Flutist and educator Dr. Elizabeth Robinson is an active soloist, orchestral, and chamber performer. Originally from rural Tennessee, Dr. Robinson nurtured her music career by creating many of her own performance opportunities. As an educator, she defines much of her career through creating those opportunities for other musicians, and contributing to the cultural growth of the region. Among her passions is the commissioning of new music, creating educational opportunities for her studio, and participating in exciting chamber ensembles.
Known for her infectious energy and boundless enthusiasm, Dr. Robinson has shared the stage with over a dozen orchestras and wind ensembles from coast to coast: in addition to her current position as the Diana Osterhout piccolo chair of the Topeka Symphony, she has held positions with the Heartland Opera (MO), Salina Symphony (KS), and Muncie Symphony (IN). She has performed both within the orchestra and as soloist with ensembles including the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Springfield Symphony (MO), Enid Symphony, Kansas State University Wind Ensemble, Wichita Grand Opera, and Colorado's MahlerFest, among many others.
In an effort to expand the flute repertoire, Robinson co-founded the Flute New Music Consortium (FNMC), and currently serves the organization as Vice President. Formed in 2013, FNMC has commissioned new works from composers such as Pulitzer Prize winner Zhou Long, Pulitzer Prize nominee Carter Pann, Valerie Coleman, Samuel Zyman, and Reena Esmail. Further, she coordinates the organization’s annual composition competition, and is proud of collaborations with several of its winning composers. In addition to organizing regional performances of the works commissioned by the organization, Dr. Robinson often performs them herself. For her efforts in growing FNMC, Dr. Robinson has been recognized in the National Flute Association’s Flutists’ Quarterly Magazine and by the Atlanta Flute Club Newsletter.
Outside her teaching life, she was a founding member of Tornado Alley Flutes, a professional flute ensemble that recreated the sense of spontaneous danger unique to the Midwest. (Appropriately, Dr. Robinson’s winning audition with the Topeka Symphony was held between tornado sirens.) The Aviary Quartet often works closely with Dr. Robinson’s other ventures, as the ensemble has performed work commissioned by FNMC as well as performed at conferences across the country. Her most recent project is an album of bird-themed works for flute, including a flute quartet inspired by the coffee table book Extraordinary Chickens. The album, tentatively titled Aviary, will be released on the Aerocade Music label.
Winner of the 2012 NFA Graduate Research Competition, Dr. Robinson’s dissertation titled Voice, Itinerant, and Air: The Solo Flute Works of Toru Takemitsu was presented at the 2012 NFA Convention. Dr. Robinson holds degrees in flute performance from Drake University (B.M.), San Francisco State University (M.M.), and Ball State University (D.A.). Her major teachers have included Linda Lukas of the San Francisco Symphony and Dr. Mihoko Watanabe.
In 2022, Dr. Robinson was appointed to the faculty at South Dakota State University. Previous teaching positions have included Missouri Southern State University, Kansas State University, Kansas Wesleyan University, and Southwestern Oklahoma State University. She currently makes her home in Aurora, South Dakota, where she lives with her dogs, Sophie and Olive, and a sassy orange cat named Toby.