Robert Gibson (b. Atlanta, 1950) studied double bass with Jane Little (Atlanta Symphony), Analee Bacon (University of Georgia), Warren Benfield (Chicago Symphony), John Mathews (Baltimore Symphony) and Lucas Drew (University of Miami). While completing his studies at the University of Miami (B.M., 1972), he also performed as a member of the Greater Miami Philharmonic Orchestra under Alain Lombard. His composition studies were with Steven Strunk (M.M., Catholic University, 1975) and Lawrence Moss (D.M.A., University of Maryland, 1980).
Gibson was a composer member of the Contemporary Music Forum of Washington, DC from 1987–2000. As a jazz bassist and composer he has appeared leading his own groups and during the early 80’s as a sideman with internationally recognized artists including Marc Copland, Tom Harrell, Bob Berg, Mose Allison, Herb Ellis and Barney Kessel.
Gibson's compositions have been performed throughout the United States, including concerts at the Bowling Green 21st Annual New Music and Arts Festival and the national conferences of The College Music Society, The National Flute Association, and Society of Composers, Inc. His works have also been presented on National Public Radio and in Europe, South America and China. Noted artists and ensembles who have performed his works include bassists Bertram Turetzky, Lucas Drew and David Walter, clarinetists Esther Lamneck and Nathan Williams, the Meridian String Quartet, the Aeolus String Quartet, the Clarion Wind Quintet, Prism Brass Quintet, the Contemporary Music Forum, the 21st Century Consort, the Stern/Andrist Duo, Composers, Inc. of San Francisco, pianists Santiago Rodriguez, Marilyn Nonken and Naoko Takao, and members of the National Symphony bass section, who commissioned his composition Soundings (2001) for double bass quartet. His large orchestra work Through the Ear of a Raindrop, written for the inaugural season of the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center at the University of Maryland, was premiered by the University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra and conductor James Ross in May 2002. His string quartet Flux and Fire was commissioned by The Stony Brook Contemporary Chamber Players for their Nineteenth Annual Premieres Concert at Stony Brook University and in New York City in 2006. The Sound of Light, for wind orchestra, was premiered in 2010 by the University of Maryland Wind Orchestra, under the direction of Michael Votta. In 2019 Inscape Chamber Orchestra presented the world premiere of Night eats color, written for the ensemble.
Since 1985 Gibson has worked with computer music systems, and his electronic works have been performed at national and international conferences and festivals, including The Society for Electro–Acoustic Music in the United States national conferences and the Sonic Circuits Electronic Music Festival. His music for television includes a documentary score for the National Geographic Explorer series. His compositions have been recorded on Golden Crest (The American Music Project, Clarion Wind Quintet, 1979) and Spectrum Records (Soundscapes, 1982; Music of Robert Gibson, 1986). Chamber Music, a Capstone compact disc (1996) of his chamber works, appeared on Fanfare magazine’s Want List as one of critic William Zagorski’s five notable recordings of the year. His most recent CD, Flux and Fire, was released by Innova Records in July 2018 and praised at Classical Ear (UK) as the work of “a composer exquisitely alert to atmosphere and mood.”
Gibson is a member of the American Composers Alliance (ACA), and since 2010 has served on the Board of Governors of ACA. He is Professor of Music and former Director of the School of Music (2005-16) at the University of Maryland, College Park.