Get to Know...Elizabeth Robinson
It’s FNMC Composition Contest season! The first deadline is only about a month away. What better time to feature the lady behind it all?! Elizabeth Robinson is the Vice President and Competition Coordinator of the Flute New Music Consortium. Perhaps we should call her the Countess of the Composition Contest. Without her incredible dedication and skill, the composition contest would not be possible. Each year, she dedicates countless hours to the competition. Elizabeth expertly manages the entries; carefully cataloging them, booking judges, communicating with the composers, and meticulously maintaining the integrity of the process.
Like the rest of the board, Elizabeth contributes to FNMC by leading projects outside her specific duties. She coordinated the CMS Great Plains proposal in 2016 and crafted the proposal and will act as moderator for a panel discussion at NFA this summer entitled “Keeping Score: A Conversation about Commissioning New Works.” The panel will feature composers Asha Srinivasan and Nicole Chamberlain and flutist/commissioners Nicole Riner (FNMC Membership and Communications Chair) and Jan Vinci (FNMC Artistic Advisor). Elizabeth also spearheaded the FNMC t-shirt project.
Elizabeth performed and/or presented on behalf of FNMC at the CMS Great Plains Regional Conference, NACWPI Conference, and the NFA Convention in Chicago. Elizabeth was a commissioning member for Zhou Long’s Confluence and renewed as a Pann commissioning member. She has performed several works honored in the FNMC Composition Contest including; French Quarter by Nicole Chamberlain, Cycling by Panayiotis Korkoras, Van Gogh Vignettes by Greg Steinke, and Dviraag by Asha Srinivasan
Although Elizabeth and I have worked together on the FNMC board since the inception of the organization and I consider her a friend, we’ve never met in person. Our friendship and working relationship developed through emails, google chats, and an occasional phone call. Her wit and sense of humor never fail to bring levity to our board meetings! It turns out forming friendships is a great benefit of FNMC.
Q&A with Elizabeth…
What about new music for the flute appeals to you?
I've always had a commitment to new music. The opportunity to help create something new is an exciting one. To witness the creation of a work from inception to performance is a very gratifying process. Collaboration between artists and composers is critical as we try to advance the repertoire.
Describe your musical background and current activities.
I currently serve as the Vice President and Competition Coordinator for the Flute New Music Consortium. I hold the Diana Osterhout piccolo chair in the Topeka Symphony and teach academic courses at Kansas State University.
When did you join FNMC and what attracted you to the organization?
I was one of the founding members of FNMC. I loved the idea of promoting new, high quality works for the flute repertoire. I was excited about building a community of flutists with similar interests, and about helping connect that community with the composition community. Several years later, it's exciting to watch those ideas turn into reality - and I'm excited to see what our future holds!
Do you have any upcoming events that you would like our friends and followers to know about?
I just completed a performance of Daniel Dorff's Flash! with the Kansas State University Wind Symphony, and have begun a series of commissions for piccolo, beginning with a solo work by recent competition finalist Nicole Chamberlain. I'm hoping to make announcements about the second work soon!
What advice can you give to flutists about approaching new music in practice?
The biggest piece of advice would be that if it is new music, the composer is likely still alive - so contact them! Start a dialogue. Collaborate with them on their new piece, and don't be afraid to speak with them and get your questions answered. In your practice, make sure it's knowledgeable practice. Analyze the piece and create informed musical opinions about what you are playing.
More About Elizabeth…
Dr. Elizabeth Robinson holds the Diana Osterhout piccolo chair of the Topeka Symphony and serves as an instructor of flute at Missouri State Southern University. An active teacher and performer, she has appeared as a guest artist throughout the midwest, teaching masterclasses and workshops ranging from Extended Techniques for Dummies to Yoga for Flutists/Musicians. She is founding member of Tornado Alley Flutes, a professional flute ensemble based in the heart of tornado alley.
Winner of the 2012 National Flute Association Graduate Research Competition, her dissertation Voice, Itinerant, and Air: The Solo Flute Works of Toru Takemitsu, was presented at the 2012 NFA Convention.