Bassist Rick Robinson (Mr. CutTime) was once famous for being invited into the Detroit Symphony Orchestra without audition in 1989, becoming only its 2nd African-American member. And now he’s famous for leaving it voluntarily 22 years later, trying to reconcile the industry with local communities while he can.
Robinson was also an ambitious soloist, playing recitals and string quartet cello parts. These led him to arranging, conducting and composing to start CutTime Productions, an ambitious mission-enterprise, creating broader access to, and appreciation of this magical art form. He began to test and update new standards for community engagement and education. CutTime® Americanizes symphonic music both within and outside the arts bubble. Robinson cares about the general population as well as the future of the industry, translating the musicians’ why and how, and revealing key information that unlocks active listening and deep connection.
The music critic for CVNC, Jeffrey Rossman wrote, “Mr. Robinson, in a sense, is a modern day Dvořák. Known as “Mr. CutTime,” this Detroit Symphony bassist is a passionate advocate for classical music and musicians stepping down from the pedestal of the concert hall and merging into the musical life of the community: schools, clubs, bars, coffeehouses…basically anywhere where people congregate. This is far from a new concept, but Robinson’s personality, aggressive advocacy of this, and his remarkable playing, composing and arranging skills put him in the forefront of this movement.”
Only emerging as a composer in 2006, Robinson goes back to playing cello, then bass, in the public schools of Detroit’s famous inner suburb of Highland Park. His mother, a school psychologist, sang and played classical piano at home daily. His father, a university recruiter, sang with a powerful baritone and learned guitar to lead a room into folk songs.
His older siblings enjoyed learning violin, cello, bass and sax in public schools. The eldest David began copying out popular music from the radio for his high school band. These were the seeds for Robinson to excel early on, travel the world, return to Detroit quite famously and become adaptive during his unusual career.