Rob Waring is an expatriate American percussionist, composer, and improviser; his main instruments are vibraphone and marimba. Waring hails from Yonkers, New York. He began composing while in high school. Upon graduation he matriculated to the Juilliard School, where between 1974 and 1979 he earned his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in music. He studied with Saul Goodman and Elden "Buster" Bailey. He took Stanley Wolfe composition course as an elective. He also participated in seminars with John Cage, Iannis Xenakis, Magnus Lindberg, Tristan Murail, and others. Between 1974 and 1981 he lived in Manhattan and worked as a freelance musician 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 troupes.
Waring emigrated to Norway in 1981. Almost immediately he began working as a percussionist, vibraphonist, composer, and teacher. He performed and recorded with numerous ensembles and musicians from various musical genres including classical, contemporary, modern, and mainstream jazz, folk, and electronic music. The list of collaborations is long and includes Beady Belle, Jon Larsen, Eyolf Dale, and Torbjorn Sunde.
Waring is an Associate Professor at the Norwegian Academy of Music, where he teaches percussion and improvisation. 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. He has composed for soloists, chamber and jazz ensembles, choirs, percussion ensembles, 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 various ensembles, instrumentalists, festivals, and institutions.
In 1992, he issued the first of two trio recordings in Secret Red Thread with his working group. That he went to Bali and studied with indigenous percussion teachers for four months. Though long fascinated by Balinese music, the last influence of that trip was reflected in many of his compositions. In 2001, he issued his second trio date, Synchronize Your Watches, on Resonant. In 2008, he, Erik Wøllo, and Jan Wiese issued Wiese Wøllo Waring. In 2014, he was part of Mats Eilertsen's work Rubicon, which was commissioned by and premiered at the Vossberg Jazz Festival. He also appeared on the studio album from ECM in 2016. Waring made the acquaintance of saxophonist and composer John Surman in Norway that year, and appeared with Brazilian pianist Nelson Ayres on Surman's 2018 offering Invisible Threads. ~ Thom Jurek