The Mission of the Trust, in collaboration with UNM, is to support the music and musical legacy of John Donald Robb, to further his inspiring commitment to education, and to advance the understanding of music of the Southwest. »Learn more.




International Commission Competition

Composers from around the world are invited to participate in the 7th biennial Commission Competition. In this international contest, entrants use as inspiration songs from the John Donald Robb Musical Archive for their compositions. The commission will be performed at the 2017 John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium. 



Upcoming: New Hispanic Folk Song Book

Cancionero: Songs of Laughter and Faith in New Mexico, a collection of 13 Hispanic folk songs from John Donald Robb’s renowned archive in the University of New Mexico Libraries’ Center for Southwest Research, is scheduled for a December 2015 release by UNM Press. The songs, arranged for piano and voice, are a treasure that Robb recognized and preserved.



Archives Accessible to the World

The songs in the John Donald Robb Archive of Southwestern Music can now be accessed from your own computer. Through a Robb Trust project, you can listen to these timeless field recordings from the mid-20th century, along with viewing lyrics in both Spanish and English, any time, any place.

We invite you to check it out!



An Electronic Music Pioneer

John Donald Robb was in his 70s when he attended a seminar hosted by Bob Moog in upstate New York to learn more about a revolutionary new instrument, which came to be known as the Moog Synthesizer. Shortly thereafter he became one of the first to purchase the synthesizer, and set about to create a new body of electronic music. After years in storage, in 2013 Robb's Moog synthesizer was refurbished and is now being featured in concerts and used by students.



UNM Robb Trust Composers' Symposium

The 2015 John Donald Robb Composers' Symposium brought composers Chen Yi,  Christoph Maria Wagner, Carter Williams and Vijay Iyer to the University of New Mexico campus from March 22-26. Performances from Chatter, the UNM Wind Symphony, the UNM Children's Chorus and faculty from the UNM Department of Music featured virtuosic transformations of folk song. The winning composition from the UNM John Donald Robb International Composers' Competition, "Buffalo Dance," by Luke Dahn was performed during the symposium 

The 2016 Composers' Symposium will be held March 28 - April 1.



Robb Hispanic Folk Music Book Re-published

Hispanic Folk Music of New Mexico and the Southwest: A Self-Portrait of a People, an exhaustive collection and study of 700 folk songs, has been re-published by University of New Mexico Press 34 years after its initial release in 1980. The highly respected book by John Donald Robb, compiled from his many years of recording these songs in the field, is available for purchase at local bookstores or online.



Perform John Donald Robb's Compositions

The John Donald Robb Musical Trust has more than 48 compositions that are ready to be performed. These compositions are divided into seven major areas: orchestral, chamber music, piano, organ, vocal, choral and opera. Recent additions include Robb's Requiem, and to celebrate the New Mexico Centennial, Song for New Mexico.


Experience the Music
View musical scores, photographs and listen to samples of John Donald Robb compositions.

Explore the extensive Robb archive of photographs, scores, performances of compositions and personal papers.

Field Recordings
Listen to nearly 3,000 folk songs and Native American chants collected by John Donald Robb during travels in the Southwest, Latin America and Nepal from 1941-1979.

Graduate Assistantship
Music graduate students are invited to apply for the John Donald Robb Graduate Music Assistantship.

The UNM Robb Musical Trust offers small grants for projects that advance its mission.

»More      »Write a Testimonial

As a student at UNM between 1991 and 1996, my ears were opened to the magical music of the Southwest U.S. I did not know John Donald Robb personally, but I know that I benefited directly from his legacy. Thank you for keeping the music he valued so highly alive...

-- Tiffany Nicely, percussion teacher at SUNY Fredonia