Robert Carl

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Robert Carl at the piano - from a concert at the Salinas Arts Center (Salinas, KS) in Feb. 2004. Robertcarl.jpg
Robert Carl at the piano - from a concert at the Salinas Arts Center (Salinas, KS) in Feb. 2004.

Robert Carl (born July 12, 1954 in Bethesda, Maryland) is an American composer who currently resides in Hartford, Connecticut, where he is chair of the composition department at the Hartt School, University of Hartford. [1]

Bethesda, Maryland Census-designated place in Maryland, United States

Bethesda is an unincorporated, census-designated place in southern Montgomery County, Maryland, United States, located just northwest of the U.S. capital of Washington, D.C. It takes its name from a local church, the Bethesda Meeting House, which in turn took its name from Jerusalem's Pool of Bethesda. In Aramaic, beth ḥesda means "House of Mercy" and in Hebrew, beit ḥesed means "House of Kindness". The National Institutes of Health main campus and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center are in Bethesda, as are a number of corporate and government headquarters.

Composer person who creates music, either by musical notation or oral tradition

A composer is a musician who is an author of music in any form, including vocal music, instrumental music, electronic music, and music which combines multiple forms. A composer may create music in any music genre, including, for example, classical music, musical theatre, blues, folk music, jazz, and popular music. Composers often express their works in a written musical score using musical notation.

Hartford, Connecticut capital of Connecticut

Hartford is the capital city of Connecticut. It was the seat of Hartford County until Connecticut disbanded county government in 1960. The city is nicknamed the "Insurance Capital of the World", as it hosts many insurance company headquarters and is the region's major industry. It is the core city in the Greater Hartford area of Connecticut. Census estimates since the 2010 United States Census have indicated that Hartford is the fourth-largest city in Connecticut, behind the coastal cities of Bridgeport, New Haven, and Stamford.



Carl studied with Jonathan Kramer, George Rochberg, Ralph Shapey, and Iannis Xenakis. From each respectively, the composer has commented that he feels he learned about time, history, counterpoint/phrasing, and form. [2] His music finds its roots in the spirit of eclectic juxtapositions, transcendentalism, and experiment embodied in the output of Charles Ives and other American "ultramodernists", including Carl Ruggles. [3]

Jonathan Kramer American composer

Jonathan Donald Kramer was an American composer and music theorist.

George Rochberg was an American composer of contemporary classical music. Long a serial composer, Rochberg abandoned the practice following the death of his teenage son in 1964; he claimed this compositional technique had proved inadequate to express his grief and had found it empty of expressive intent. By the 1970s, Rochberg's use of tonal passages in his music had invoked controversy among critics and fellow composers. A teacher at the University of Pennsylvania until 1983, Rochberg also served as chairman of its music department until 1968 and was named the first Annenberg Professor of the Humanities in 1978. For notable students See: List of music students by teacher: R to S#George Rochberg.

Ralph Shapey American composer and conductor

Ralph Shapey was an American composer and conductor.

Carl’s music until 1997 tends to explore different styles, and to create unusual syntheses thereof. A history major as an undergraduate at Yale University, he has felt that the musical past is a fertile source to be manipulated for new expressive purposes. Duke Meets Mort (1992) is a saxophone quartet that interprets the harmonic changes of Duke Ellington’s Mood Indigo in the voice of Morton Feldman. Time/Memory/Shadow (1988) is a double trio (piano quintet and harp) based on a march written in the composer’s adolescence, which is slowly “excavated” in the course of the piece, and only revealed at the end.

History past events and their record

History is the study of the past as it is described in written documents. Events occurring before written record are considered prehistory. It is an umbrella term that relates to past events as well as the memory, discovery, collection, organization, presentation, and interpretation of information about these events. Scholars who write about history are called historians.

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is an American private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

Duke Ellington American jazz musician, composer and band leader

Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra, which he led from 1923 until his death over a career spanning more than fifty years.

From 1998 on, starting with Open for string trio, Carl’s music has become less referential. Since 2001 he has developed a technique of basing his harmonies on the overtone series, with common partials above different fundamentals serving as pivots for progressions and modulations. In American Music in the Twentieth Century, critic Kyle Gann described Carl's more recent style: "(he) has settled into a more serene, meditative idiom, but still with a dissonant edge." [4] More recent works that represent this approach include The Wind’s Trace Rests on Leaves and Waves (2005) for string quintet (premiered by the Miami String Quartet and Robert Black), Marfantasie (2004) for electric guitar and large ensemble, Shake the Tree for piano four-hands (2005), A Musical Enquiry Into the Sublime and Beautiful (2006–07) for chamber orchestra, La Ville Engloutie (2007) for wind ensemble, Fourth Symphony (2008), [5] and Piano Quintet "Search" (2012). Carl also frequently collaborates with sculptor Karen McCoy, creating sound components of installation art works, including pieces for the Sculpture Key Festivals of 2009 and 2010, [6] and the 2013 Wintergreen Festival.

Kyle Gann American composer

Kyle Eugene Gann is an American professor of music, critic, analyst, and composer who has worked primarily in the New York City area. As a music critic for The Village Voice and other publications, he has supported progressive music, including such "downtown" movements as postminimalism and totalism.

The Miami String Quartet is an American string quartet. The group was founded in 1988 at The New World School of the Arts by John de Lancie in Miami, Florida. The Quartet was in Residence at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio, where all four members served as faculty members in the School of Music, and two still remain. The Quartet was the Grand Prize winner at the Fischoff competition, First Prize winners of the Concert Artists Guild competition, and prize winners at the London and Evian International Quartet Competitions. They were awarded the Cleveland Quartet Award and were named to the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center II Residency as well. The Miami Quartet has served as Artists in Residence at the Hartt School and Florida International University and perform and teach at the Kent Blossom Music Festival every summer.

Robert Carlisle Black was an American conductor, pianist and composer. He was most particularly associated with the promotion, performance and recording of contemporary classical music, but he also played and conducted the standard repertoire.

Carl's music has been released by Innova Recordings, New World Records, and Centaur Records, among others.

Innova Recordings is the independent record label of the non-profit American Composers Forum based in St. Paul, Minnesota. It was founded in 1982 to document the winners of the McKnight Fellowship offered by its parent organization, the Minnesota Composers Forum.

New World Records is a record label that was established in 1975 through a Rockefeller Foundation grant to celebrate America's bicentennial (1976) by producing a 100-LP anthology, with American music from many genres.

Centaur Records is one of the oldest and largest independent classical labels in America. The company is located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and was founded by Victor Sachse in 1976. Centaur's catalog includes classical, historical, pops, contemporary, crossover, electro-acoustic, and world music.


Since 1994, Carl has been a critic for Fanfare magazine, where he writes extensively on new music recordings. In addition, he has completed a book on Terry Riley’s In C, published in 2009 by Oxford University Press. [7] [8] [9] His interest in Japanese music (Carl often performs his own music on the shakuhachi) led to a residency in Tokyo in spring 2007, which resulted in interviews with 25 contemporary Japanese composers. In 2013, Carl published "Eight Waves a Composer Will Ride in This Century" [10] on an emerging common practice period that he observes in twenty-first-century compositional practice, based on the universality of music technology, globalism, cross-disciplinary collaboration, and sonic essentialism.

Terry Riley American composer and performing musician

Terrence Mitchell Riley is an American composer and performing musician associated with the minimalist school of Western classical music, of which he was a pioneer. His work is deeply influenced by both jazz and Indian classical music, and has utilized innovative tape music techniques and delay systems. He is best known for works such as his 1964 composition In C and 1969 album A Rainbow in Curved Air, both considered landmarks of minimalist music.

<i>In C</i> musical composition

In C is a musical piece composed by Terry Riley in 1964 for an indefinite number of performers. He suggests "a group of about 35 is desired if possible but smaller or larger groups will work". A series of short melodic fragments, In C is often cited as the first minimalist composition. It was first performed by Steve Reich, Jon Gibson, Pauline Oliveros and Morton Subotnick at the San Francisco Tape Centre.

Oxford University Press (OUP) is the largest university press in the world, and the second oldest after Cambridge University Press. It is a department of the University of Oxford and is governed by a group of 15 academics appointed by the vice-chancellor known as the delegates of the press. They are headed by the secretary to the delegates, who serves as OUP's chief executive and as its major representative on other university bodies. Oxford University has used a similar system to oversee OUP since the 17th century. The Press is located on Walton Street, opposite Somerville College, in the suburb Jericho.

Selected works

Orchestral and ensemble
Chamber music

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  1. "Robert Carl : Chair of Composition Department, Professor of Composition and Theory". Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  2. "Robert Carl: The Time Keeper". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  3. Carl, Robert. "Macro-Structure in Carl Ruggles's Sun-Treader: A Fearful Symmetry", Sonus, Vol.15, No.2 Spring 1995
  4. Gann, Kyle. American Music in the Twentieth Century. New York: Schirmer Books, 1997. Pg. 250.
  5. Kyle Gann. "The Symphonic Temperament". PostClassic. Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  6. "from the archives". Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  7. Robert Carl (January 14, 2010). "A Conversation with Robert Carl, author of Terry Riley's In C". NewMusicBox (Interview). Interviewed by Frank J. Oteri.
  8. Archived April 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  9. "Book review: In C". Retrieved 16 January 2015.
  10. "Eight Waves a Composer Will Ride in This Century". NewMusicBox. Retrieved 16 January 2015.

Further reading