The Accidental Composer

The string and percussion ensemble CutTime Simfonica® (CTS) came to life over 11 years both within and outside of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO).

Inspired by five years transcribing symphonic works for CutTime Players®, CutTime® founder Rick Robinson had a vivid dream in 1999 with urgent neo-romantic new music. He immediately captured this and by 2003 completed a 20-minute work for full orchestra, the Essay No. 1 (After Sibelius). It was read publicly in 2004, and then premiered in 2006, both by DSO with Thomas Wilkins conducting. Listen to this a sample:

Following the premiere Detroit Free Press music critic Mark Stryker wrote that Robinson was “an armchair composer with promise and a taste for fleshy, romantic textures and orchestration.” Only then did Robinson attempt to live up to that promise, still self-taught, to launch this second outreach ensemble.
The results are a dozen funky-romantic works that form a colorful bridge into the symphony for the curious. Simfonica gradually became the new club band that completely resets the context of classical music.

CutTime Simfonica 2010
CutTime Simfonica on DSO stage 2010

Simfonica launched in 2010 with the celebrated DSO musicians pictured here:

Geof Applegate, violin I
Kimberley Kennedy Kaloyanides, violin II
Jim VanValkenburg, viola I
Caroline Coade, viola II
Robert DeMaine, cello
Rick Robinson, bass