Composer, Vibraphonist / Percussionist, Teacher



Rob Waring (1956) grew up in Yonkers and White Plains, New York and lived in Manhattan from 1974 until he moved to Oslo, Norway in 1981. While still in high school, Rob studied with Roland Kohloff, who had just become timpanist of the New York Philharmonic. He then studied percussion at the Juilliard School with Saul Goodman and Elden "Buster" Bailey (1974-79) and received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees. During that period, he also took elective courses in composition with Stanley Wolfe. Rob studied jazz vibraphone in 1975 with Dave Samuels. As a freelance musician in New York, Rob worked in symphony orchestras, jazz groups, ensembles for new music, and an experimental ensemble for homemade instruments. He was also a much sought-after accompanist for modern dance.

Since moving to Norway in 1981, Rob Waring has been active as a performer, composer, and teacher. He has been a central figure on the contemporary music scene in Oslo both as a classical percussionist and jazz vibraphonist and has collaborated with musicians and ensembles that represent a broad spectrum of musical approaches and styles: David Friedman, John Surman, SØYR, Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, Mats Eilertsen, Eyolf Dale, The Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, Misha Alperin, Elin Rosseland, Håkon Stene, Espen Rud, Jon Eberson, Stian Omenaas, Steffen Schorn and The Norwegian Wind Ensemble, Tone Hulbækmo, Lars Klevstrand, Wiese-Wøllo-Waring Trio, Kjell Samkopf, Octoband, Rob Waring Trio (with Carl Morten Iversen and Frank Jakobsen) and many others. He has recorded extensively.

Rob Waring has composed for soloists, chamber and jazz ensembles, choir, percussion ensemble, various combinations of acoustic and electronic instruments, as well as purely electroacoustic works.
He has written music for modern dance, film, and children's radio. Some of his music is written expressly for improvising musicians and he often experiments with the use of improvisation within large formal structures. Balinese music has been an important source of inspiration for Rob Waring. After his first visit to Bali, Rob composed a piece for the Norwegian percussion trio SISU, entitled "Sikoté Sukán". This was recorded on a CD (released October, 2003) called "Scratch!". In 2002 he spent four months studying in Bali, and he has continued to develop ideas for his own music inspired by Balinese principles. This has resulted in a series of works including "Sax Cycles" (for 2 saxophones and electronics), "Braided Streams" (viola, contrabass, marimba), "Jalan Pantai Sari" (quartertone-marimba duet), "Frekoté Vokán" (guitar duet), and "En Route" (percussion sextet).

Rob Waring was invited to exhibit his sound installation SONOMATRIX at the Henie-Onstad Art Center in Bærum, Norway in March - April, 1996 as part of an international exhibit of electronic art ("Electra 96"), and at the International Computer Music Conference in Thessaloniki, Greece in September, 1997. Sonomatrix is an instrument which emphasizes the use of the spatial dimension in music. Computer-controlled diffusion of sound through 64 loudspeakers enables the creation of musical structures involving ever-changing patterns of motion. Rob later improved and expanded the capabilities of the system to enable MIDI-control in live performance. This was utilized in a piece for Sonomatrix, saxophone, and MIDI-vibraphone which was premiered in October, 2002 during the Ultima International Festival for Contemporary Music in Oslo.

The Steninge Palace Cultural Centre in Sweden opened on June 12, 1999 with the "Steninge World Exhibition of Art Glass 1999". Rob was commissioned to compose electroacoustic music especially for this exhibition. The music played continuously throughout the exhibition period (June 12 - October 17, 1999).

The Rob Waring Trio with Carl Morten Iversen and Frank Jakobsen was active from 1987 until 2004 and released 2 CDs: "Secret Red Thread" (1991) and "Synchronize Your Watches" (2001). Vocalist Solveig Slettahjell was a guest on the last CD. Rob was a member of the experimental and ever-unpredictable band SØYR between 1986 and 2006. During that period the band released 4 CDs. His most recent recordings are with John Surman (2024 and 2018), Grete Skarpeid/Aruán Ortiz (2021), Eyolf Dale's Wolf Valley (2018 and 2016), Espen Rud (2017), Mats Eilertsen's Rubicon (2016) and Stian Omenaas Ensemble (2016).

Since 2011, Rob Waring and the world-renowned vibraphonist David Friedman have collaborated in a vibraphone-marimba duo, performing original compositions and exploring new approaches to improvisation. Their album "The Wayfarer" will be released in 2024.

Rob toured internationally with techno star Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory during 2012 - 2014.

The premiere of Rob's composition VEV took place in Oslo on the 23rd of September, 2017. VEV is a full evening performance with 7 musicians plus electroacoustic sound and projections of graphic art by Liv Krekke Kaada.

The premiere of Rob's composition The Flock took place in Skien, Norway on the 26th of September, 2019. The Flock is a full evening performance with 12 musicians.

It was commissioned and performed by Scheen Jazzorkester.

Rob Waring is Associate Professor of percussion at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. He has been a guest teacher at academies in Brussels, Berlin, Freiburg, Helsinki, Stockholm, Malmo, Aarhus, and Prague.