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Richard Robinson, 78; Los Angeles tenor premiered, recorded Stravinsky's works

September 13, 2007|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Richard Robinson, 78, a Los Angeles tenor who premiered Igor Stravinsky's "In Memoriam Dylan Thomas," "Threni" and "Elegy for J.F.K.," and recorded many works under the composer's direction for Columbia Records, died Sept. 6 in Bakersfield at the home of his daughter, Frances Muchmore. The cause of death was long-standing health problems, Muchmore said.

Born in Edmonton, Canada, on June 2, 1929, Robinson moved with his family to the Los Angeles area in 1937. He studied at Los Angeles State College (now Cal State L.A.) and USC, sang in the Roger Wagner Chorale and, along with USC classmate Marilyn Horne, became active in the innovative Evenings on the Roof concert series and its successor, Monday Evening Concerts, which premiered and performed many contemporary works in Los Angeles and at the Ojai Music Festival.

In addition to Stravinsky's "Persephone," "Canticum sacrum ad honorem Sancti Marci nominis" and "Noah and the Flood," he recorded works by Schoenberg, Webern and Gesualdo, the latter conducted by Stravinsky's close friend and biographer, Robert Craft.

Robinson was choral supervisor for the city of Los Angeles from 1965 to 1966 and taught voice at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, from 1966 until his retirement in 1993, when he moved to Bakersfield. He had four children -- three daughters and a son -- all of Bakersfield. He was married to soprano Caterina Micieli, whom he met in the Roger Wagner Chorale, from 1953 until her death in 2001.

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