Robert Black's interests range from traditional orchestral and chamber music to solo recitals of cutting-edge music, collaborations with actors, music with computers, movement-based improvisations with dancers, and live-action painting performances with artists. He has commissioned, collaborated or performed with various composers and musicians, including John Cage, DJ Spooky, Elliott Carter, Meredith Monk, Cecil Taylor, Paquito d’Rivera and many more.
His recital activities frequently take him to five continents and he has appeared at major festivals (Takefu International Music Festival, Japan; Festival de Eleazar Carvalho, Fortalzea, Brazil; Colombo-Catalan Festival, Medellin, Colombia; the Helsinki Festival; NYYD, Estonia; etc.), on radio and television broadcasts (Asia Live, Singapore, VPRO, Holland; NPR, United States; CBC, Canada; etc.) and as an artist-in-residence (Omnibus, Tashkent, Uzbekistan, American Center, Paris; the Banff Centre, Canada; Studio P.A.S.S., NYC).
Black is a current and founding member of the Bang On A Can All-Stars, and he recently joined the chamber group Cuatro Puntos. Additional chamber music activities include annual appearances at the Moab Music Festival and the Festival de Eleazar Carvalho in Fortaleza, Brazil. His collaborative performances include Kathryn Walker and the Music Theater Group (The Odyssey), the Full Force Dance Company (Life, Death, Immortality), films by Rudy Burckhardt, and live action-painting improvisations with the Brazilian painter Ige D'Aquino.
His solo recordings include the double CD Modern American Bass featuring mid-20th Century American bass repertoire (New World Records), The Complete Bass Music of Giacinto Scelsi (Mode Records), The Complete Bass Music of Christian Wolff (Mode Records), and State of the Bass (O.O. Discs). He has recorded 16 CDs with the Bang On A Can All-Stars (Cantaloupe Music) and has also recorded for Sony Classical, Point/Polygram, Koch International, CRI, Opus One, Artifact Recordings, Folkways Records, and others.
A recipient of numerous grants and awards, he recently received the Degree of Comendador - Mérito Cultural e Artistico from the Fundação Educacional, Cultural e Artistica Elezar de Carvalho in recognition of 25 years of distinguished contributions to the cultural and artistic life of Brazil. He also received a Bessie Award for his collaborative work with Yoshiko Chuma and the School of Hard Knocks. Black also maintains a full teaching schedule at The Hartt School at the University of Hartford, the Festival Eleazar de Carvalho (Brazil), and he is on the faculty of the Manhattan School of Music’s Contemporary Performance Program.
Black plays a French double bass made by Charles Brugere in Paris in 1900. He tours with a B-21 instrument that he commissioned from French luthier, Patrick Charton. His principal German bows were made by W. Renz (1920s) and Sue Lipkins (modern).