Composer’s Spotlight Series: Robbin Gordon-Cartier plays ‘Baroque Flamenco’

Robbin Gordon-Cartier is the first person to ever combine the teaching of “Baroque Flamenco” to a group of public school students … and then take them on a field trip to perform the piece with symphony orchestra.

Her advice for others who also want to play Baroque Flamenco is: “Take Deborah’s Baroque Flamenco course. It really helps to go through the steps. I was blessed to be able to work directly with her through Harness your Muse and that’s the best option!”

Who is Robbin Gordon-Cartier?

Robbin Gordon-Cartier teaches a harp program in the East Orange School District at the Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts. Mrs. Gordon-Cartier performs regularly in the New York metropolitan area with credits including appearances at Carnegie Hall and Alice Tully Hall in New York City; the New Jersey Performing Arts Center; the Pablo Casals Music Festival in San Juan, Puerto Rico; and the National Symphony Orchestra of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.

Robbin is a Salvi Concert Artist and has presented a week of master classes and concert at the French ambassador’s residence in Bogoto, Columbia for the Salvi Harp Foundation. Robbin is a sought-after presenter of workshops across the country. She has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Music Education and a Masters in Harp Performance from Montclair State University.

Where did you play “Baroque Flamenco” … and who did you play it with?

This performance was with my students from the Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing & Fine Arts and the They competed in a DHC Challenge and won the spots to perform together with m and the West Shore Symphony Orchestra at the Carlisle Theater in Carlisle, PA on Nov. 17, 2019. We participated in video calls with Deborah as they competed. It was a great experience!



A Mini-Interview with Robbin

1.  If you had to describe the experience of playing “Baroque Flamenco”  in 5 words or less, what would they be?

Exhilarating, Fun, Powerful and Exciting.

2.  What do people say when you play this piece?

I didn’t know that a harp could sound like that.
I thought I’d be bored at a concert with harp and this was the best part.
No one is sleeping on that piece!

3.  What drew you to this piece – why did you choose to learn it??

I saw the video on YouTube from Deborah Henson-Conant and I was so amazed by this fantastic piece that I really wanted to play it.

The challenge of doing something different from all my other repertoire pieces. I wanted the challenge of stepping out of the box and this piece was it!

4.  What does this piece add to your repertoire (and/or your life) that you didn’t have before?

This piece adds movement, spirit and passion. I think it is a piece that continues to grow with you and that really is important to me. It’s also a piece that you can play differently each time and I love that type of freedom.

5.  What would you tell someone else who’s thinking of learning this piece that you wish you’d known before you learned it?

I’d tell them to take Deborah’s Baroque Flamenco course. It really helps to go through the steps. I was blessed to be able to work directly with her through Harness your Muse and that’s the best option!

6.  What do you think you can get from working directly with the composer of the piece that you can’t get from the sheet music?

When you work directly with Deborah, you get the complete spirit that she wrote it in. You get her tips and suggestions but she also gives you the freedom to play it your way. I think that’s the biggest gift.

7.  Anything else you want to say?

Deborah Henson-Conant continues to be a huge inspiration to me and I hope that she publishes all of her music that is waiting to be heard!!

Please follow Robbin on social media and let them know what has opened up for your own self-expression in seeing and hearing their performance, and please share in the comments below.

Facebook: Robbin Gordon-Cartier

Stay tuned for more artists soon and check out my Composer’s Spotlight blog series, featuring other talented musicians who played my song! If you’re playing my music, apply here to be in the ‘Composer’s Spotlight’ blog series.

This post is previously published on April 27th, 2022 as part of a blog series featuring performances of my  harp showpiece “Baroque Flamenco” by other musicians. Click HERE to link to the overview blog Baroque Flamenco Around the World.

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