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Earl Hawley Robinson Edit Profile

composer , conductor , educator , singer , writer

Earl Hawley Robinson, American Composer, writer, singer, conductor, educator. Recipient Hall of Fame award National Academy Recording Arts and Sciences, 1980. Member Authors League, Screen Actors Guild, Dramatists Guild, American Fedn.Musicians, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (Gold Record 1976), Song Writers Guild.


Robinson, Earl Hawley was born on July 2, 1910 in Seattle, Washington, United States. Son of Morris John and Hazel Beth (Hawley) Robinson.


He studied violin, viola and piano as a child, and studied composition at the University of Washington, receiving a BM and teaching certificate in 1933. In 1934 he moved to New York City where he studied with Hanns Eisler and Aaron Copland.


In addition, he wrote many popular songs and music for Hollywood films. In the 1940s he worked on film scores in Hollywood until he was blacklisted for being a Communist. Unable to work in Hollywood, he moved back to New York, where he headed the music program at Elisabeth Irwin High School, directing the orchestra and chorus.


  • Other Work

    • Wrote music for Federal Theater shows, New York City, 1936-1939, (including Processional, Life and Death of an American, Sing for Your Supper). Conductor: American Peoples chorus, 1937-1942. Guggenheim fellowship and renewal to make museum setting of: The People, Yes (by Carl Sandburg), 1940-1941.

      Music director, Elisabeth Irwin High School, New York City, 1957-1965. Conductor, Extension Chorus, University of California at Los Angeles, 1967-1968. Teacher sound and music for film and theatre, University of California at Los Angeles extension, 1969-1971, University Washington extension Songs of the Working People, From the American Revolution to the present, 1989, music for radio, theater, films, television, also singing on radio and television.

      Composer: cantatas Ballad for Americans, Lonesome Train, Tower of Babel, Illinois People (commissioned by State of Illinois for Sesquicentennial Year 1968), Strange Unusual Evening, In the Folded and Quiet Yesterdays, Garden of Eden, Building the Pyramid, Grand Coulee Dam. A Concert for Francis, Ride the Wind, Song dance cantatas for children, Good Morning, Come Along, When We Grow Up. Songs for children's museum Gingerbread John.

      Composer of score for Los Angeles Coronet Theatre Production of Dark of the Moon. Ballet score, Bouquet for Molly. Folk operas Sandhog, David of Sassoun.

      Symphonic poem with tenor voice A Country They Call Puget Sound, Concerto for Five String Banjo. Song of Atlantis, a music drama. Piano concerto A New Human, (musicals) Earl Robinson's America, I Been Thinkin' about J.C., Listen for the Dolphin.

      Songs Once upon a Soon Time, The House I Live In (Oscar award 1947), Black and White, Joe Hill, Abe Lincoln, John Brown, Free and Equal Blues, Same Boat Brother, Now, Build Fun City, Four Hugs A Day, He Built the Road, Hurry Sundown, Suppose, All the Words are New, Logan's Lament, Message From a New Address, Planet Earth Real Estate Company, The World is My Garden, I Choose Wilderness. Author songs Folk Guitar in 10 Sessions, 1965. Museum editor: Young Folk Song Book, 1963, Songs of the Great West, 1967, Songs of Brecht and Eisler, 1966.

      Songs for, 20th Century-Fox film, Walk in the Sun, Paramount film, California, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, film Romance of Rosie Ridge. Songs and background score for documentary film The Roosevelt Story, Eagle Lion film, Texas Story, General Motors, industrial film, Giants in the Land. Composed, sang, narrated, Fox, short film, Muscle Beach.

      Score and songs for, Universal NBC film, The Great Man's Whiskers, ABC Movie of the Week, Maybe I'll Come Home in the Spring, 1971, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ABC-television, 1975, The Pumpkin Who Couldn't Smile, Columbia Broadcasting System, 1979.


He was also involved with the depression-era WPA Federal Theater Project, and was actively involved in the anti-fascist movement and was the musical director at the Communist-run Camp Unity in upstate New York.


Robinson is remembered for his music, including the songs "Joe Hill", "Black and White", and the cantata "Ballad for Americans," which expressed his left-leaning political views.


Member Authors League, Screen Actors Guild, Dramatists Guild, American Fedn.Musicians, American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (Gold Record 1976), Song Writers Guild.


  • Other Interests

    Avocations: chess, gardening, psychic reading.


Married Helen Wortis, February 17, 1937 (deceased June 1963). Children: Perry Morris, James. Married Ruth Martin, May 5, 1965 (divorced 1975).

Morris John Robinson

Hazel Beth (Hawley) Robinson

Helen Wortis

Ruth Martin

Perry Morris Robinson

James Robinson