BM (Piano Performance); MM (Piano Pedagogy); DMA (Vocal Coaching and Accompanying, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Dr. Casey Robards is a Pianist and Vocal Coach known for her artistry, versatility and sensitive musicality. She has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South America and Asia, and she is a founding member of the Patterson Piano Duo and the KO Trio (with flutist, Donna Shin and cellist, Ji Yon Shim). Her repertoire includes art song, opera, musical theatre, gospel, jazz, string, brass and winds. Dr. Robards is Head of the Collaborative Piano program at the Bay View Music Festival. Previous faculty appointments include positions with Indiana University, Oberlin Conservatory (postdoctoral), and Central Michigan University. Dr. Robards is interested in the intersection of music and social justice and has led benefit recitals for Musicambia, a non-profit organization that creates music conservatories in prisons. She attended the prestigious Tanglewood Music Festival in 2004 and 2005).
Dr. Robards made her Carnegie Hall debut in November 2017 with baritone Christiaan Smith in a program mixing popular Top 40 songs with classical art song interpretation and technique. She recently created a “Shakespeare Cabaret,” an interdisciplinary project between music, theatre, and English faculty involving music by Glen Roven, and premiered with soprano, Risa Renae Harman, with stage direction by Nick Gisonde. Dr. Robards currently tours with singer LaToya Lain in a “Narrative of a Slave Woman,” a dramatic and moving lecture-recital formatted program of Negro spirituals. She has special interest in piano and vocal music by African-American composers, having experience in Black church music and a research interest in Negro spirituals and the life and music of John D. Carter, the subject of her dissertation.
Dr. Robards was principal musician/assistant conductor of the University of Illinois Black Chorus between 1998-2008. She has recorded a CD of African American spirituals with soprano, Ollie Watts Davis, (Here’s One), an album of works by female composers with tenor, Henry Pleas (Come Down Angels), and appears on recordings with oboist, Nancy Clauter (Meridian: The Ascending Journey), Jacek Muzyk, horn (Horn Constellation), the Eden String Quartet (A Bountiful Blessing DVD) and a TV special for a PBS fundraiser with soprano, Courtney Huffman. Her performances are broadcasted regularly on Interlochen Public Radio.
Her collaborative work with music festivals include the Young Musicians Inc. (Evanston, WY), Weathersfield Music Festival (Castleton, VT), Plymouth Music Festival (Plymouth, MA), and StudiO Vocal Arts Institute (Monticello, IL). Other pianist/coach work includes posts at Indianapolis Opera, the Indiana University Opera and Ballet Theater, and the Oberlin Conservatory. Dr. Robards has directed/conducted several music shows and recently served as the Associate Music Director/Conductor of the world premiere of “BOUNCE: the Basketball Opera” produced by Ardea Arts and the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre.