Robin M. Fickle

Adjunct Professor, Visual and Performing Arts

(215) 572-2133

About Me

Robin Fickle has been teaching at Arcadia University since 1995.   Her diverse interests led her to pursue a unconventional path as both art historian and musician.  As art historian she taught courses at many universities and colleges in the greater Los Angeles area before coming to Arcadia. At the University of Southern California she lectured on medieval art and taught general art history survey courses at such campuses as California State University Long Beach, Long Beach City College, Ventura Community College, Oxnard College and Westmont College. For years she offered upper division courses in medieval art history and medieval humanities at California State University Northridge. Her most creative course, Art and Life in the Middle Ages that included a student recreation of a medieval banquet, was offered at Santa Barbara City College and at the University of California at Los Angeles through their extension program. This course was later revised to accommodate a twice offered Freshman Seminar at Arcadia with a banquet held at the Castle.  The elaborate costumes that she made for such medieval repasts were exhibited at the Laguna Art Museum as part of the 1989 Long Beach City College Art Department faculty show entitled, Artists That Teach. Presently her interests center on the topic of open heavens in medieval manuscripts and paintings, the interface of medieval music and art and traveling. Her passion for travel has led her to experience firsthand most of the art contained in her lectures.    

In the field of music Robin studied with the late concert pianist Philip Lorenz, on the faculty at California State University Fresno, before pursuing pedal harp studies with JoAnn Turovsky, Adjunct Professor of Harp at the University of Southern California Thornton School of Music and Chair of the American Harp Society National Competition.  She maintains an active performance schedule (e.g. at Arcadia she played harp for a private dinner in honor of Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor in October 2013) and has occasionally taught harp students for many years at her private studio.  Robin has written five harp music books that are sold internationally. Three are devoted to her arrangements of Renaissance lute pieces, many never before arranged for harp, and thus they are acclaimed in reviews, e.g. John Wickey, "Tales from the Crypt: Sifting Through the Dusty Piles for Harp Gold," Harp Column, vol. 22 issue 3, Nov.-Dec. 2013, p. 44. Her debut album, Mediterranean Journey, comprised of her arrangements of Sephardic, Andalusian, Greek and Balkan tunes also received critical acclaim in journals and on radio broadcasts, e.g. Debra Knodel, FHJ, issue no. 84, summer 1994, p. 15;  and such radio hosts as Don Jacobson of KVMR and Margie Mirkin of KSBR. 

Robin’s interest in medieval music led to her involvement as a founding member of Decameron, a Los Angeles based Early Music Ensemble where she once served as lead vocalist and harpist.  She studied medieval Gothic harp with historical harp specialist Cheryl Ann Fulton, former President of the Historical Harp Society and performer in Ensemble Alcatraz of the San Francisco Bay area.  She pursued vocal studies at the University of British Columbia with the internationally renowned Early Music ensemble Sequentia of Cologne, Germany under the directorship of the late Barbara Thornton. With Sequentia she performed the vocal music of 12th century abbess Hildegard von Bingen as part of an ensemble composed of professional singers and graduate students.  This concert entitled, Romanesque Canticles of Ecstatic Praise, took place on August 7, 1992 at St. Philip’s Anglican Church in Vancouver, BC. Robin’s publications on medieval music and performance practice appear in such articles as, “Medieval Wanderers and Their Tunes, Part I: The Troubadours,” FHJ, Issue No. 83, Spring 1994, p. 43-47; “Medieval Wanderers and Their Tunes: Part I; The Troubadours-Appendix,” FHJ, Issue No. 86, Winter 1994, p. 74f;  “Medieval Wanderers and Their Tunes: Part II: The Trouvères,” FHJ, Issue No. 84, Summer 1994, p. 31f; "Bailemos” (Cantigas de Amigo),” Issue No. 63, Winter 1988, p.30f; “The Hexachord System of Guido d'Arezzo,” FHJ,  Issue No. 63, Winter 1988, p 56f; "A chantar m'er de so qu'ieu non volria" (by Countess Beatritz of Dia), FHJ, Issue No. 86, Winter 1994, p. 7f; "Chanson de Gace Brule (1180-1213)," FHJ, Issue No. 84, Summer, 1994, p. 33f and “The San Francisco Early Music Society’s First Annual Medieval Workshop,” FHJ, issue no. 63, winter 1988, p.27-29.

Yardley, PA

Home Country

English, French

Education History

University of California at Santa Barbara 1979

MA, Major in Art History; Thesis: Codex Cotton Califula A VII in the British Museum: A Study of the Iconography and Style of the Eight Late 12th Century Illuminations

California State University, Fresno 1976

BA Summa Cum Laude, Major in Art (Art History Emphasis)

Minor in French