Rob Waring was born (1956) in Yonkers, New York and lived in Manhattan from 1974 until he moved to Oslo in 1981. He studied percussion at the Juilliard School (1974-79) where he received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees. As a freelance musician in New York, he worked in symphony orchestras, jazz groups, ensembles for new music, and an experimental ensemble for homemade instruments. He was also a much sought after accompanist for modern dance.
Since moving to Norway in 1981, Rob Waring has been active as a percussionist, vibraphonist, composer, and teacher. He has performed and recorded with numerous ensembles and musicians representing a great diversity of musical styles (such as classical, contemporary, modern and mainstream jazz, folk, electronic). Rob Waring is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music where he teaches percussion and improvisation.
Rob Waring began composing while he was in high school and this interest grew during the years he studied at Juilliard, where he took composition as an elective course with Stanley Wolfe. He has participated in seminars with John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Magnus Lindberg, Tristan Murail, Gerard Grisey, Cort Lippe, Lasse Thoresen and others. In 1992 he received a grant from the Norwegian government to study digital synthesis and computer- assisted composition in York, England with Trevor Wishart, Richard Orton, and Michael Clarke.
Rob Waring has composed for soloists, chamber and jazz ensembles, choir, percussion ensemble, various combinations of acoustic and electronic instruments and tape, as well as purely electronic works. He has written music for modern dance, film, theater, and radio and had commissions from numerous ensembles, instrumentalists, festivals and other institutions.
The diversity of Rob Waring’s production is demonstrated by the following examples: In Myriad (1992), a microtonally tuned synthesizer is utilized to extend the spectral possibilities of a large wind ensemble. Vectors (1987), written for the jazz ensemble Sřyr is an example of the use of improvisation within strict formal boundaries to achieve complex textures. In Journey (1993), two percussionists trigger synthesizers, sampled sounds, and sequences from MIDI controllers. Kvar skal eg vel av? (1987) for a capella choir is a set of variations on a Norwegian folk melody. The sound installation Sonomatrix, which Waring built in 1996, is a computer-controlled matrix of 64 loudspeakers with which he has explored relationships between sound and space. The Sonomatrix is used as an equal member of a trio with saxophone and vibraphone in Saxono-vibramatriphonics (2001).
The following works are examples of the importance Balinese music has had as a source of inspiration for Rob Waring: Sikoté Sukán (1997) for percussion trio, Sax Cycles (2003) for 2 saxophones and electronics, Jalan Pantai Sari (2005) duet for quartertone marimba, Braided Streams (2006) for viola, contrabass, and marimba, Quartet for Solo Timpani and Percussion (2008), and Frekoté Vokán (2009) for 2 guitars. In 2002 Rob Waring spent 4 months in Bali studying with Balinese teachers.