for the Musicians' Portrait Project.
Robin Engelman studied percussion and composition with Warren Benson at Ithaca College, Ithaca, New York. He has taught percussion at Ithaca College, the Eastman School of Music Preparatory Department and York University, Toronto. He is a founding member of Nexus and a member of the Percussive Arts Society Hall of Fame; a recipient of the Toronto Arts Award and the Banff School of Fine Arts Donald Cameron Medal.
His career as a percussionist began in the North Carolina Symphony and continued in the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra, the Louisville Orchestra, the Milwaukee Symphony, where he met former Nexus member John Wyre, and the Rochester Philharmonic where he met Nexus members William Cahn and Bob Becker. In 1968, he became principal percussionist with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under Seiji Ozawa and later, Karel Ancerl. During the 1980's and 90's, he was principal percussionist with the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra.
For more than fifteen years, Robin performed with New Music Concerts of Toronto. Founded by flutist Robert Aitken; its concerts featured the works of prominent contemporary composers who supervised the preparation of the music.
Robin conducted and directed the Percussion Ensemble of the University of Toronto Faculty of Music for more than twenty years and has conducted contemporary music concerts and recordings for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, New Music Concerts of Toronto, Chamber Concerts Canada and The Art of Time Ensemble. For eight years he conducted the Contemporary Music Ensemble at the University of Toronto. The percussion ensemble released a CD titled Rondino featuring Bob Becker playing the drum solo in his composition Mudra as well as music by John Cage, First Construction in Metal and Forever and Sunsmell; Jo Kondo, Eight Categories; Terry Hulick, Rondino; and John Beckwith, A Game of Bowls.
Robin retired from Nexus and professional performing in 2009. He now writes on contemporary music and musicological questions such as the history, provenance and performance practices of traditional Fife and Drum repertoire. His writing can be found on the Nexus web site ( http://www.nexuspercussion.com/members/robin-engelman/robins-blog/ ) .