Washburn, Robert, American composer and music educator; b. Bouckville, N.Y., July 11, 1928. He received training in music education at the Crane School of Music at the State Univ. of N.Y. Coll. at Potsdam (B.S., 1949; M.S., 1955) and in composition at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. (Ph.D., 1960), with Milhaud at the Aspen (Colo.) Music School (summer, 1963), and with Boulanger in Paris (1964). From 1954 to 1985 he taught at the Crane School of Music, where he also was its dean (1982-85). Thereafter he held the titles of dean emeritus and senior fellow in music. He made tours throughout North America and overseas as a guest composer-conductor. His articles on music education appeared in various journals. Among his honors were a Ford Foundation fellowship (1959-60), a MacDowell Colony fellowship (1963), an NEA grant (1981), a Fulbright fellowship (1986), and Meet the Composer grants (1991, 1993). Washburn has been especially effective in composing works for college and high school groups. He favors a tonal mode of expression along neo-Classical lines. He has also utilized non-Western elements in some of his scores.
orch: 3 Pieces (1959); Suite for Strings (1959); Sym. No. 1 (1959; 1st movement publ. as Festive Overture); Synthesis (1959); St. Lawrence Overture (1962); Passacaglia and Fugue for Strings (1963); Sinfonietta for Strings (1963); Serenade for Strings (1966); Song and Dance for Strings (1967); North Country Sketch (1969); Prologue and Dance (1970); Excursion (1970); Elegy (1974); Mid-America, overture (1976); 5 Adirondack Sketches for Small Orch. (1989); Saraswati Suite for Strings and Tabla (1990); New England Holiday (1992); Queen Noor Suite for Strings (1992); Scottish Fantasy (1993); Knightsbridge Suite for Strings (1993); Caravelle Overture (1994); It’s the Pizz.l for Strings (1994). Band: March and Chorale (1955); Ode (1955); Burlesk (1956); Pageantry (1962); Sym. (1963); Partita (1964); Suite (1967); Ceremonial Music (1968); Intrada, Chorale, and Toccata (1970); Prelude and Paragrams (1972); Epigon IV (1974); Trigon (1975); 3 Diversions (1978); Impressions of Cairo (1978); Olympic March (1979); Kilimanjaro (1981); Equinox (1983); Pageant Royale (1988); Tower Bridge (1992); Temple on the Nile (1992); Hoosier Holiday (1994); Tidewater Festival Overture (1994); Far East Fantasy (1995); Song of Krishna (1995). CHAMBER: Suite for Wind Quintet (1960); String Quartet (1963); Concertino for Brass and Wind Quintets (1964); Woodwind Quintet (1967); Brass Quintet (1970); Prayer and Alleluia for Organ, 2 Trumpets, Trombone, and Timpani (1972); Pent- agons for Percussion (1973); Festive Fanfare for Brass and Percussion (1975); French Suite for Oboe, Clarinet, and Bassoon (1980); Trio for Piano and Strings (1984); Hornography for Horn Quartet (1990). VOCAL: 3 Shakespearean Love Songs for Men’s Chorus, Piano, and Optional Horn (1963); Spring Cantata for Chorus (1973); We Hold These Truths for Narrator, Chorus, and Band or Orch. (1974); 3 Thoughts from Thoreau for Voices and Piano (1976).
—Nicolas Slonimsky/Laura Kuhn/Dennis McIntire