About

Robert is a composer living in Boston, MA. He co-founded the Sleeping Giant composer collective and co-directs the Fast Forward Austin music festival. Send me emails at rhonstein@gmail.com !

Check out my store to purchase albums and scores.

long bio

Press

Click here to see what people have to say about Robert's music.

Click here to download press materials for Robert.

Events Calendar

  • Fr 6.10.16: Dogs of Desire
  • Sa 6.11.16: Index @ EMPAC
  • Tu 6.14.16: TIC @ Geneva
  • Fr 7.8.16: Economy @ CV
  • Tu 7.12.16: MEE @ Beverly
  • Fr 7.15.16: MEE @ Gloucester
  • Sa 7.16.16: MEE @ Topsfield
  • Th 7.28.16: Ash @ MASS MoCA
  • Su 6.4.17: Requiem @ DPO
Click here to see past events.

Hand Eye, the album

Photo by Elliot Mandel

Photo by Elliot Mandel

I’m very excited to report that Hand Eye, the evening length piece by Sleeping Giant for eighth blackbird, is being released April 8 on Cedille Records. Read all about it here, and click here to get a free download of a preview track, which happens to be the third movement from my piece Conduit. Currently touring around the country to rave reviews, this project has been epic and wonderful. I’m really proud to be a part of it and thrilled that it will soon be available for all to enjoy!

Orison, live recording

A wonderful recording of the world premiere of my piece Orison for cello and electronics is now available. Composed for Ashley Bathgate as part of Sleeping Giant’s Ash, the piece is a slow, meditation on the memory, and resonance, of the  Sarabandes in Bach’s cello suites. It’s also my first foray into the instrument + electronics genre. Ashley sounds amazing. Read more about the piece here and give it a listen below.

Arctic, the video!

Hey, new video of the Mivos Quartet recording Arctic! Commissioned by Carnegie Hall and composed for Mivos in 2013, the piece is in two movements – Midnight Sun and Polar Night – and inspired by the photography of Chris McCaw. I’m so happy to finally be able to share this piece with you. Read more about it here, and enjoy the video below!

Lip Service, the video!

This one has been a long time in the making, but I’m extremely proud to finally release the video of Concert Black performing ‘Lip Service.’ One of my longest and strongest collaborations, I’ve been working on this jam with Owen, Lisa and Domenica since 2011. Perhaps more than any other piece of mine I feel like this music totally embodies the personalities of those three, and they totally embody the character of the music, so it’s particularly cool to have this amazing documentation of them rocking it. Evan Chapman once again brings his incredible eye and ear to the project, creating a beautiful and captivating video of Concert Black’s performance. Enjoy!

Talking in Circles, the video!

Very excited to share this awesome new performance video by andPlay and Evan Chapman! Click here to learn more about the piece. Tell all your friends!

Hand Eye

Trailer for Sleeping Giant’s upcoming collaboration with eighth blackbird. We wrote an evening length work inspired by art work from the Stuart and Maxine Frankel Foundation. My contribution to the project, Conduit, is a three movement piece inspired by a bit of interactive sculpture. Read more about that here. The birds are taking Hand Eye on the road next season and will be playing it around the country. Stay tuned for dates and more information!

HAND EYE from eighth blackbird on Vimeo.

An Index of Possibility, the video!

TIGUE made a video! Videography by Evan Chapman and presented by Vic Firth. I’m so lucky to have such incredible collaborators bring this work to life. Check it out. Tell all your friends! Click here to learn more about the piece and TIGUE.

Juno

Flute, Clarinet, Violin, Cello, Percussion, Piano – 20 minutes

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For much of the world, 2015 was one of the warmest winters on record. In Boston, where I live, it was one of the coldest. By mid-January it seemed like we might get a pass from mother nature, but in the last week of January, winter storm Juno paid us a visit, launching a series of massive blizzards that brought a record breaking amount of snowfall. At the time I was holed up in a small New Hampshire cabin, fireplace and food close at hand, working on this piece, actually. For me the storms brought an eerie, magical calm: leafless trees crackling in the wind; pristine, untouched snow as far the eye could see; deep cold and an endless white horizon. At the same time my wife, eight months pregnant with our son, was alone in Boston, commuting to work on treacherous, ice-covered streets hemmed in by ten foot tall snow banks and a sea of frustrated commuters. The contrast was extreme. My piece Juno, reflects on that time: the anticipation before the first big storm; the beautiful stillness of fresh snow; the loud, dirty, struggles of an urban winter; and the feeling of heaviness as the season drags on seemingly without end. Juno was commissioned by the Mandel Foundation for the Utah Arts Festival and premiered in June 2015 by the Verge Ensemble.

Check out this video by Scott Quade of Hub New Music’s performance at the Fenway Center in Boston:
 

 
To purchase a score and part set please click here

premiered 6.27.15 at Library Auditorium, Salt Lake City, UT by the Vertigo Ensemble, Andrew Rindfleisch, Conductor.

 

Orison

Cello and Electronics – 10 minutes

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Orison is an old-fashioned word for prayer. Before writing this piece, I watched a Youtube of Rostropovich playing the complete Bach Cello Suites in a huge cathedral space. I was particularly taken by the Sarabandes. He played them quite slowly and took all the repeats, which made them very long. The slow tempi and the Cathedral’s intense natural reverb directed my ears toward the cello sound itself rather than particular notes or phrases. In those moments it seemed the music’s essence was not Bach’s beautiful writing, but the long tones and rich double stops reverberating through the cavernous, stone space. The impulse for Orison came directly from that listening experience. While ostensibly a solo, Orison’s simple material, bathed in reverb and long, gradually decaying echoes, becomes a kind of duet with the sound itself. Each tone is a question, calling out to a vast, unknowable space, and with every reverberation the cellist must listen carefully, searching for an answer before moving on to the next thought. Orison was made possible by the generous support of the Metropolis Ensemble, New Music USA, Rodney McDaniel, Carol Whitcomb, Hermine Drezner & Jan Winkler.

Check out this live recording by Ashley Bathgate from the World Premiere at (le) Poisson Rouge:

premiered 1.12.16 at (le) Poisson Rouge, New York, NY by Ashley Bathgate

Utah Arts Festival

I’m very happy to announce that I’ve been commissioned by the Utah Arts Festival to write a work for pierrot ensemble and percussion. The premiere will be June 27, 2015 in Salt Lake City. I can’t wait to visit Salt Lake for the first time! More soon about the piece as I start working on it.