Robert J. Brownlow was born and raised in a small town in Southeast Minnesota. He began to take music seriously at the age of 16 when he started studying trumpet privately and teaching himself composition. Eventually, teaching would be added to his initial passions for composition and performing. He went on to forge a career that focused on all three areas. More recently he has retired from performing and has focused solely on composing and teaching.
His compositions have been performed in concert halls throughout the United States as well as in Germany, Thailand, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Numerous works have been commissioned and premiered at both National and International instrument conventions, with another such premiere scheduled for the International Clarinet Association’s ClarinetFest to be held in Madrid, Spain in July, 2015.
Dr. Brownlow has focused primarily on writing chamber music for a wide variety of both standards and unusual instrumental combinations. His music has been premiered by renowned performers including: Timothy McAllister, Vincent DiMartino, John Aley, Nora Lee Garcia and Jeffrey Lastrapes.
As a teacher, Dr. Brownlow has earned the respect of both his students and his peers. In just the past five years, several of his students have gone on to win various student composition competitions and awards. These include four of the past five winners of the prestigious Joseph Maddy Summer Artist Awards for music composition as well as the grand prize winner of the 2012 High School Harmonium Composition Competition. He has also served as a judge for a variety of composition competitions including most recently Interlochen’s Fanfare competition for young composers.
Dr. Brownlow has held full time positions at Luther College, the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, and the University of Central Florida. He is currently in his ninth year of teaching composition and theory at the University of Akron School of Music. He has also held a summer position at the Interlochen Arts Camp since 1999.