Robert Short is one of the most diversely-gifted men I know. The strings to his bow are many. Originally from Washington DC, Robert is now based in Bristol, England, with his wife Jen and their little boy Solomon.
Mr. Short, after that little introduction, we’d like to know more please.
Well I was born in the United States of American and I began my music education very young singing along with my fathers’ Jazz group and regularly singing at my local Methodist Church. I have been singing since I can remember and I have been teaching music/voice for over fifteen years of both children and adults (ages 8-88 to be exact). I formally began my music career at the age of eight in the Prince Georges County Honours Choir; singing in Washington DC at the Kennedy Centre for Performing Arts and eventually went on to study voice at the University of Oklahoma with such renowned professors of music such as Thomas Carey, Samuel Bond, and Marsha Henderson. In the summer of 1999 I also won a coveted space in the Opera Academy of Rome and later appeared in Master Classes presented by such great artists as Mignon Dunn.
Throughout my career I have won numerous awards including: the Carol Brice Young Artist Award, Oklahoma Opera Guild Young Artist Award, University of Oklahoma Vocal Music Scholarship Award, as well as various other Choral and Solo distinctions and scholarships.
My educational experiences have been quite chaotic and multifaceted. Chaotic because I’ve always felt like I’ve had to hack my way through the educational system, multifaceted because I only studied what interested me; no matter how far away from my other studies it took me. I received a Bachelors of Arts Degree (Vocal Music Opera Performance) at the University of Oklahoma, Norman Oklahoma. Then I went on to receive a certification in Education from Catholic University of America, Washington DC. One of my most life changing experiences was participating in an intensive year study of music, culture and language at University Blaise Pascal in Clermont Ferrand, France. Just recently I completed a graduate course of study in Theology from the University of Wales and I hope to start work on my PhD in either Music or Education in the not too distant future.
My career has taken me throughout the world teaching and performing in many dramatic plays, operas, jazz bands and various productions including: Die Fledermaus, Die Zaubefloete, Eliser d’Amore, Pirates of Penzance, Hand of Bridge, The Crucible, JACK (world premier), Susannah, Porgy & Bess, Amahl and the Night Visitors, Our Town, Dream Girls, The Piano Lesson, Hansel and Gretel and too many other to mention here! I am excited to continue my work and life here in Britain as a teacher, artist, performer, and friend.
Thinking of all that you have done and achieved up until now, what do you consider the most significant challenge you have overcome?
My most significant challenge that I continue to conquer and overcome is my fear! Fear is a dream killer and a prison that keep each of us from seeing the miraculous and wonderful possibilities we all can experience. There is a really wonderful talk on TED that sums up how I feel about fear. You should check it out!
Of all the things you’ve been spent your time doing, is there one particular area that you feel most alive/enjoy the most?
Making music is not a monologue it is a dialogue!
I feel most alive when I am in the moment, not just any moment but the place where creativity connects me to others, were my art illicits a response from the hearer. In that moment I become fully alive, risking rejection and failure just to connect in a meaningful way. We all have stories to tell and music helps us live in, as well as reflect on, our story both individually and collectively.
You are a visionary. This being so, what are the most important things you have learnt along the way to seeing a vision/dream be realized?
Work with what you’ve got and arrive at deaths door empty and used up!
In order to see a vision or dream realized one must be willing to risk it all utilizing everything you’ve got not saving anything for a return journey or the ever illusive plan B.
What and who inspires you?
I am inspired by love relationships that bring mutual healing and growth. I believe that nothing good happens outside of relationship and as far as I am concerned love fuels the fire of relationship helping us to be kind, accepting and whole. Love and relationship set my soul on fire!
From all the ups and downs you’ve experienced what would you say to others who carry hopes and dreams?
Live your life without fear, regret and resentment.
Before you go, please will you share with us something that means a lot to you?
A story and a poem. First, a story…
No man is an island
There once was a group of 500 people attending a seminar. Suddenly the speaker stopped and decided to do a group activity. He started giving each person a balloon. Each person was then asked to write their name on it using a marker pen. Then all the balloons were collected and put in another room.
The people were then let into that room and asked to find the balloon which had their name written on within 5 minutes. Everyone was frantically searching for their name, colliding with each other, pushing around others and there was utter chaos.
At the end of 5 minutes no one could find their own balloon.
Then, the speaker asked each person to randomly collect a balloon and give it to the person whose name was written on it. Within minutes everyone had their own balloon.
The speaker then began, “This is happening in our lives. Everyone is frantically looking for happiness all around, not knowing where it is.
Our happiness lies in the happiness of other people. Give them their happiness; you will get your own happiness. And this is the purpose of human life…the pursuit of happiness.”
And now the poem…
Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Robert-Short/72869034723
Artist I admire? Nat King Cole https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Iq0XJCJ1Srw
I love this quote: For now I see as through a mirror, in darkness, but one day I shall see face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know even as I also am known…
And finally, before I go…
Peace through acceptance:
I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
And you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you, and I am I,
And if by chance we find each other, it’s beautiful.
If not, it can’t be helped.