Beverly Hills Composer Doesn't Make Music the Old-Fashioned Way
Michael Robinson is a composer of the modern age. Unlike composers of yesteryear, the Beverly Hills resident uses high-tech equipment to create his music.
Since 1985, he has written compositions exclusively for the computer, and it has produced some rather unusual sounds.
Robinson composes music with traditional notations on paper before it is translated and encoded into the computer. From there the sound module (a synthesizer without a keyboard) generates synthesized sounds through two speakers. It can simultaneously produce 32 voices, or lines, in eight timbres.
"The computer is the vehicle for which the music travels through," the New York native said. "It brings out parts of our experiences better than traditional music because it's a limitless media."
Robinson discovered an interest in music as a high school student playing the saxophone. He earned a bachelor's degree in music at the State University of New York at Potsdam and took classes from musical greats such as Leonard Bernstein at The Tanglewood Music Center in western Massachusetts.
For several years he wrote string quartets and other musical compositions, yet he felt something was missing from his music and sought to make a change. "I wasn't achieving the results that I wanted with composition or saxophone improvisation", he said. "It was also very difficult to have my compositions performed properly, and as a performer you can only play one instrument at a time. I gradually began experimenting with a computer/synthesizer."
At 8 p.m. Thursday, Robinson will perform a concert at Saint Augustine-By-The-Sea Church in Santa Monica. The performance will feature recent compositions, including the world premiere of the three-movement pieceFirst Instrument.
- Christina V. Godbey, Los Angeles Times (1993)