MusicPodcastsThe Berkshire Review in Boston

Paula Robison talks to Michael Miller

Paula Robison
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Paula Robison. Photo Kate L Photography.
Paula Robison. Photo Kate L Photography.

On the day following her amazing recital with Katherine Chi at Jordan Hall, Paula Robison and I met at the house she shares with her husband, Scott Nickrenz, with its bird’s eye view of Frederick Law Olmsted’s house and garden. In the hour or so we talked we covered a lot of ground: the concert, her preparations for it, and some of the music she played…we talked about Sidney Lanier, the poet, linguist, and self-taught flute virtuoso, who died at 39 of tuberculosis contracted as a Confederate prisoner of war, and Charles T. Griffes, who died at 35 of the same disease, leaving behind a remarkable body of exploratory compositions, Paul Taffanel, the founder of modern flute playing and the teacher of Ms. Robison’s teacher, the great Marcel Moyse. We talked about Isabella Stewart Gardner and her museum, Bernard and Mary Berenson, her brother Logan Pearsall Smith, Marlboro, Marcel Moyse, Rudolf Serkin, and Pablo Casals. We also talked about spirituality, Christianity and Judaism, and the CDs she has made in collaboration with Berkshire artist Jim Schantz, Places of the Spirit, featuring the Berkshires in one album and the Israel in another. And then there was the acoustics of Jordan Hall and Alice Tully Hall—the old one and the new one compared—the Tannery Pond Concerts and their knowledgeable audience, the heritage of her progressively-minded parents…and driving in Boston!

The interview is introduced and concluded with excerpts from Sidney Lanier’s Wind Song, which you can hear in its entirety below.

About Michael Miller

Michael Miller, Editor and Publisher of New York Arts and The Berkshire Review, an International Journal for the Arts, was trained as a classicist and art historian at Harvard and Oxford, worked in the art world for many years as a curator and dealer, and contributed reviews and articles to Bostonia, Master Drawings, Drawing, Threshold, and North American Opera Journal, as well as numerous articles for scholarly and popular periodicals. He has taught courses in classics, the English language, and art history at Oberlin, Rutgers, New York University, the New School, and Williams. Currently, when he is not at work on The Berkshire Review and New York Arts, he writes fiction, pursues photography, and publishes scholarly work. In 2011 he contributed an introductory essay to Leonard Freed: The Italians / exh. cat. Io Amo L’Italia, exhibition at Le Stelline, Milan, and wrote the revised the section on American opera houses in The Grove Dictionary of American Music. He is currently at work on a libretto for a new opera by Lewis Spratlan, Midi, an adaptation of Euripides’ Medea set in the French West Indies, ca. 1930.

One comment
  1. Jerry Pritchard

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for making this interview available on the web. Such an interesting, revealing and profound conversation with two people of intelligence, knowledge and wide experience in music interacting so directly and honestly. Paula is one of the treasures of our musical life in the U.S. and I am so pleased that she is still determined to concertize.

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