Dr. Elizabeth Robinson, flutist and teacher
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 much of her own educational and professional infrastructure. Now an accomplished performer, she defines much of her career through creating those opportunities for other musicians and contributing to the cultural growth of the region, whether through commissioning new music, building educational opportunities, or starting exciting new ensembles.
The proud caretaker of two rambunctious terriers, Dr. Robinson has channeled their infectious energy through performances in 36 U.S. states. She has shared the stage with over a dozen orchestras and wind ensembles from coast to coast: in addition to her current positions as the Diana Osterhout piccolo chair of the Topeka Symphony and principal of the Heartland Opera Orchestra, she has held positions with the Salina Symphony and the Muncie Symphony. She has performed both within the orchestra and as soloist with ensembles including the Symphony of Northwest Arkansas, Enid Symphony, Kansas State University Wind Ensemble, Wichita Grand Opera, and Colorado's MahlerFest, among many others.
Currently, Dr. Robinson serves on the faculty of Missouri Southern State University, which she joined in 2017. In building the school’s flute studio, she quickly established herself as a uniquely high-impact educator, more than doubling the school’s flute students, as well as founding the MSSU’s first flute ensemble, Flute Day, and organizing the MSSU Chamber Winds concert each semester. Her studio at MSSU has performed at the Oklahoma Flute Society's annual Flute Fair, and been awarded the Student Travel Grant to attend the NFA Convention in Dallas, Texas.
In addition to her previous adjunct position at Kansas Wesleyan, she served as guest faculty at Southwestern Oklahoma State and Kansas State. From this extensive teaching and performing experience, Dr. Robinson has presented her research and unique educational insights at numerous conferences as both talks and workshops, with topics ranging from "Extended Techniques for Dummies" to specialized topics like "The Flute Works of Toru Takemitsu". More recently, she presented "So You Want to Freelance: How to Survive a Good Idea," in which she shares wisdom (and humor) from her own early professional life.
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.) Tornado Alley Flutes often worked 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 flute quartets inspired by the coffee table book Extraordinary Chickens.
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.
She currently makes her home in Joplin, Missouri, where she lives with her dogs, Sophie and Olive, and a sassy orange cat named Toby.