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CutTime String Quartet now with percussion
Velda Kelly, John McLaughlin Williams, Rick Robinson, Derek Reeves, Keith Claeys


 CutTime News


- NY Conferences

- Beyond Dumbing Down at SphinxCon
- Recent Concerts

Don't Forget...
CTS Debut Tracks
CutTime's Flattering Review
In September 2012, Jeffrey Rossman of CVNC wrote:

Mr. Robinson, in a sense, is a modern day Dvoř�k. 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.

His erudite and passionate verbal remarks were as moving as the beautifully crafted and emotional music. Whether Robinson continues to straddle what tends to be disparate musical worlds or reverts to a singular approach, one thing is certain: this is a man with extraordinary musical skills. 
Read the full review here.
Quick Links...
New Website
Fiscal Sponsor
The Carr Center logo  
Please help CutTime operate and grow with a generous tax-deductible contribution via
Arts League of Michigan at The Carr Center. Call
313-965-8430 and ask for Dianne Bradley. Checks or credit cards accepted. Remark that it is for CutTime.
CutTime Simfonica Debut Tracks

CutTime Simfonica  

We recorded two debut tracks with DSO musicians which are commercially available as downloads only from CD Baby, Amazon and iTunes. They are my Gitcha Groove On! and Highland Park, MI: City of Trees. These works cleverly blend classical with blues, rock, Latin and hip-hop grooves. CutTime will eventually record the entire CD which could win a Grammy nomination!
CutTime Productions, LLC logo
Newsletter Archive

March 20, 2014 





After two and a half months of furious activity at CutTime Central, I'm glad to get a newsletter out to you about the adventures. Thanks to many of you for coming out to enjoy recent events!


The new year began like the last. Thanks to generous donations by Jim Nicholson and Barbara Van Dusen (my board: THANK you both!), CutTime was able to attend the major booking conferences in New York City: APAP, with all forms of performing arts entertainment (some 2,000 attendees), and the smaller CMA, which is specifically for instrumental jazz and classical. APAP features unlimited 15-minute showcases within the Hilton and over lower Manhattan during 5 days, while CMA is limited to 36 showcases over 3 days in a single hotel location. Of immense value are the morning presentations and panel discussions on issues and tips for arts presenting. Without exhibiting at a table (expensive), these are great opportunities to learn, meet and share with like-minded presenters and artists.


This year we were better prepared with the new website, print materials, tighter descriptions of CutTime's touring ensembles, and we were partially represented by iCadenza Arts Management, with whom I began consulting this last year. They received some strong interest in CutTime and we're already looking at a 10-day west coast tour in 2015! For this reason I believe finding adequate representation is by far the better way to win bookings. Until such time that we can partner fully with an agent, presenters are stuck with me bragging about CutTime.


I stayed with a good friend in the south Bronx right by Yankee Stadium and traveled easily to conference sites, showcases and friends by subway, taxi and lots of walking. I also met a few upstate-NY presenters and music educators I hope to work with someday, hiring NY musicians.


After driving back to Detroit, I took advantage of my new membership in the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to attend a GRAMMY-watching party in Chicago. It was pretty sweet to be among probably a thousand well-dressed people at the Lincoln Theater. We dug the performances as much as the winners. I will lobby for a nomination for CutTime's Gitcha Groove On! CD someday... when we ever get it recorded.


As we entered February, we were excited for three Simfonica concerts. Yet TWO had to be rescheduled due to weather and illness. When we finally performed for Fairlane Music Guild in Dearborn two weeks later, it was quite a watershed concert. We had a very mixed audience of both veterans and 40 new listeners from a UMD music history class. The incredible sound in the pool room at Fairlane Manor seems to come from all around. We were able to demonstrate how classical is serious fun and spiritually balanced. Joining me were Detroit Symphony musicians including Kim Kaloyanides Kennedy.


Next was a remarkable performance with a large turnout for the annual Hackley concert at the Detroit Public Library. Local opera legend George Shirley set the context for and sang a new setting by Patrice Rushen of four negro spirituals originally set by Roland Hayes, the first black classical tenor to enjoy an international career. George had us spellbound by his power, pathos and story about Hayes winning over a bigoted crowd in Berlin in 1930. On the piano for this work was my Interlochen classmate Alvin Waddles, an amazingly versatile tour de force, who I invited to also play solo. He spontaneously played a Fats Waller rag, a Gershwin Prelude and a raucous Mini the Moocher that had the whole audience singing and laughing! These provided wonderful contrast to CutTime's program by black composers with the players in the photo above. I've been adding some light percussion to flesh out the dance elements of Simfonica concerts. Expect more of it!


February ended with the growing annual FESTIVAL of classical musicians of color presented by the Sphinx Organization. SphinxCon featured founder Aaron Dworkin and numerous guests presenting experience and data supporting diversity in the fine arts. I was fortunate to be invited to speak about the need and values for getting Beyond Dumbing Down. Dumbing down is a euphemism AGAINST making classical music more entertaining and less focused on the art. Through the magic of the internet, you can see my speech here.


Serving in the Sphinx Symphony for the competition for young black and Latino string players prevented me from attending the rest of the conference. The competition was very close this year, but I was tickled to be there as 19-year-old Curtis bassist Xavier Foley took the 1st place prize.


The icing on the month was the last minute invitation to play my City of Trees for the Ecological Grantmakers Association meeting at the Book Cadillac Hotel. I brought Simfonica together for its first ever 9 AM concert, which I hope allowed wisdom to prevail in their important discussions.


The Classical Revolution Detroit events at the Cadieux Caf� and a new venue at Found Sound in Ferndale disappointed, with very few musicians turning out for the volunteer series. CutTime can begin hiring musicians once we've raised the $30,000 matching funds for the Knight Foundation project. If you can, please make a generous tax-deductible contribution to The CutTime Fund by credit card here as Jim and Barbara have.


And finally, CutTime played one other fabulous concert, Saturday at the N'Namdi Center for Contemporary Art in Midtown Detroit. The N'Namdi is a rather new gallery run by George N'Namdi, who invited us to lend it a touch of class. We collaborated with Kresge Eminent Artist poet and playwright Bill Harris, who recited sets of his work with and without us.


While there are NO concerts for CutTime on the schedule right now, some fundraising appearances in May and June are in the works, as well as shows in Cleveland and Oberlin. I'm also working this month on fellowship applications, contracts and am constantly contacting more presenters for potential bookings. Working out at the gym is another priority as summer approaches. I'm planning hops to Chicago and the East Coast for more opportunities. I need referrals and sponsors for these. Won't you please contribute to broadening the audience for classical? Contact me at 313-680-8104 or


Spring is finally arriving for us all my friends: a time of rapid growth. CutTime is ready for its own Spring! 




- Rick


Writer Bill Harris and composer Rick Robinson
with poet/playwright Bill Harris
CutTime resets the context for classical music with casual listeners.
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