About the Artist

Collaborative Pianist

At home in a broad variety of musical genres, Casey Robards is a pianist and vocal coach known for her versatility, sensitive musicality and expert collaborative skill.  Dr. Robards has concertized throughout the U.S., Europe, Central and South America, and Asia.

Recitals & Concerts

Casey has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists including Ollie Watts Davis, Cherry Duke, Risa Renae Harman, Courtney Huffman, Alex Hurd, LaToya Lain, Amanda Pabyan, Henry Pleas, Karen Slack, Jeffrey Springer, Tracy Watson, Bonita Boyd, Sara Fraker, Mark Ostoich, Donna Shin, Chien-Kwan Lin, Laurien Laufman, Fangye Sun, Joe Burgstaller, Bruce Bonnell, Elliot Chasanov. Casey is a founding member of the Patterson Piano Duo and the KO Trio (with flutist, Donna Shin and cellist, Ji Yon Shim).

She made her Carnegie Hall debut in Nov 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, premiered with soprano, Risa Renae Harman with stage direction by Nick Gisonde. Casey currently tours with singer LaToya Lain in a “Narrative of a Slave Woman” a dramatic and moving lecture-recital formatted program of Negro spirituals. With mezzo soprano, Cherry Duke, Robards has given fund-raising concerts for Musicambia, a music education program in U.S. prisons.

Diverse Styles

ANSI 2016 Charlevoix

American Spiritual Institute at Bay View Music Festival, 2016

Casey’s musical expertise includes art song, opera, musical theatre, Broadway, gospel, rock, and pop as well as the standard solo brass and string repertoire.  Casey 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.

Robards was principal musician/assistant conductor of the University of Illinois Black Chorus between 1998-2008. She is a pianist and coach for the American Spiritual Institute at the Bay View Music Festival with Dr. Everett McCorvey.

Recordings

Casey 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 regularly broadcast on Interlochen Public Radio.

Upcoming recording releases include an album featuring African American women composers with soprano Angelique Clay, a collection of violin works of by Bright Sheng and other Chinese composers with Fangye Sun; and a recording with oboist Sara Fraker highlighting works by Pavel Haas, a composer whose life was ended prematurely during the Holocaust.

Vocal Coach/Conductor

Risa Renae Harman and Casey, Bay View, MI 2016

Risa Renae Harman and Casey, photo: Erin Elizabeth

Also a committed coach and pedagogue, Dr. Robards is currently a Lecturer at the University of Illinois and faculty pianist/vocal coach/conductor at the Bay View Music Festival.  She has been on the faculty of the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University (Collaborative Piano/Voice) and Central Michigan University (Lecturer, Collaborative Piano) and numerous festivals including 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. Casey has music directed/conducted several shows and recently was 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.

Education

Dr. Robards completed the D.M.A. in Vocal Coaching and Accompanying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  Her awards include the Nancy Wustman Memorial Accompanying Award and the Henri Kohn Memorial Award (Tanglewood Music Festival). She attended the 2015 Songfest Professional Development Program.

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