Meet Dr. Lawrence

Faculty Profile
by Daniel Mollenkamp

Photography by Emily Jordan

Please use Professional bio for programs and publications

Ever since he can remember, Robert Lawrence has been a singer. Growing up in a small Ohio town, he always had success when he sang. While attending a concert his freshman year of college in Miami, he found himself lifted out of his seat with excitement. The ensemble was conducted by composer Aaron Copland. It was Rob's introduction to the man and his music, and the first of many transcendent musical moments.

Robert graduated with a Bachelor of Music Education degree, but became a full-time performer for several years. He started substitute teaching when not performing, which led to a teaching job. Performing gave him a rush of feel-good hormones, but he found that teaching had the same affect. With opportunities to perform and teach full-time, he had to decide which he wanted to do more, and chose teaching. When he pursued his masters degree and doctorate he focused on conducting. He directed choirs at Berea College, Kentucky, and at Eastern Kentucky University before joining the UCM faculty in 1998, where he directs the Collegiate Choir and Vocal Jazz Ensemble. He is also an active guest conductor, adjudicator and clinician, traveling around the country to state, national, and international conferences to direct honor choirs, present clinics, and perform.

Dr. Lawrence seeks to provide high-energy positive feedback and a sense of fun and wonder to his students. The thrill of conducting is also therapeutic for Dr. Lawrence. The excitement of working with a choir on a piece can easily turn a bad day into a great one, leaving him with the music running through his head for hours afterward. He enjoys the opportunity to conduct major works every year. Some of his proudest performances have been conducting Mozart's Requiem, Haydn's Lord Nelson Mass, and Handel's Messiah, as well as collaborating with UCM's Department of Theatre and Dance conducting the pit orchestra.

Dr. Lawrence believes that all students have the potential to succeed in music, and his job is to find the best teaching method to fit the individual. He tells his students that daily practice, listening, and study is required to succeed, and that talent alone will only bring you minor success. Dr. Robert Lawrence is a gifted conductor who sings beautifully, but frankly, we wouldn't be talking about him if he didn't have something else: commitment.

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