Dr Hamish Robb

Dr Hamish Robb profile picture

Lecturer, Musicology and Music Studies School of Music

Courses

Teaching in 2020

Research interests

Embodiment studies, performance studies, piano performance, nineteenth-century music, music and dance, music theory and analysis

Qualifications

  • PhD (Princeton)
  • MA (Princeton)
  • MMus Performance (Victoria University of Wellington)
  • MMus Musicology (Victoria University of Wellington)
  • GDipArts Psychology (Victoria University of Wellington)

Roles

  • Lecturer in Music (musicology), Music Studies

Profile

Hamish is Lecturer in Music (musicology) and Music Studies, and teaches courses on performance and embodiment studies, nineteenth- and twentieth-century music, theory, and analysis. His triple expertise as performer, musicologist, and music theorist informs both his teaching and research. Alongside his work in the Music Studies programme, Hamish works closely with the Classical Performance programme and the Young Musician’s Programme.

Hamish completed his PhD and MA in musicology at Princeton University in 2015, and holds two other Masters degrees (in piano performance and musicology) from Victoria University of Wellington. Hamish’s research incorporates performative, historical, critical, and theoretical approaches, and centers on 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century music, issues of musical meaning and communication, performance and embodiment, performance pedagogy, music-dance relationships, and music theory and analysis. Several publications explore the diverse musical experiences of embodiers (performers, listeners, score readers, etc.) of nineteenth-century piano music. This research presents evidence—from the nineteenth century to today—that imagining supplemental sound is a necessary part of performing and listening to piano music, and that imagined sounds (and real or imagined bodily exertions) are shaped not only by compositional features, but also by common techniques of illusion that pianists use in various musical contexts. His work has been published in Music Theory Online, Music Theory Spectrum, and Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research.

Hamish performs regularly as a pianist. After gaining second place in the National Concerto Competition in 2001, he established himself as one of New Zealand’s most promising young pianists. He went on to perform as concerto soloist with several orchestras, and to form collaborations with performers from the NZSO, NZSM, and Royal New Zealand Ballet. Hamish is a member of the NZ Six Hands Trio and of Duo ombré. His scholarly research and practice-led research (piano performance) inform one another.

Research

Hamish’s research incorporates critical, historical, and theoretical approaches to music and centers on 18th-, 19th-, and 20th-century music, issues of musical meaning, embodiment and performance studies, theory and analysis, and music-dance relationships. Hamish is active as a pianist, and his performances and written work inform each other. Hamish’s most recent research explores the diverse musical experiences of embodiers (performers, listeners, score readers, etc.) of nineteenth-century piano music. This research presents evidence—from the nineteenth century to today—that imagining supplemental sound is a necessary part of performing and listening to piano music, and that imagined sounds (and real or imagined bodily exertions) are shaped not only by compositional features, but also by common techniques of illusion that pianists use in various musical contexts.

For more on Hamish's research, including an up-to-date calendar of public talks and public performances, see his personal website

Recent Publications

- Hamish Robb. "Narrative in Nineteenth-Century Piano Music: An Embodied Approach." In Music as Communication: Perspectives on Music, Image, and Performance. ABE, Milano. (2018).

- Hamish Robb. “Review of Arnie Cox’s book, Music & Embodied Cognition: Listening, Moving, Feeling, and Thinking (Indiana University Press).” Music Theory Spectrum 40.1 (2018).

- Hamish Robb. "Imagined, Supplemental Sound in Nineteenth-Century Piano Music: Towards a Fuller Understanding of Musical Embodiment." Music Theory Online 21.3 (2015).

- Hamish Robb. “Looking Beyond Facile Understandings of ‘Literalness’ in Music-Dance Collaborations: Mark Morris’s All Fours.” Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research 30, No. 2 (2012).

Recent Performances

- Hamish Robb, Inbal Megido, and RNZB dancer Abigail Boyle. "Performance for the Second Annual Russell Kerr Lecture in Ballet and the Related Arts." Adam Concert Room, Victoria University of Wellington. 10 February, 2019.

- Hamish Robb & Jian Liu. "Four-hand works by Schubert, Hindemith, and Debussy." Kleiner Saal at Palais Meran, Graz, Austria. 25–26 January, 2019.

- Hamish Robb, Beth Chen, and Nicole Chao (NZ Six Hands Trio). "Extravaganza concert of 6-hand, 4-hand, and 2-hand works." Chamber Music New Zealand Classical Sessions, Third Eye Bar, Arthur Street, Wellington. 5 December, 2018.

- Hamish Robb, Beth Chen, and Nicole Chao (NZ Six Hands Trio). “St Andrew’s on the Terrace Lunchtime Concert: NZ Six Hands Trio,” 6-hand and 4-hand pieces. St Andrew’s on the Terrace. 8 August, 2018.

- Hamish Robb, Beth Chen, and Nicole Chao (NZ Six Hands Trio). “Lunchtime Concert: NZ Six Hands Trio”, 6-hand and 4-hand pieces by Ramazanov, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Anderson & Roe. Adam Concert Room. 25 May, 2018.

- Hamish Robb, Beth Chen, and Nicole Chao (NZ Six Hands Trio). “Karori Classics Series: Many Hands Make Music”, 6-hand and 4-hand pieces by Ramazanov, Strauss, Khachaturian, Rachmaninoff, Brahms, and Mozart. St Mary’s Anglican Church, Karori. 27 April, 2018.

- Hamish Robb & Beth Chen (Duo ombré). “Hamish Robb and Beth Chen perform 4-hand and solo classics from Russia, France, and Austria.” NZSM Third Eye series, Third Eye Bar. 20 April, 2018.

- Hamish Robb, Beth Chen, and Nicole Chao (NZ Six Hands Trio). “Six Hands Extravaganza: Rachmaninoff, Mozart, Cornick.” Chamber Music New Zealand Classical Sessions, Third Eye Bar, Arthur Street. 7 March, 2018.

- Hamish Robb, Sir John Trimmer, William Fitzgerald, Loughlan Prior, and Beth Chen. The Lark, live piano performance to Loughlan Prior’s choreography, The Lark, for ballet dancers Sir John Trimmer and William Fitzgerald from the Royal New Zealand Ballet. Part of the international event, “The Inaugural Russell Kerr Lecture in Ballet and Related Arts.” 11 February, 2018.

- Hamish Robb & Jian Liu. “Piano Duet Concert: Schubert, Hindemith, Debussy.” Adam Concert Room. 22 September, 2017.

Select Conference Papers

· "'That sustained, melancholy sound': Coordinating inner, imagined sound in four-hand piano performance." Piano Four Hands Music Symposium, "Vierhändig, inner einmal!" Graz, Austria, January 2019.

· “Narrative in Nineteenth-Century Piano Music: An Embodied Approach.” Academic Conference on Music, Communication, and Performance, Montecassiano, Italy, June 2018.

· "Imagined, Supplemental Sound as a Source of Agency in Musical Embodiment." 2015 Annual Meeting of the South Central Society for Music Theory, Loyola University, New Orleans, March 2015.

· "Imagined (Supplemental) Sound in Musical Embodiment." THEMUS Conference, Temple University, Philadelphia, April 2015.

· “Familiar Recordings and the Ritual of Repeated Listening.” Conference of the New Zealand Musicological Society, Wellington, New Zealand, October 2015.

· “Imagined Sound in Performances of Nineteenth-Century Piano Music: An Embodied Approach.” Performance Studies Network–Third International Conference, University of Cambridge, July 2014.

· “Imagining and Performing Sound in Nineteenth-Century Piano Music.” Imagining Sound in the Early Nineteenth Century Conference, Cornell University, April 2013.

· “What’s Wrong with Being ‘Literal’? Mark Morris’s All Fours.” Princeton, Cornell, Penn, & Columbia Conference, Princeton University, February 2012.

Courses

Teaching in 2020