Robin Cox is a violinist and composer bringing unique performance projects to Indianapolis. Previously based in L.A., Cox has found accessibility and inclusivity in the Midwest arts scene, allowing the composer more freedom in his own work. Read below about the music and watch the amazing performances created by Robin Cox.
Freeway Flyer Roots in Indy
The Music of Robin Cox
Imagine sitting in your car in traffic on the highway. You look out the windshield to see that the sunny, 75 degree weather is perfect outside, and yet you don’t get to experience any of it because you are just… stuck. This was a feeling composer and violinist Robin Cox was intimately familiar with during his time in Los Angeles. In L.A., freelance musicians are often referred to as “freeway flyers” for the amount of time they spend traveling. It’s a hard life, with high gas expenses and long hours. A creative genius like Cox laments time spent trapped in the car – every moment sitting in traffic is a moment not spent creating art.
“I’m impatient by nature,” Cox says, “and if I have any definitive trait, it’s that I make things happen.” In L.A., the freeway-travelling composer indeed made things happen. He led the Robin Cox Ensemble for 13 years, performing over 150 concerts and releasing three critically acclaimed albums. Although he had a tremendous career in Los Angeles, all those hours in the car finally added up and he decided it was time for a change.
Cox moved to Indy in 2013 and is known for his interdisciplinary collaborations and multimedia performance experiences. He is also an Assistant Professor of Music and Arts Technology at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. Cox says he and his wife moved to Indy “looking for a little more freedom… It’s very cold in the winter for our bones, but the upside is that I have more time to think about my work on my own terms.”
This greater amount of freedom and mobility has allowed the composer to focus on two important projects, BIG TENT and HOURGLASS, which are concert experiences unlike any other. BIG TENT is a 40-foot octagonal portable performance space designed to blend video projection, acoustic music, and electronic music into one immersive performance. Like the circus tents of old, audience members step into BIG TENT and are met with a blend of visual and auditory sensations that captivate the curiosity of visitors. See below to watch a firsthand video of a BIG TENT performance:
HOURGLASS is equally immersive, but in a very different way. The hour-long piece calls for audience participation in the form of improvised dance. Cox explained that the ideal venues for HOURGLASS are those that have little to no seating or stage. Performers set up on the same level as the audience and all are invited to join in the experience of dance. The composer noted, “Each HOURGLASS takes on its own life with the people that are there, and no HOURGLASS has ever been the same.” The music has been designed to encourage movement and to be inviting enough for any skill level to participate. Those who attend and step outside of their comfort zone love it.
Indy is thankful to have Robin Cox in the mix of our New Classical community. Not only has he brought these great projects to our doorstep, he also is a believer in our city. After living in both New York City and Los Angeles, Cox has an interesting perspective regarding the benefits of being an artist in the Midwest. “The Midwest has a bad habit of having a self-esteem issue… I do think the future belongs to the Midwest and the mid-sized American cities, but I don’t think those mid-sized American cities know it yet.” He says that there are more accessible concert venues to do music work than in larger cities and the artistic community of Indianapolis is “not terribly jaded or hung up on hierarchy here. There is not as much tribalism as I’ve seen before… Everyone here seems to be embedded in the same community rather than embedded in different pockets of a community.”
Robin Cox is a gem that should be treasured for his compelling compositions and innovative concert experiences. When asked what’s next for him, the former freeway flyer was excited to express that a new HOURGLASS series is going to be happening in Indianapolis in the spring of 2018. For more information on HOURGLASS, BIG TENT, and Cox’s new album Ghost of Time visit his website.
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