To say that Carol Robinson is a Franco-American composer and clarinetist is perhaps too restrictive to describe the eclecticism of her experience and passion. In fact, she seems interested in everything having to do with sound. She is not someone who likes the middle ground, preferring the edges, the extremes. Her music is situated in those places of tenderness and rage, gentleness and power that come from experience and mastery. Trained as a classical clarinetist, she graduated from the Oberlin Conservatory before continuing her study of contemporary music in Paris thanks to a H.H. Wooley grant. Whether playing repertoire or more adventurous material, she performs in major venues and festivals the world over (Festival d’Automne, MaerzMuzik, Archipel, RomaEuropa, Wien Modern, Huddersfield…), and works closely with musicians from a wide stylistic spectrum. A fervent improviser, she prefers the most open musical situations and regularly collaborates with photographers, visual artists and videographers.
In parallel, it was through writing music theater pieces that she began composing seriously. She started with small ensembles, and rapidly received commissions for larger works. Most recently, she composed Mr Barbe bleue (commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture) a pocket opera for baroque ensemble produced by the Opéra de Reims, and co-signed Occam Hexa II with Eliane Radigue, for the Decibel ensemble in Perth, Australia.
Long fascinated by the extended possibilities of live and fixed electronic music, Carol Robinson has written numerous pieces for acoustic instruments and electronics. Her exploration and use of aleatory procedures is distinctive.
In 2015, she wrote three pieces incorporating these methods: Nacarat for electric guitar and quadriphonic electronics (co-production La Muse en Circuit, Césaré, Art Zoyd), Black on Green for double bass and tri-phonic electronics (commission GMEM), and Les si doux redoux for basset horn and mobile stereo electronics. These pieces belong to her cycle The Weather Pieces, begun in 2012.
Carol Robinson particularly enjoys writing for dance, working with choreographers Susan Buirge (La terrasse à l’ombre de la lune, Le chasseur
au lac, Dogu Déterré – commissioned by the Fondation Royaumont), Nadège MacLeay (Le Carreau – commissioned by the French Ministry of Culture, M-Music, Just Let it Go, Nana’s Flight, Ratatatat, Pôles, Creases), Young Ho Nam (Composé / Décomposé – commissioned by Radio France), Robert Swinston (Event), François Verret (Contrecoup)…
Carol Robinson’s recent recordings demonstrate the breadth of her work. In addition to her own compositions Billows (PLUSH), Laima (Expériences de Vol) and Cross-Currents (SHIIIN), there are also monographic recordings of important contemporary composers such as Giacinto Scelsi, Luigi Nono, Morton Feldman, Luciano Berio (MODE), Eliane Radigue (SHIIIN), Pill Niblock (TOUCH), as well as alternative rock, jazz, and classical music.