Robert Dick (1950-)
Program note written by Jacob Farmer
Approximate Performance Time:
Intermediate Advanced – appropriate for advanced high school and college undergraduates
Lookout – Robert Dick. Perf. Melissa Keeling. YouTube. N.p., 10 Apr. 2011. Web. 25 Sept. 2016. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rCFjaRSCHS0>.
Isaac, Carol Gertrud. “The Solo Flute Music of Three Contemporary flutist/composers: Robert Aitken, Robert Dick, and Harvey Sollberger.” Order No. 9130755 University of California, San Diego, 1991. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 1 Oct. 2016.
Robert Dick is a living American flutist and composer born in 1950. He hails from New York City where he started playing the flute as a young boy, citing the flute featured in the popular rock and roll hit Rockin’ Robbin as his initial inspiration. He began lessons in the fourth grade, giving his first recital the same day. Of his many teachers, he considers his “main flute teachers” to be Henry Zlotnik, James Pappoutsakis, Julius Baker and Thomas Nyfenger. His compositions draw from various styles, including jazz, world music, and electrical and natural sounds. Dick is currently teaching at New York University, specializing in improvisation and chamber music.
Robert Dick’s Lookout was commissioned in 1989 for the National Flute Association High School Soloist Competition. This piece uses beginning level extended techniques and is great for flutists with little or no experience with contemporary techniques. Robert Dick describes this piece as “more of a kind of salsa and rock piece than it is a classical flute piece… there’s a lot of rhythmic activity where the flute functions in the way the kind of bell patterns do in Afro-Cuban music.” Some of the extended techniques utilized in this piece include: singing and playing, multiphonics, glissandi, key clicks, microtones, and different combinations of these techniques. This piece can be played on either an open-hole flute or a closed-hole flute, the glissandi might be more challenging on a closed-hole flute.