Paula Robison’s elegant artistry and passionate intellect have inspired the musical world. Born to a family of writers, actors, dancers and musicians, her groundbreaking performances have made her a role model for young flutists everywhere. Ms. Robison’s playing spans a strikingly diverse repertoire and she has commissioned well over 30 works for flute. Her delight with Brazilian music adds yet another dimension to her programming of solo and chamber music. Beyond the concert stage, Ms. Robison is renowned for her masterclasses, original transcriptions and books on the art of flute playing. She has commissioned concertos by Leon Kirchner, Toru Takemitsu, Oliver Knussen, Robert Beaser and Kenneth Frazelle. She gave the world premiere of Notturno, composed for her by Michael Tilson Thomas, at Carnegie’s Zankel Hall. She has collaborated with many distinguished artists and organizations, including the New York Philharmonic and Leipzig Gewandhaus Bach Orchestra, I Solisti Veneti, the Budapest Strings, New York’s Mostly Mozart, Jazz at Lincoln Center and the Marlboro and Santa Fe Music Festivals. Regular recital appearances include an annual sold-out Vivaldi series at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.
A founding member of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Ms. Robison held the prestigious title of artist-member for twenty seasons. During the same period she was co-director with Scott Nickrenz of the Concerti di Mezzogiorno at the Spoleto Festival, earning her the 1987 Adelaide Ristori Prize for her contribution to Italian cultural life. Ms. Robison is co-director of Boston’s Gardner Chamber Orchestra.
Born in Tennessee, Ms. Robison spent her childhood in California and began to play the flute in a school band at the age of eleven. When she was 20, Leonard Bernstein invited her to solo with the New York Philharmonic. A graduate of The Juilliard School, she gave her New York recital debut under the auspices of Young Concert Artists and the following year became the first American to win First Prize in flute at the Geneva International Competition. Paula Robison’s teaching has taken her all over the world, including a Franz Liszt residency in Budapest. A faculty member at the New England Conservatory, she is the first occupant of the Donna Hieken Flute Chair.
Ms. Robison’s many contributions to the city of Charleston, South Carolina (including ongoing projects with the Charleston Symphony), have earned her an official Honorary Citizenship for Life.