Edinburgh’s rich tapestry of art and culture has always served as fertile ground for nurturing talented individuals. One such artist, Robbie Milner, a burgeoning baritone, began his musical voyage in the very heart of our city, before venturing to the vast terrains of Canada and the U.S.A.
From Gilbert & Sullivan to the Global Stage
Robbie’s melodious journey kickstarted in Barrow-in-Furness, inspired by a spirited rendition of “The Mikado” by Gilbert & Sullivan. This newfound passion led him to immerse himself in the realm of singing, joining esteemed societies and taking on charismatic roles, such as ‘Lord Brockhurst’ in “The Boy Friend” by Sandy Wilson. The magic of Leonard Bernstein’s compositions, including iconic pieces like ‘West Side Story’ and ‘Mass’, further fuelled Robbie’s aspiration.
Yet, it wasn’t just the harmony of tunes that enthralled him, but the poignant delivery of lyrics by legends like Sanford Sylvan, Dame Janet Baker, and Gérard Souzay that truly captivated his soul.
Edinburgh Napier: Laying the Foundation
Robbie’s foundational steps in voice performance were solidified during his Bachelor’s at Edinburgh Napier University. Formerly known as the Ian Tomlin Academy of Music, Napier’s department was renowned for its exemplary education in classical music. Robbie credits the institute’s profound focus on performance standards and stagecraft, under the mentorship of the distinguished pianist Nicholas Ashton, for equipping him with the skills of a global artist.
Exploring New Shores
With an unwavering interest in American tunes and talents, Robbie expanded his horizons, moving first to Montreal and subsequently to Boston. At the Longy School of Music of Bard College, Robbie discovered not just an enriching curriculum but also the freedom to allow his voice to flourish naturally under the tutelage of Jayne West.
Despite the financial implications of studying abroad, Robbie notes that the scholarship system in the U.S.A. does significantly mitigate expenses. Furthermore, Boston’s vibrant musical atmosphere offered endless avenues for exploration and performance.
Voicing Wisdom for Aspiring Singers
Robbie’s advice to budding voice enthusiasts revolves around commitment. He emphasises that visibility is key, urging students to seize every chance to perform. Robbie also sheds light on the evolving nature of vocal ranges; sharing his personal transition from being categorised as a tenor to finding his true baritone essence. He underscores the importance of comfort in vocal techniques, asserting that it should feel easy and authentic, allowing one to genuinely connect with the audience.
Connect with Robbie
Photo Credits: robbiemilnerbaritone.com