Pianist and vocal coach Casey Robards is known for her versatility and sensitive musicality. Casey has given recitals with singers and instrumentalists throughout the United States, Europe, Central and South America and Asia. She regularly performs a variety of genres including art song, vocal and instrumental chamber music, opera, musical theatre, the Negro spiritual, gospel, newly composed works and solo piano. Recent collaborative work in recital and recording includes performances with Ollie Watts Davis, LaToya Lain, Christiaan Smith; Donna Shin, flute; Fangye Sun, violin; Daniel Tressel, cello; and the Patterson Piano Duo.
In November 2017, Casey made her Carnegie Hall debut in recital with baritone Christiaan Smith performing Smith’s arrangements of Top 40 popular songs delivered as art song. Robards tours with soprano LaToya Lain in a program of spirituals entitled “Narrative of a Slave Woman.” Casey released a CD of art song by female composers, “Come Down Angels” with tenor, Henry Pleas. Upcoming recording releases include an album featuring African American women composers with soprano Angelique Clay, a collection of violin works of by Bright Sheng and other Chinese composers with Fangye Sun; and a recording with oboist Sara Fraker highlighting works by Pavel Haas, a composer whose life was ended prematurely during the Holocaust. She recently created a “Shakespeare Cabaret”, an interdisciplinary project between music, theatre and English faculty involving music by Glen Roven, premiered with soprano, Risa Renae Harman with stage direction by Nick Gisonde.
Currently Dr. Robards is Lecturer at the University of Illinois. She is also Head of Collaborative Piano at the Bay View Music Festival where along with giving regular faculty performances, she serves as conductor and coach of the two week SOARS program (Summer Opera, Art Song and Recording Seminar) and head coach/pianist for the American Spiritual Institute directed by Dr. Everett McCorvey. Prior appointments include positions with Indianapolis Opera (Resident Pianist/Coach), Indiana University (Visiting Asst. Prof. in Collaborative Piano/Voice; opera coach), Oberlin Conservatory (Postdoctoral Collaborative Pianist) and Central Michigan University (Lecturer).
Casey has degrees in Piano Performance, Piano Pedagogy and Vocal Coaching and Accompanying from the University of Illinois. She received the Henri Kohn Memorial Award at Tanglewood and attended the 2015 Songfest Professional Development Program for College Teachers. She is interested in the intersection of music and social justice and has led benefit recitals for Musicambia, a non-profit organization that creates music conservatories in prisons.