John Donald Robb Musical Trust
The UNM John Donald Robb Musical Trust supports the diverse musical legacy of John Donald Robb, who served as dean of the UNM College of Fine Arts from 1942-57. He was a prolific composer and a tireless collector of traditional songs and dances from the Southwest, Nepal and South America. During the 1940s and 1950s, Robb spent countless weekends traveling across New Mexico recording traditional Hispanic folk songs at community gatherings and in living rooms. That expansive collection, the John Donald Robb Field Recordings, is now available to the public at the UNM Libraries’ Center for Southwest Research, along with original scores of his own compositions and personal papers.
The Robb Musical Trust uniquely champions the study, performance, dissemination and promotion of John Donald Robb’s lifetime of work, which spanned the realms of classical music to the electronic music of the 1960s. In fact, he was one of the first to purchase a Moog synthesizer, and he composed a respected body of work on the ground-breaking instrument.
The Trust promotes the exploration of new music through the UNM John Donald Robb Composers’ Symposium, which takes place every spring on the UNM campus. Since 1972, the internationally renowned symposium has brought composers and musicians from around the world to UNM for a series of public concerts and unique learning opportunities for UNM students. Past guest composers have included such luminaries as John Cage, Lukas Foss, Michael Colgrass, Anthony Braxton and Gordon Mumma.
Every other year, the Trust sponsors the UNM John Donald Robb Composers’ Competition. The winner receives a cash prize and the opportunity to have his/her composition performed during the Composers’ Symposium.
The Robb Musical Trust serves as a bridge between the UNM College of Fine Arts and the New Mexico community, regularly presenting concerts of Robb’s compositions along with Hispanic folk songs, and collaborating with community partners in eduational initiatives. Through its many activities, the Trust proudly carries on the vision of its namesake, John Donald Robb.