Skip to content


Competition for Classical Musicians and Vocalists (Soloists through Sextets)

Submit via the application portal linked below.


$500 per Winner — One Winner per Week


Underscoring both the imperative 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*, a group of infectious disease doctors, epidemiologists, and other health experts joins forces with Ariel AVANT to offer the ROBINSON RECITALS initiative.

Through this platform, we are putting out a call to classical musicians and vocalists – soloists through sextets – to curate and perform a “live” social-distancing video-concert (30 minutes in length) specifically designed for people in retirement communities and nursing homes. In the current COVID-19 global pandemic, retirement home residents are now cut off from the outside world, even from their families, as well as from each other. Retirement home concert series have been canceled entirely, as the communities are forced to shut their doors to the outside world to protect their residents, one of the populations most vulnerable to the coronavirus.

Each week, the competition will offer a $500 prize to the top concert performance submission. Musicians themselves should respect “social distancing,” and ensembles should solve creatively what it means to give a “live” performance under that constraint. The winning performance links will be distributed widely to retirement home and nursing home communities, 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

ROBINSON RECITALS is named after my grandparents, Lucia and John Robinson, with whom we toured as kids to bring their variety show “The Severna Park Bums” to retirement homes across the state of Maryland. “The Bums” shows featured not just music, but comedy, skits, marionettes, singalongs, and more; everybody brought their own talents to the table. The residents had a great time, and our four generations of performers and audience members all enjoyed punch and cookies together after the show.

  • Applicants must be classical musicians/vocalists (soloists through sextets).
  • The first week of submissions will be judged by Oni Buchanan, the creator of ROBINSON RECITALS.
  • Thereafter, renowned guest curators from the classical music world will select each week’s winning performance. Each curator is featured HERE, along with their organization.
  • Concert presenters or artist managers interested to curate a concert week, please contact Oni.
  • The entire submission and judging process is remote.



Dr. Caroline Buckee
Associate Director & Associate Professor
Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics; Dept of Epidemiology
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Satchit Balsari
Assistant Professor
Department of Global Health and Population
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health
Dr. Yonatan Grad
Melvin J. and Geraldine L. Glimcher Assistant Professor
Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases
Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health

guest curators

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
Artistic Director
University of Dayton ArtsLIVE
Dayton, OH
Ben Dietschi
Senior Consultant
DeVos Institute of Arts Management
Washington, DC



  • Caroline Buckee, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
  • Satchit Balsari, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
  • Yonatan Grad, Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health, Boston, MA
  • Matthew Kulas, Ariel Artists LLC, Boston, MA
  • The Bloom Family, Bothell, Washington
  • James Buckee, Boston, MA
  • Robin Welte, Mount Gretna, PA

Not only will your donation ensure that live classical concerts reach retirement home residents facing loneliness, listlessness, and fear, but your donation offers payment to artists during a time when their means of making of living have been catastrophically upended.

Donations to artists through the ROBINSON RECITALS initiative demonstrate that their work has true value, power, and relevance to create positive impact in the present moment.

Donations to seniors through the ROBINSON RECITALS initiative demonstrate that their physical, emotional, and spiritual lives matter, and that we’re all in this together.