Here is an interview with Robert in 2020:
How long have you played your instrument?
I began to play the cello in fifth grade, just after I lost three-quarters of my hearing. By the time I was a senior in high school, in spring 1971, I was first chair in the Michigan All-State Orchestra. Altogether, I have played for 57 years, 40 as a professional cellist.
How long have you been a Wilmington Symphony Orchestra musician?
What do you do for a career?
I am a professional cellist and historical musicologist. I perform, teach private lessons, and publish original research.
Where did you grow up?
What is your favorite song, artist, and/or musical memory?
When I was in graduate school, I took a break to play for fifteen months in Mexico City in a full-time orchestra, La Orquesta Mèxicana de la Juventud. Half the orchestra was Hungarian, half American, with a scattering of Latin Americans. We played some great repertory, and played it well: Mozart, Symphony no. 39 in E-flat; Stravinsky, Pulcinella; Rossini, Overture to William Tell (complete); Dvořák, Serenade for Strings in E Major; Bartók, Romanian Dances. It was amazing to experience Mexican culture first-hand.
Favorite meal or restaurant?
Homemade cheese enchiladas, Arizona style
Maryland crab cake sandwich
Leffe blonde, a Belgian ale
What is your favorite vacation?
I travel to Bruges, Belgium every year to work in the archives and play chamber music.
You're stuck on a desert island... What book, music/album/artist and/or movie do you want with you??
Missa ‘Se la face ay pale’ by Guillaume Du Fay, a fifteenth-century composer
Complete Mozart String Quintets
What do you want people to know about the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra?
Wilmington is fortunate to have a dedicated orchestra like the WSO to play classical repertory and contemporary music. Travel up the North Carolina coast and you will find nothing comparable. The WSO Youth Orchestras also make a great contribution to the community.
How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day?
I have spent most of the year finishing a book on the late fifteenth-century composer, Jacob Hobrecht (or Obrecht), titled *Hobrecht and His Singers*. It places his biography in context within the church where he worked in Bruges on two different occasions. I had a grant in spring 2008 to lay the initial groundwork, then began the research in earnest in spring 2011. It will be ready to submit to a publisher by December.
Any words of wisdom to help others through this?
The current circumstances set unaccustomed limits upon us. Set a goal that is important to you and work towards it.
Beverly Andrews, Co-Concertmaster
Christine Maynard, Co-Concertmaster
Mary Jo White