RTannerMusic.net Biography

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A native of Clarksburg, Ohio, Robert Tanner earned his bachelor’s degree in music industry with a minor in mathematics from Capital University in 1994. While at Capital, Tanner studied percussion with Robert Breithaupt and composition with Stan Smith. He pursued his graduate studies in composition at The Ohio State University where his principal composition instructors were Thomas Wells and Jan Radzynski. Tanner completed his Master’s degree in 1996 and his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in 1999.


Throughout his undergraduate and graduate careers, Tanner earned numerous awards and honors for his musical and scholarly work, including the State of Ohio Regents Fellowship, Capital University’s John W. Mattern Alumni Prize, and induction into several honor societies. Among his recognitions as a composer are the Young Composer’s Award from the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) for his 1995 composition Ornaments; an appointment as composer-in residence with the Ohio State Symphony Orchestra, culminating in the premiere of Reconstruction in 1998; and the Ruth Friscoe Prize in Composition for Romance for Alto Saxophone and Piano in 1999.


Beginning in 1999, Tanner has served on the faculty of the music department at the prestigious Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he teaches classes in composition, theory, and music history. Since relocating to the Atlanta area, Tanner's works have been featured in numerous venues, including the Atlanta University Center Composer’s Symposium, the Associated Colleges of the South New Music Festival, and The Ohio State University Contemporary Music Festival. His compositions have been featured in concerts by several musical groups, including the choral ensemble Impromptu, the Choral Guild of Atlanta, and the Young Eight String Octet. Recent honors include commissions from the Luna Nova New Music Ensemble and the Young Voices of Atlanta and recognition in the Young Eight’s Emerging Composers Competition. His choral work “Lazarus” has been performed by numerous groups, appears on the CD Behold! Brethren in Unity by the Morehouse College Glee Club, and is published by G.I.A. Publications. Another composition, “Soliloquy,” was published in the premiere issue of the Journal of Creative Work in 2007. In addition, Tanner has remained active as a percussionist and appears on the CD Use Me, Lord by the internationally acclaimed Church Choir of Atlanta’s historical Ebenezer Baptist Church. Furthermore, Tanner has been affiliated with numerous organizations, such as ASCAP, the Society of Composers, the American Composers Forum, and the Percussive Arts Society. His research on topics such as music technology, music history curriculum design and trends in popular music production has been presented at conferences hosted by the Center for Black Music Research and the American Culture Association.