Dr. BILL ROBINSON
physicist and composer of some note
and compositions from the
head and heart.
Eric Pritchard performing my 11th
Sonata for Solo Violin. He played
Sonatas #1, 10, and 11 on January 14, 2007, in his
solo recital at Duke, and Jan. 10 in Chapel Hill
the Official Portrait
completed Birthday Symphony,
Chamber Edition and posted the score
and parts on the
under Music for Mixed Chamber
Ensembles. Now comes the grueling process of
chamber version, for violin, clarinet, cello and piano, will be performed on my next
all-Robinson concert at Meredith on February 18, and
again at Carol Woods Retirement
Community on Feb. 19.
February 26: WHQR 91.3 in Wilmington NC broadcast my Mantra Cantata last night, thanks to Pat Marriott for his very generous and kind words. The local AFM union will allow broadcasts on radio, but only the first two minutes on this website and my YouTube channel.
The fourth big annual concert, this time done in two locations, went very well; first a short version at Carol Woods Retirement Community on Feb. 20, and then the full version including vocal music at Meredith College on Sunday Feb. 24. Many thanks to all the musicians involved and to those who came. I will post recordings and links to videos on my YouTube channel of the Meredith concert in about three weeks. Here is the program for the Meredith concert.
January 14: WCPE 89.7 broadcast my Birthday Trio on Sunday, January 13, the last piece on their new music program Wavelengths. You can see the score and all details, plus of course the recording, listed under Music for Strings on my Music page. This is the biggest stage for classical music in the state, and it is wonderful to have the opportunity to make a contribution there.
On a happier note, I just finished E
a work for two horns and strings written for
Chris Caudill and Rachel Niketopoulos, a couple
who are hornists in the NC
Symphony. I have posted the score and its
exotic cover on my music page
under Music for Orchestra.
start soon for the Third Annual Concert of Music
by Bill Robinson in Nelson Music Room, East
Duke Building, Duke University, Tuesday February 28,
8 PM. Here's
the program. Please come and enjoy!
January 15 (57th Birthday): The concert on January 8 went very well. Latifa Noor couldn't come due to the grave illness of her father in California. Here is the video on my YouTube channel of my piece on the program, with links also on the music page.
Cellist Latifa Noor is visiting our area in early January, and will put on two events. One is a concert in my customary digs, Nelson Music Room at Duke, on Sunday January 8, 4 PM. This will include the premiere performance of the second movement of my Mantra Cantata by Jewelsong, five strings, and piano. (information)
Just completed The
Big Note, for clarinet, trumpet, horn,
trombone, and tuba. The first movement is entirely
new and just composed; the second and third come
from an old brass quintet that has never been
played, primarily because the first trumpet part was
too high. This should solve that problem. It's now
on the Music
page listed under "Music for Winds and Brass".
26: Had a
great concert, An Evening of World Premiers last Tuesday Feb. 22 at
Duke. We had an all-star cast playing four new
the program. It was videotaped, and when the
recording is prepared it will be posted here, as
well as availabe on DVD and CD.
17, MLK Day: Turned 56 on Saturday the 15th; spent the
afternoon with Eric and Laura Pritchard in Durham.
Had my first student in my distance education
class, PY 211. This is a non-calculus course for
people with majors requiring a physics course, like
biology, pre-med and the like. Only 12 students in
order to work out the bugs, since it's still under
development. Next comes PY 212, the second of the
November 8: Spent Oct. 22-Nov. 1 in
Texas, my first trip back to my home state in 5 years.
Saw friends in Houston, San Antonio, hill country,
Dallas and Denton. Once again a bunch of travel with
William Swift. KNTU broadcast the Gayatri
Sonata with Bonnie Thron, cello, and Nancy
Whelan, piano in Denton while I was there, thanks to
Very busy with my job in the physics department here at NCSU, it's working out very well.
I've completed the first two movements of a string trio, haven't decided on a name yet, and am hoping to include it on the big Feb. 22 (Tuesday) 8 PM concert in Nelson Music Room at Duke. Another all-Robinson bash.
Since moving into a two-bedroom apartment, I've had a chance to start playing violin again. I had to stop in 1981 due to arthritis; played with adaptive gear for six months in 1991; and again for about a year in 2002-3. That last time the adaptive gear was more extensive, and I held the violin in the cello position. I built four-string and six-string electric violins (one each) and played with both a standard straight bow and a curved bow made by Michael Bach-Batista. After stopping play due to pain in my shoulder, I sold the curved bow. Now I'm starting up again (just on the six-string since the four-string needs repair to the very sophisticated Barbera pickup); but as the Bach.bogen curved bows start at 1500 euros, I am building my own. Almost done, needs a little tweaking, will publish pictures of this latest adventure in engineering soon.
September 16: More Radio Play--on Monday, Sept. 20, tune in to WHQR-FM, Wilmington NC, at 8:06 Eastern Time for a broadcast of my Govinda Sonata in its version for violin and piano, performed by Eric Pritchard and Randall Love. Pat Marriott, the programming director at the station, broadcast an earlier recording in 2008; this new recording we did last October at Duke on one of their new Steinways.
September 12: An eventful summer. Current news: Kenneth Bradshaw, on WCPE (89.7 FM) will play the third movement of Ananda Dances in its violin and piano version tonight, third piece on the new program "Wavelengths" that starts at 9 PM Eastern Time. Performers are Eric Pritchard, violin, and Randall Love, piano. You can listen on your computer from anywhere.
I moved to a two-bedroom apartment and traded in my upright piano for a 1942 Baldwin 5'1" grand piano, a very nice instrument from Ruggero Pianos here in Raleigh.
Just finished Strange Songs, and I will post a special page linked from the Music page with the score and information. It is for chorus, baritone solo, and orchestra; as such, synthesis is frustrating and misleading, so for now I will simply show the score and hope for performance.
May 19: Graduated on May 15, got my DOCTORATE in PHYSICS after a total of 10 years of study in universities and many more outside. Now I have been employed by the NCSU physics department as a half-time lecturer in physics, designing distance education versions of our PY 211 course (University Physics). The job starts in July.
My good friend William Swift came out from Texas for a week and added greatly to the flavor of the festivities. Click on the picture to see the video he shot of my trip across the stage.
I have just posted the scores to the first and third movement of a new piano trio in progress, The Three Kinds of Music, on the Music page under Music for Strings.
April 24: Please check out the Music page for videos of all four pieces performed at the Memorial Concert for Akanda, (program here), shot by Dwight Robinett and edited by Roy Verges. Soon I will have a DVD in very good resolution available, doing last tweaks now (thanks to Roy Verges back in Denton TX).
March 24: Yesterday I defended my thesis--passed! So now it's just some paperwork between me and the sheepskin. I graduate on May 15 with a PhD in physics. (I took my first physics course at Andover in 1969, and first in college in 1981.) Next, after some much-needed travel to parts unknown, I start my first real job as a Lecturer here at NCSU designing two web-based distance learning courses for the physics department. It is a half-time appointment, which is well-suited to my health and musical activities; it does mean my financial situation remains difficult due to severe debts. So, I'll continue to troll for grants, composition prizes and commissions.
March 21: Happy Bach's Birthday, #325. Last night was a wonderful evening at a fund-raiser for Mallarme Chamber Players, where Eric Pritchard and Fred Raimi played the Ananda Duet. Here's the review from Classical Voice of North Carolina.
MCR Classics has released the first commercial CD featuring my music, titled Ananda Dances, with Eric Pritchard on violin and Randall Love on piano. This, as well as the CDs of the Memorial Concert for Akanda and the Recordings of January 2009 are now available on the Store page.
March 3: Added recordings from the Memorial Concert forAkanda to the Music page for the Ananda Duet, Ananda Songs, and the Quartet for a New Beginning.
Feb. 23: Been having serious problems with my hearing for the last month due to autoimmune hearing loss; did 6 days of cortisone and now am using Itis-Care, an herbal anti-inflammatory that has beneficial effects. Much of my hearing has returned, but the loss appears permanent in my right ear. I have been using hearing aids since 2002.
Just competed the Clarinet Sextet yesterday, did most of the parts and finished recording the synth version of the last movement today. Find it all posted on the Music page under Music for Strings.
Wednesday, February 10, 8 PM, Nelson Music Room, East Duke Building, Duke University, Durham NC; was the Memorial Concert for Akanda (my sister who died June 3, 2009). Akanda requested a party in her memory to celebrate her transition; but since I give concerts, not parties, we had this event instead. Music; Ananda Duet (premier) with Eric Pritchard, violin, and Fred Raimi, cello; Gayatri Sonata with Bonnie Thron, cello, and Nancy Whelan, piano; Ananda Songs (premier) with Penelope Jensen, soprano, Eric Pritchard, violin, and Randall Love, piano; and Quartet for a New Beginning with the same players as for January 10 except with Izabela Spiewak, violin. I will post both video and sound recordings here after they are prepared. Here's the program.
30: I've finished my dissertation, pending
editing, review with my advisor Dr. David Aspnes,
formatting and other details. I will probably defend
it in March and will graduate next May. I've started
writing a Sextet for Clarinet and Strings
(that's the working title at least), and have posted
the first movement on the Music page.
25: Finished the Mantra Cantata,
both orchestral and chamber versions. You can see the
scores under Music
for Voice on the Music page. Yay!
Cantata, a 32 minute Very Big Piece. The
first two of the three movments are already complete
in both chamber and orchestral versions (you can see
the scores on the Music
page); I expect to have the final movement
orchestrated and ready to pass around well before the
end of the year.
30: Pardon my absence, had computer reshuffling
Duet for violin and cello, written in June
for Eric Pritchard and Fred Raimi to play early next
I've added a recording of my Sonata for Solo Violin #4 in a bravura performance by Mary Kay Robinson at Brevard NC on February 15 2009, thanks to engineering help by Pat Marriott of Wilmington.
April 14: Just added two videos to the Physics page. One at the top is an interview I recorded yesterdaywith my photographer friend Jim McGuire describing in general terms myphysics experiment and why it is of interest. At the bottom of the pageis a short movieJim made in 2003 (very funny by the way) on his family history, whichincludes a short bit with me in a horribly tasteless Stephen Hawking parody; don't view on a full stomach.
March 6:I have moved my experiment to Duke, at the Triangle UniversitiesNuclear Laboratory (TUNL), starting Feb. 12, and am hard at workgetting it ready to go. This will make it possible for me to findleaks, get lower pressures, then fill with deuterium and see if anyneutrons come out. If so, the World Is My Oyster. See the pictures on the tenth gallery of photos on the Physics page.
I'm finishing up the orchestration for the first movement of my nextpiece,Mantra Cantatafor either orchestra or piano quintet with chorus. Also I have a CD available that has all three recordings done in January; the Grand Serenade, Gayatri Sonata, and the Variations on the Grosse Fuge.
January 28: Great concert on Sunday the 25th at the NC Museum of Art; Ciompi Quartet with Randall Love on piano played my Variations on the Grosse Fuge to a sold-out audience. You can hear the recording on the Musicpage. The hooting and hollering at the end was too tempting, andcontrary to usual practice I left some of it in after the end of the piece. I'm sure you will forgive my indulgence.
January 18: Just added a great new recording on the Musicpage done Friday Jan. 16th at St. Mary's School here in Raleigh withFred Jacobowitz, clarinet; Bonnie Thron, cello; and Nancy Whelan, piano, of the Grand Serenade. This makes up for the mistake I made at the premier, and with the extra time, is a better performance.
November 26: Had a great concert with Eric Pritchard playing the Ananda Concerto I wrote for him with the Raleigh Civic Chamber Orchestra conducted by Randall Foy here at NCSU. The recording is on theMusic page and on my 5th CD in its lates edition. See the review at Classical Voice of North Carolina.
November 18: Bonnie Thron, Fred Jacobowitz, and Nancy Whelan played all four movements of the Grand Serenadeat the Carol Woods Retirement Community on November 12. Went very well,but I pushed the wrong buttons somehow on the recorder so the live performance will have to be done at a later date.
October 31: Just finished and posted on the music page A Major Piano Sonata* (*not actually in A major) in sythesized form. The first pianist to play it gets the dedication.
On October 10 I made a presentation of my plasma project to theTriangle Universities Nuclear Laboratory (TUNL) at Duke, and I'm hopingto move my reactor there at the end of November...should they say yes.It's very important since it's the best way to safely put in deuteriumand see if neutrons come out. They have excellent facilities forneutron shielding and detection, and can help with my difficulties with leak detection and control.
August 16: Fourth movement of the Grand Serenade (see just below) now done and listed on the Music page. Also there's a recent photo gallery from the lab on the Physics page; I'm working on new antenna designs.
July 11: Had a great concert at Glenaire retirement community in Cary NC on Thursday July 10. Fred Jacobowitz,clarinet, Bonnie Thron (Fred's wife), cello, and David Thron (Bonnie's brother) played my Grand Serenade. It went very well; do please listen to the recording on the Music page under Music for Mixed Ensembles. I'm going to write a fourth movement for this piece shortly.
June 1: Couldn't write music for 6 weeks after April 1, but now back in the swing of things; just completed the first movement of A Major Piano Sonata(not really in A major) and have the score and synthesized recording onthe Music page under Music for Keyboards (bottom right column). Haveavoided writing for piano solo for many years but finally getting around to it.
The project has focused on getting low pressures since late January,and finally I've achieved 12 mTorr, the limit of the mechanical pumpI've been using. Now I'm painting the inside surface of the reactorwith ceramic paint (a very difficult job and not sure it's workinguntil it's pumped out again), and about to add a turbomolecular pump tosee how far down I can go in pressure. This is essential for theexperiment to test for fusion reactions. Also I'm working oninstrumentation, which is another great challenge. Pictures will come in a few days....
April 1 (no fooling!): Now posting the completedAnanda Dances for string quartet, score and synthesized recording, on the music page.
March 8: On March 1, Eric Pritchard and Randall Love, a pianist on the Duke faculty, played the entire Govinda Sonata for the first time, at the Nelson Room at Duke. Great success! Many smiles!
Had a great visit late last month by Dr. George Miley of the NuclearEngineering faculty at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Veryencouraging. Being bedeviled by leaks and must figure out how to get low pressures before I can make any progress.
February 14: Just posted the third movement of a new string quartet, score and recording.
Eric Pritchard and Barbara McKenzie played the middle movement of the Govinda Sonata in its violin and piano incarnation, and Eric played the Sonata #11for solo violin in Morehead City last Friday. Then the followingafternoon the three of us had a delightful salon near Wilmington todrum up interest in the upcoming concert at UNCW on Sunday Feb. 17 with the same program (also including Beethoven's Spring Sonata and a violin sonata by Faure).
February 2: Just recorded the first movement of the next piece, the Ananda Dances, see it on the Music page. More music for Eric, and the Ciompi Quartet.
January 20: Finished the Grand Serenade--take a listen on the Music page in Music for Mixed Ensembles.
On Tuesday I take the two aluminum hemispheres to the physicsdepartment machine shop for a major upgrade. After getting them backI'll take a few weeks to refit, then should be able to get to rather low pressures and start the really interesting part of my experiment.
January 1: Posteda new gallery of photos from my lab. Also, have just completed andposted the synth recording and score for the first two movements of my new Grand Serenade for clarinet, cello and piano. Hope you like it!
December 13: Finallyhave solved some big problems with my reactor (running it was settingoff loud alarms and the video camera was freaking out); now can getsome great pictures and will post some shortly. However until thephysics department machine shop works on my sphere in late January I'm stuck at only 2 torr instead of 1 to 10 mtorr...
November 15: Had my preliminary exam today, went very well. You can see the PowerPoint presentation at the Physics page.
November 1: Finished Ananda Songs,and now have score and synth recording on the Music Page. Thiscompletes the Sixth CD which I've started to burn; it includes the songs along with Ananda Concerto and Ananda Sonata.
Made a conceptual breakthrough in the physics project; who knows ifit's good, more symbol shuffling to double check best I can. Now I needto get the sphere capable of much better vacuum (currently at a dismal 3 torr!). More when I have something figured out.
October 10: Just posted two things. One is the second of the Ananda Songs for violin, soprano and piano, Hare Krishna Mahamantra; see it on the Music Page.
Then there is the new paper on my ball reactor experiment, sort of awarm-up for my thesis. Although there are no diagrams, you can get good text explanations of what I'm up to that go along with the galleries.
October 5: Lost my camera in August but got another one, finally have posted a new gallery of lab shots on the Physics page, along with--the FIRST VIDEOof the ball reactor inoperation. (This is .mpg and won't play on Quick Time, use WindowsMedia Player or Real Player. Still frames from this video are in thelatest gallery.) No ball lightning or analog yet, but it is exciting tohave things working. Much tweaking, refinements, and many many experiments yet to go over the next two years.
September 30: Hada wonderful concert at Smedes Parlor at Saint Mary's School here inRaleigh on the 25th, met some great people; Eric Pritchard and Mayron Tsong from UNC played the first movement of the Ananda Concerto.If you want all 20 minutes instead of just the first 6, there will be apresentation of whole thing in Durham and Wilmington next February.
New recording and score on the Music page! A work in progress, the first installment of Ananda Songs for violin, soprano and piano (more music for Eric), A Sufi Song. The lyrics are by Rumi and you may see the words on the Spirituality page. Just the synthesized version for now but just you wait.
The physics experiment is getting very interesting. I've had the firstreal complete operation of the reactor last week, and it actuallyfunctions! No ball lightning yet, but I do get a generalized dischargethroughout the chamber for about a tenth of a second at 3 torr. There'sa long way to go; will have a new paper and photos in a little bit.It's a relief to see that my handmade microwave engineering actually functions, and rather dramatically.
August 21: Have been working on the Variations on the Grosse Fuge since completing the Ananda Sonata,changing it from a work for 5 synthesizers into a concerto for stringquartet and orchestra, and also a piano quintet. Both are now on theMusic page in synthesized recordings. The two versions cover pretty much the same notes but in very different ways.
School starts tomorrow....
The physics project proceeds apace. Had the first full-scaleeverything-turned-on test last week. The sparker filled the sphere witha flash of light; that thing has been very difficult to get to workcorrectly but now after several remakes and redesigns is reliable anddoes a good job. However powering the twenty magnetrons is moredifficult, and the 4000 V pulse blew up several resistors inspectacular fashion, leaving our ears ringing. Now I've got HV 500 ohmresistors en route shipping here and when they arrive, I'll fit theminto the circuit and flip the switches again. Let's hope next time theonly explosions are INSIDE the sphere! More pix after I buy another camera, lost mine during a trip to West Virginia recently.
June 18: Completed Eric Pritchard's Ananda Sonata for violin and piano in 32 days, now you can hear the synth recording and see the score on the Music page in the Music for Strings section. Quite a wild little piece. Looks like Eric will play the violin and piano version ofAnanda Concerto on his recitals next February, best guess at the moment.
May 12: Finished Eric's Ananda Concertoon May 4; completed the piano reduction of the orchestral scoreyesterday and the recording of the second movement today. You can findthe complete new concerto on the Music page. Now on to a violin sonata, again for Eric, which will take most of the summer.
Progress in physics; completed the semester with a presentation oncosmic ray detection; working on control circuitry, cameras, and thevacuum system for the plasma experiment now. I hope to start firing off the first shots within a month. Still a lot of work to go.
April 30: Terrific concert on April 28th at the 40th anniversary concert of the Duke University String School. Dorothy Kitchen conducted the first movement of theChamber Concertofor piano and small orchestra, with student soloist Joseph Shim. Thenext two movements will follow on the two fall concerts. Big crowdfilled Baldwin Auditorium, by far the biggest audience ever for my music.
Also, on April 20 the Chamber Concerto for piano, string orchestra and timpani was performed by the Virginia Youth Symphony Orchestra in Hampton Roads, VA, conducted by Robert Ian Winstin.
I've made arrangements of the Govinda Sonata for violin instead of flute, and of the Gayatri Sonatafor bassoon instead of cello. You can see the new scores on the Musicpage. Also I've added a new recording of the freshly finished third movement of the Ananda Concerto for violin and orchestra; all that's left is to compose the end of the second movement.
The physics progresses--will go a bit faster now that classes are over for the summer; should start making BIG SPARX within a month.
April 3 : Finally figured out how to adjust a recording of The Elements of Wind and Woodfor woodwind quintet; it's from a rehearsal in November 2005 by membersof the Nashville Symphony, but the second and third movements were toofast. Also I had to change the file format. Using Sonar 6 I changed thetempi and the recording is now posted on the Music page, do please givea listen. The first movement has an error in the horn part abouthalfway through due to a copywork mistake that lasts for some time, but...hope you don't mind!
Nobel Laureate Dr. David Lee from Cornell took a tour of my lab yesterday and found it quite interesting.
April 2: Infinite Energy magazine published the SMC reactor research proposalin the March/April 2007 issue. I'm afraid I can't believe anything elseI read in that magazine, but I can't really publish in a more standardjournal until I actually have results instead of severe speculation.Not far from starting to blow things up--hoping for May! Need to finishup some control circuits and rig the video, as well as pressure gauge, vacuum systems etc. But most of the grunt work is done.
February 22: I've posted the recordings of Sonatas 1, 10, and 11 from Eric's January 14th recital; sounds good!
Currently I'm composing Eric's concerto, as noted below, and also a reworking of the Variations on the Grosse Fugefor string quartet and orchestra. This is requiring some newcomposition but in general, the synthesizer original from 1987 falls easily into the new format.
January 16: The concerts went VERY well. Also I've updated the proposal paper on the Physics page. AND! On Christmas Day I started the Ananda Concertofor violin and orchestra, more stuff for Eric to play someday...andfinished the first movement a couple of days ago. See the score and listen to the synth MP3 on the Music page.
December 22: Not quite in time to mail out for Xmas, BUT! Now have finished The Fifth CD: Chamber Music, the best yet. Also, now the recording of Der Jammerwocknow has the vocal track included thanks to the singing of ThomasJaynes, baritone, who lives in Durham. Makes all the difference. AndI've freshened up recent recordings and scores to reflect recent tweaks. A strong end to a year that produced about an hour of music.
December 17: Finished the new Quartet for a New Beginning for violin, clarinet, cello, and piano. Any resemblance to Quartet for the End of Timeis purely coincidental. The complete recording and score now on theMusic page. Come give a listen! This is the final piece for the new 5th CD that will come out very shortly.
November 3: Onthe next convenient Saturday I venture to the Raleigh landfill for afresh crop of microwave oven transformers. And early next week I getparts from the physics department machine shop that will make itpossible to start putting together the microwave circuit from the magnetrons to the pressure sphere. Ifyou want to see more done faster, better, and with more style, feelfree to contribute to this unfunded research. Currently it depends on my taking out student loans.My current debt is considerably more than the total I've ever earned.OUCH! This does make it possible to give the idea away into the commondomain in the manner of pure research.
August 15: Now the complete score and synth recording of the newly completed Aditya Hridayam for oboe, violin and piano composed for Joseph and Mary Kay Robinson is on the Music page.
I've taken up lab space with Dr. David Aspnes here at NCSU at the Centennial Campus and will post pictures soon on an SMC lab page.
July 14: Muchprogress! 44 capacitors are en route, big-ass sparks to follow. Twoaluminum hemispheres are on hand now, 22" across and 3/8" thick, hit'em with a stick and they ring for a couple of minutes. If the physicsdon't work then I'm a percussionist. Also have started stockpilingpower supplies, have been coating 20 helical antennas with ceramic, andam crunching the numbers on the big complex magnet I'll be winding. Thank God for eBay.
May 14: Now have the complete synthesized recording of a new piece for flute and piano, the Govinda Sonata, on the music page. And yes, the Govinda in question is the Ideal Flute Player of all time, Sri Krishna.....This new piece was written between early March and May 11.
May 7:Exams finished(May 5 for me). Today added the live performancerecordings from the Duke recital of March 31 to the Music page. I havethe synth recordings of both the nonet and orchestral versions ofDer Jammervockon the Music page, not including the baritone part yet. My singingisn't quite up to the challenge so still looking for a good vocalist. This may be my best piece yet, give it a listen.....Oh, and see the Cure for War and my favorite mantras on the Spirituality page.
April 4: Had a wonderful concert at Duke Friday March 31, the first all-Bill recital in 22 years. Here's the program. Met some interesting people from the audience and if all goes well,there will be more of my music heard at Duke. The program was five of my 11 solo violin sonatas.
October 25, 2005
Just got a letter from Social Securitydisclosing all my reported wages from the first in 1970 to the end of 2004: I think you will find it amusing. Please to click on the link!
October 1, 2005:
Oh, and I just wrote a sharp-tongued letter to my alma mater PhillipsAcademy, Andover (the same prep school that George HW, GeorgeW, and Jeb Bush stained with their presence) that the alumni Bulletin didn't dare print....