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Ariel Artists Announces Robinson Recitals

An Innovation Competition for Social Distancing Video-Concerts Designed for Retirement Communities and Nursing Homes

A Boston-based group of infectious disease doctors, epidemiologists, and other health experts joins forces with the Boston-based classical music management firm Ariel Artists and its new innovation platform Ariel AVANT to announce Robinson Recitals, an innovation competition calling for “live” social-distancing video-concerts specifically designed for retirement and nursing homes. These communities are not only in the highest risk category during the COVID-19 pandemic, but are also experiencing the greatest degrees of isolation and loneliness right now.

For the inaugural week of Robinson Recitals, the competition will offer $500 prizes to each of the top three concert performance submissions. Musicians themselves should respect social distancing, and ensembles should solve creatively what it means to give a “live” performance under pandemic constraints.

Applications are open immediately and are rolling thereafter. The winning performance links will be distributed widely to the retirement home and nursing home communities nationwide, where residents, their family members from afar, staff, and others can enjoy them as they are able to during their days. Family members and their mothers, fathers, grandmothers, and grandfathers living in retirement homes can watch the same live concert video together at the same time at their own convenience, from their separate residences, and in that way, share a live performance in real time.

If you know a retirement home activities coordinator, retirement home resident, or family member who would like to receive distributed concert links by email, please have them sign up HERE.

The first week of winning concerts will be distributed the week of March 22nd, with winning concerts revealed on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday of that week. Prize money for week one has been sponsored by three doctors at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health: Dr. Caroline Buckee, Associate Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics and Associate Professor of Epidemiology; Dr. Satchit Balsari, Assistant Professor in the Department of Global Health and Population; and Dr. Yonatan Grad, Melvin J. and Geraldine L. Glimcher Assistant Professor of Immunology and Infectious Diseases.


The competition underscores the urgency of social distancing, and simultaneously the crucial importance of the arts – and music in particular – in maintaining the health and spiritual well-being of humans. The first-ever WHO report on the evidence base for arts and health interventions was released in November 2019, referencing over 900 publications (including 200 reviews covering over 3,000 further studies) and representing the most comprehensive evidence review of arts and health to date. In its Summary of Findings, the report concludes that “the findings from this review lend credibility to the assertion that the overall evidence base shows a robust impact of the arts on both mental and physical health.”


To apply for the Robinson Recitals initiative, musicians and vocalists (soloists through sextets) should design and perform a concert specifically for these retirement communities of vulnerable people in quarantine or isolation. Applicants should submit a concert title, repertoire list with timings (the program should range from 30-45 minutes with no intermission and including spoken comments; see below), and a one or two-paragraph program description of a concert. In the program description, the applicant should articulate not only how the repertoire fits together, but how they are striving through that particular program of music to connect with the audience members of the retirement / nursing home community. The applicant should also submit a complete YouTube video recording of a live performance of the concert proposed, including spoken greetings to residents, and brief comments along the way.

Full Competition Guidelines and Application Form


The following concert presenters and artist managers from the classical music world have volunteered to be Guest Curators for the Robinson Recitals initiative through the end of April: Derek Kwan, Executive Director, Lied Center of Kansas (Lawrence, KS); Margaret Murray, Associate Curator of Public Programs, Museum of Fine Arts of St. Petersburg (St. Petersburg, FL); Eileen Carr, Director, Dayton ArtsLIVE (Dayton, OH); and Nina Moe, Operations / Data / Finance, The Lynch Foundation (Boston, MA).

Any concert presenters or artist managers interested in curating a week of concerts, please contact Ariel Artists Founder Oni Buchanan.


Additional Donations for the Robinson Recitals Initiative Can Be Given Here. Thank You!