"LONG WINDED reveals in the story of my own musical pilgrimage the three principal elements of Joseph Campbell's classic hero saga—withdrawal, initiation, and enlightened return.
In the book I acknowledge two powerful childhood sources of motivation—1) my older brother’s near-deafness, and 2) my first cousin’s imprisonment for seventeen years in an iron lung because of polio; and I describe the unbelievable instrumental training I received in a North Carolina public high school band.
Much of my book deals with the two great quests of young adulthood—i.e., choosing a vocation and finding a mate. Along the way, I struggle to overcome racial, ethnic and economic biases as well as homophobia—all part of growing up in the Jim Crow South.
I describe riding the wave of the so-called "Culture Boom" in America, as well as another "force" that impelled me named John Mack!
And if Marcel Tabuteau was my "Yoda," being an English major was my magic "light saber."
LONG WINDED's dramatic climax is reached when I audition for the coveted first oboe chair of the New York Philharmonic!"
Joseph L. Robinson
"You have led a storied life and I am glad you are telling it now in print." Bill Moyers
In addition to fulfilling his instrumental duties with distinction for twenty-seven years as Principal Oboe of the New York Philharmonic, where he performed in more than 3,000 concerts and soloed frequently at Lincoln Center and abroad, Joseph Robinson received an honorary Doctor of Music degree at his alma mater, Davidson College, and a New York EMMY as Executive Producer of "Heroes of Conscience," a television concert/documentary about Dietrich Bonhoeffer and other members of the German Resistance against Hitler. He has served on the governing or advisory boards of Davidson College, Union Theological Seminary, Oberlin Conservatory, the Curtis Institute of Music, the Brevard Music Center, the Grand Teton Music Festival, and many others. As President of the Grand Teton Orchestral Seminar he helped develop unique orchestral training that inspired imitation in the first Master of Orchestral Music degree in American higher education at Manhattan School of Music, where he was also Head of Oboe Studies. In 2006 he was named "Artist in Residence" in the Music Department of Duke University and in 2010 "Visiting Distinguished Professor of Oboe" at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Florida. He has been a keynote speaker and authored several published articles, the last in Harmony Magazine advocating competitive concerts as a way of increasing public interest in symphony orchestras.
Joseph Robinson is married to violinist Mary Kay McQuilkin, a Juilliard graduate and former member of the New Jersey Symphony. They are parents of three remarkable daughters and currently divide residency between Blaine, Washington, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina.