2021: Penrith Symphony Orchestra–Western Sydney University prize
Robert was awarded the 2021 Penrith Symphony Orchestra–Western Sydney University prize after being encouraged to submit by co-supervisor Clare Maclean. He was subsequently commissioned to compose a piece to be performed as part of the prize.
The new piece, Sapiens, is due to have its premier performance in Penrith on 30 July 2022.
Beyond Area 21
During 2020 Robert Was nominated by Bruce Crossman to compose a piece for an international intercultural project between music students from Western Sydney University and Seoul National University. Robert composed a piece, Two Faces, for gayageum (Korean harp) and two sided electric guitar. The piece was recorded and mixed during October and November 2020. The gayageum was performed by 이언화 (Eonhwa Lee) and Robert played the two-sided guitar.
Two Faces was selected for the Beyond Area 21 live broadcast commemorating 60 years of diplomatic ties between South Korea and Australia. This was broadcast online in 24 November 2021. Check out the video of the broadcast.
Over the following two years, with a bit of a pause due to COVID-19 limitations, he added the final instruments and started mixing, mastering and releasing the first set of songs with Fifi Rong, Martin Ford and the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, as singles on streaming services, in preparation for releasing the album Forbidden Fruit.
February 2020: The Bridge Writing Studio, London.
Recorded Fifi Rong singing the songs with the orchestral recordings at The Bridge Writing Studio, London.
January 2020: City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra
Recorded the first set of songs with Martyn Ford conducting the City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra (COPPO)
Personal psychological balance
Robert realised his personal psychology was more well-balanced when, in addition to working in the prison system and teaching Psychotherapy and Counselling, he continued to work on music projects. So he started a doctorate in music composition with a view to completing the composition of his songs.
His principle Western Sydney University supervisor, Associate Professor Bruce Crossman, encouraged him to explore and include his intercultural Chinese-Australian concepts and inclinations in this project. He had some of the songs translated into Mandarin.
While working on finishing the songs, he met German digital publisher, based in France, Hellmut Wolf. Hellmut not only encouraged him to think about taking the project to the next level, but introduced him to conductor Martyn Ford and identified London based Chinese bilingual singer Fifi Rong, and put Robert and Fifi in touch.
Robert developed a desire to finish all the music he had started but not completed. He decided to start by finalising and making available all the songs he had written over the years through genuine musical expression, but never released. So he started composing these songs for string orchestra, voice and various additional instruments,
He did a series of trial recordings with small ensembles put together by Polish cellist, Michal Wieczorek.
Australian indie folk musician Wyatt Moss-Wellington performed vocals on all the trial recordings.