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KEVIN ROBISON is an American composer and conductor specializing in choral, orchestral, piano and theatre music. His wealth of experience as a singer, choral conductor, and choral accompanist, coupled with a lifelong passion for theater and storytelling, has shaped a unique perspective on language-driven performance and composition.

 

With over 200 compositions and arrangements to his credit, Robison is known for a wide range of skillfully-crafted works that enthrall listeners and performers alike. He has received over one-hundred commissions from ensembles throughout the U.S., including Santa Fe Desert Chorale, Turtle Creek Chorale, New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, San Francisco Gay Men’s Chorus, and Seattle Men’s Chorus. His extended work for chorus and orchestra, Libertad, was premiered by Voices of Note in 2016, and his Fantasia on Appalachian Folk Songs for solo voice and orchestra will be premiered by Symphony of the Mountains in 2024 with American tenor Roy Cornelius Smith. He has written and recorded two holiday piano albums, available in stores and published at SheetMusicPlus, and has published a number of choral pieces in the catalogues of Hal Leonard, Oxford University Press, and Alfred Music Publishing.

 

Also a theatre music professional, Robison was Resident Director of Music at California’s Pacific Conservatory Theatre for seven years, where he conducted professional productions and taught musical theatre classes. While there, he wrote his first book, The Actor Sings: Discovering a Musical Voice for the Stage (Heinemann, 2000), and received a Los Angeles Robby Award Nomination for his musical direction of Sweeney Todd. He also composed scores for the plays Skylight, Macbeth, and The Winter's Tale, as well as Twelfth Night, for which he received Best Original Score recognition in BackStage West. 

In 2003, a greater desire for social advocacy through music led him to Southern California where he accepted the position of Assistant Conductor of Gay Men's Chorus of Los Angeles. In addition to conducting numerous performances by the 200-voice ensemble, he co-created collaborative programs with Broadway luminaries Susan Egan, Billy Porter, Lily Tomlin, Jerry Herman and John Kander, toured South America, and conducted the chorus in a tribute event honoring Sir Elton John. While in L.A. he was also pianist for two stage plays written and directed by Del Shores: Sordid Lives (with members of the movie cast), and Blues for Willadean with Beth Grant and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer.

In 2007, he left California to become the first full-time artistic director of the Atlanta Gay Men’s Chorus, leading the state of Georgia's largest self-sustaining choral ensemble in over 100 performances that included collaborations with Matt Alber, Jazz Orchestra Atlanta, Donzaleigh Abernathy and others. Over the course of ten years, he brought the chorus to international acclaim in the LGBT movement by advancing the genre of choral theatre, which included the creation and commissioning of original concert works such as Andrew Lippa's oratorio I Am Harvey Milk, for which he conducted the East Coast premiere. In 2013, along with the AGMC staff and board of directors, he established the Atlanta Women’s Chorus and the umbrella arts organization Voices of Note, which has been celebrating choral music across the spectrum of gender identity for over a decade. 

In 2017, he stepped down from Voices of Note to return to composing, teaching and theatre music direction, which led him to Atlanta's most cutting-edge theatre, Actor's Express, where he has been music director for concert versions of The Harvey Milk Show and Sondheim's Merrily We Roll Along.

Robison hails from Big Stone Gap, Virginia, where he made his performing debut on the stage of the state’s official outdoor drama, The Trail of the Lonesome Pine. He lives in Atlanta.

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