What do “The Sopranos,” Gillette, Burger King, Hershey’s and ADT Security have in common?
The answer is Marty Robinson.
Robinson has served as composer and trumpeter for numerous recordings that have aired on national radio and television, including songs for the shows and advertising campaigns mentioned above as well as many others.
“Hearing my music on TV is exciting because you think about how many people are actually tuning in,” he said. “Radio usually has a higher volume level for the music, so I’m more enthralled when I hear things that I wrote on the radio.”
While his music has been heard across the world, Robinson calls the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh home. An associate professor, he has taught trumpet and jazz since 2004.
“I love it when my students have the ‘light bulb’ moment as performers,” he said. “When they start to see that with a lot of diligent practice and constant dedication, they really can ‘make it’ as confident performers.”
Robinson grew up around teaching and music. His mother was a pre-school and elementary school teacher, and he has fond memories of listening to his parents’ vinyl records as a child. In fourth grade, he started playing the trumpet.
“I chose trumpet originally because I was smart enough to realize that the trumpet had a primary role in lots of musical ensembles — bands, jazz bands, orchestras, pop bands and marching bands,” he said. “At that time, I thought it would be pretty neat if I could play in all of those different kinds of groups, so the trumpet was a perfect fit.”
Robinson continues to play and compose music in all of those genres. He has shared the stage with jazz legends Dizzy Gillespie and Woody Herman; played in jazz clubs in New York City, New Orleans and Europe; and played in front of four presidents at a presidential library dedication.
“I’m proud that I’ve been so successful on so many different musical fronts, and I sure hope that continues,” he said.
In his free time, Robinson plays principal trumpet with the Oshkosh Symphony Orchestra, performs as part of the Wisconsin Symphonic Winds and several brass quintets, and leads his own jazz quartet in regional and national performances.
In addition to teaching, Robinson directs the University’s jazz ensembles and gives private trumpet and jazz piano lessons. In his spare time, he loves playing sports, reading, travelling and doing handyman work.
“It’s fun for me to get away from music sometimes and be physically active in my work,” he said. “That’s always been a good way to balance my life away from the more cerebral and artistic world of music.”
Before coming to UW Oshkosh, Robinson was an associate professor of trumpet and jazz studies at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee for 10 years, where he was recognized as Teacher of the Year in 2001.