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Robert Hamilton: “Music Has Always Been My Language. It Speaks to Me More Deeply and Prevalently Than Anything Else”


The interview with renowned musician Robert Hamilton provides a fascinating insight into his musical journey and the influences that shaped his career. Hamilton’s early exposure to music, stemming from his father’s success as a jazz clarinetist and saxophonist, and his mother’s piano studies, laid the foundation for his own musical exploration. Remarkably, Hamilton exhibited an innate talent for the piano from a very young age, prompting formal lessons and eventually leading him to study with notable teachers such as Mrs. Schmidt and Mrs. Harnish.

Hamilton’s formative years involved a diverse musical education, encompassing piano, bassoon, and clarinet, as well as extensive orchestral performances. His decision to attend Indiana University, influenced by the desire to stay close to his high school sweetheart, Bev, ultimately proved fortuitous as he found a mentor in Sidney Foster. Foster’s guidance not only refined Hamilton’s technique but instilled a profound understanding of musical interpretation, emphasizing the proper use of weight and fundamental phrasing.

The interview delves into Hamilton’s experiences in various musical competitions, highlighting his successes and shedding light on the diverse challenges faced by a young musician in a competitive landscape. Hamilton’s reflections on his time in the U.S. Army Chorus, his performances in prestigious venues, and his exploration of lesser-known works demonstrate a commitment to artistic expression beyond conventional repertoire.

The interview concludes with a discussion of Hamilton’s extensive teaching career and his recent project, a book titled “Artistry: Pursuing the Mysteries of Music Performance.” Co-authored with Robert Demaree, the book addresses issues of musical interpretation, encouraging students to move beyond a literal adherence to the score and embrace experimentation and exploration in their artistic journey. Hamilton’s perspective on the evolving nature of students, the essence of music, and the importance of individual interpretation contributes significantly to the discourse on musical pedagogy and performance.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music