianist and a principal composer. Other current performing ensembles include a longstanding duo project with cellist Peggy Lee and The Robin Holcomb Ensemble. Composing instrumental and vocal music for a wide variety of chamber ensembles and soloists, she has been commissioned to create scores for dance, film and theatre.

Holcomb in conversation with music director Eckart Preu. Photo Credit: Sarah McCullough, PSO

“Robin Holcomb is haunted. …It’s not that she isn’t an original.” (The Georgia Straight

“Ms. Holcomb’s long form piece, Before the Comet Comes, is staggeringly beautiful.” (New York Times

“…this fascinatingly eclectic pianist, composer, and singer has few
qualms about mingling folk, jazz, chamber music, and points between
and beyond in arresting original music.” (The New Yorker)

“Satie goes to Appalachia, Morricone goes to the Knitting Factory,
and you, dear art-folk fan, die and go to heaven.” (The Village Voice)

More from Robin

Photo Credit: Peter Gannushkin

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