Robert is a composer living in Boston, MA. He co-founded the Sleeping Giant composer collective and co-directs the Times Two Series. Send me emails at rhonstein@gmail.com !

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Events Calendar

  • Mo 2.26.18: TIC @ MEE
  • We 2.28.18: Conduit @ Boston
  • Sa 3.3.18: MG @ MFA
  • Mo 3.5.18: TIC @ MEE
  • Su 3.11.18: Middle Ground @ Lincoln, NE
  • Sa 3.24.18: Hymning @ VU
  • Mo 3.26.18: SH @ Cleveland
  • We 3.28.18: SH @ Elyria
  • Th 3.29.18: SH @ U.Michigan
  • Fr 4.6.18: Residency @ KU
  • Su 4.8.18: Patter @ UNCG
  • Th 4.12.18: Timor @ Shift
  • Th 4.12.18: 3ANM @ Portland
  • Fr 4.13.18: 3ANM @ Portland
  • Mo 4.23.18: SH @ NYC
Click here to see past events.


Violin and Piano – 20 minutes


Begun as a response to Beethoven’s first Violin Sonata, Olmsted is at best loosely related to its source. When tasked with responding to the Beethoven I considered more direct, tangible connections, but ultimately felt compelled to toss Ludwig aside and write my own Sonata instead. There are oblique echoes – a whiff of D major persists, small surface details (the four note motive in the third movement, Long Meadow), perhaps the rather Beethovenian obsession with pushing short motives to their musical extremes – but I would say the parallels stop there. The title Olmsted refers to the great American landscape architect, Frederick Law Olmsted. It occurred to me that my entire life has been spent in close proximity to Olmsted parks. This isn’t particularly remarkable given how many iconic public spaces he left behind, but it nonetheless struck me as noteworthy, if not significant.  With this in my mind each movement of my piece refers to a different park. Unfolding like short vignettes, these movements are a collection of fleeting moments from the past. The bright and ebullient first movement, Jamaica Pond, is part of the Emerald Necklace, a string of seven parks gracefully strung through several Boston neighborhoods. The slow, lyrical second movement, The Ramble, is a wooded area of Central Park, full of winding, semi-obscured paths, specifically designed for getting lost, deliberately obscuring the surrounding city. Long Meadow, the playful third movement, is part of Prospect Park in Brooklyn, a vast lawn where kids play and families picnic, a popular spot for winter sledding and summer games. Finally, World’s End is an unfinished project just south of Boston. Preserved as it was left over a hundred years ago, the park is quiet and beautiful, the footprints of a grand design clearly visible beneath the empty meadows and elegant carriage paths. There is a special poetry to these spaces with their winding paths, carefully designed vistas, and perfectly calibrated balance of natural and man-made landscapes. It’s no surprise that in spite of a lifetime of experience – from the mundane to the transformative – they still surprise and delight.

Olmsted was commissioned by Nicholas DiEugenio and Mimi Solomon and premiered October 5, 2017 by Nicholas DiEugenio and Mimi Solomon at Moeser Auditorium, UNC Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.