Composers' Symposium

I was involved with the Composers' Symposium at UNM since I arrived in 1980 and I always considered it to be a significant part of my creative work. At first it was through invitations to composers that led to performances of their percussion music. These included Konrad Boehmer, Lou Harrison, John Cage, Michael Colgrass, James Tenney, and Christian Wolff. Wolff and Tenney wrote music specifically for the UNM Percussion Ensemble (Merce and Pika-Don, respectively) that was performed on the festival.

From 2001 until 2012,  I served as Artistic Director of what is now called the John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium, named after composer, ethnomusicologist and former Dean of the College of Fine Arts, John Donald Robb. Hundreds of composers participated in that period of time and headliners included Anthony Braxton (2003), Julio Estrada (2001), Pauline Oliveros (2002), Robert Cogan, Pozzi Escot (2004) and Cecil Taylor (2005). From 2006-2008, the symposium featured three composers who were part of the ONCE festivals: Roger Reynolds, Robert Ashley and Gordon Mumma. The next three symposiums included headliners George Lewis (2009), Martin Bresnick (2010) and Konrad Boehmer (2011). There was no headliner for 2012, my last symposium and planned as part of the New Mexico Centennial celebrations. Instead it was a collaboration with many of New Mexico's presenting venues, both in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and during fifteen concerts over nine days featured more than fifty composers who either lived in New Mexico or had spent a significant amount of time there. Sample Symposium programs from my time as Artistic Director can be found below.

For more information about the Symposium and its present activities, visit the Robb Trust website at: