Music Professor Emeritus to be Honored on Founders Day


to watch

Founders Day Chapel


Dr. Ray E. Robinson, distinguished professor emeritus of music, will be honored during the Founders Day Chapel at 11 a.m. Tuesday, April 3, at the Greene Complex for Sports and Recreation, 1100 S. Dixie Highway, West Palm Beach. The event is free. Founders Day is sponsored by the Palm Beach Atlantic University Alumni Association as the annual event commemorating the University’s establishment in 1968. For more information contact Delesa Morris, assistant vice president for alumni relations and annual fund, at (561) 803-2022.

Dr. Ray Robinson
Dr. Ray Robinson
The speaker for the event will be Dr. Michel “Mike” Simoneaux, president of Brewton-Parker College and the first dean of PBA's School of Music and Fine Arts.

Dr. Simoneaux had a vision to grow the music department at PBA to a high level of excellence. He launched a search for a choral director to bring this goal to fruition. With the help of then PBA President Claude Rhea, Dr. Simoneaux offered world-renowned choral director Dr. Ray Robinson the job. He accepted the offer in 1989, joining Palm Beach Atlantic as distinguished professor of choral studies.

Dr. Mike Simoneaux
Dr. Mike Simoneaux

Dr. Robinson established a choral program, broadened the repertory of the Concert Choir, founded the Oratorio Chorus and PBA Singers, taught courses in conducting and musicology, and was the keystone in building a first-class music faculty.

Dr. Robinson continued to teach at PBA until he retired in 2003 as distinguished senior professor of music. During this time, his wife, Ruth, also served in the University’s art department.

In 2004, Dr. Robinson was appointed music director and general manager of the Palm Beach Symphony. He also hosted a weekly one-hour radio program on WXEL-FM called Ovation South Florida.

Earlier this year, the Palm Beach County Cultural Council presented Dr. Robinson with a MUSE award for his contributions to the arts and culture of Palm Beach County. 

Dr. Robinson has conducted in Austria, Germany, Great Britain, Poland, Romania and the Ukraine, where he performed a variety of literature for choir and orchestra. He is a recognized specialist in the music of Felix Mendelssohn, the contemporary Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki and the 17th century German composer Heinrich Schutz.

A native of the San Francisco Bay area, he attended San José State University’s music school where he concentrated his studies in conducting and viola. In his junior year, Dr. Robinson was drafted to serve in the Korean War. After completing his two years of military service, he returned to San José State University to complete his bachelor’s degree.

He went on to earn his master’s degree in viola performance and a doctoral degree in music education, conducting and musicology at Indiana University School of Music in Bloomington, Ind. He held his first teaching position at the university while he was still a graduate student. In 1959, he joined the music faculty at Cascade College in Portland, Ore.

In 1963 at the age of 30, Dr. Robinson was named dean of the Peabody Conservatory of Music in Baltimore, Md. Six years later, Dr. Robinson was named president of Westminster Choir College in Princeton, N.J., which is now part of Rider University. The college honored him with a Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa in 1987. Upon retiring from Westminster that same year, he was named Visiting Fellow at Cambridge University’s Wolfson College in Cambridge, England.

Over the course of his career, Dr. Robinson wrote countless articles and authored 10 books on musicology, church music and the choral art, including: The Choral Experience; Choral Music: A Norton Historical Anthology; Krzysztof Penderecki: A Guide to his Works; and A Study of the Penderecki St. Luke Passion.

Dr. Robinson recently gifted his music collection to Palm Beach Atlantic University, including research notes, books, photos, lectures, syllabi, music memorabilia and personal correspondence with some of the greatest composers and musicians of the 20th and 21st centuries. The collection will be housed in the Warren Library and University archives. 

Category Tag(s): 03/2012 General News