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Robert Lombardo is the son of Sicilian immigrants. He received his BM & MM in composition from the Hartt School of Music and was awarded the PhD from the State University of Iowa. His principal composition teacher was Arnold Franchetti. Lombardo is a prolific composer who has written more than 200 works for solo instruments, chamber ensembles, orchestra, as well as four chamber operas and a number of song cycles. His wife Kathleen has written texts for several of his compositions. Among them: Johnny Sequel (a companion piece to Gianni Schicchi), Against Forgetting, a cantata in memory of the Holocaust children, Aria Variata –a solo cantata for mezzo soprano and string orchestra, recorded by the Czech National Symphony Orchestra for Albany Records and Last Letters Home: a Meditation on War for mezzo soprano and string quartet. Six chamber works of his featuring the mandolin and performed by Dimitris Marinos is on the Albany Records label. A Northwestern University CD features pianist Salvatore Spina performing four compositions by Lombardo. Recent compositions include: Snapshots & Reflections: Five Miniatures for string quartet, Fantasy Variations #8 for solo viola, Painters’ Notes: a duo for violin & viola commissioned by, and for, Almita and Roland Vamos, Duo for alto sax and marimba, Fantasy Variations #9 for solo piano, Premonitions for string trio, Frosted Window II for mezzo soprano, flute & mandolin, Fantasy Variations #10 for solo guitar, and Espressivo/agitato for violin & piano.
Lombardo has garnered many honors for his compositions. Among them: a Guggenheim Fellowship, commissions form the Serge Koussevitzky Foundation in the Library of Congress, the Fromm Foundation, and radio stations WNIB and WFMT. He is the recipient of grants from the Illinois Arts Council, the Ford Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. His compositions have been performed by numerous ensembles including the Chicago, Cincinnati and Memphis Symphony orchestras, the Fine Arts Quartet, the Chicago String Ensemble, CUBE, Ars Viva, the Pacifica Quartet, the Hilversum Radio Kamerorkest in the Netherlands, and St. Christopher’s Chamber Orchestra in Lithuania. Lombardo holds the title of Professor Emeritus from Roosevelt University where he was Professor of Theory & Composition and Composer-in-residence from 1965 until 1999.