Robert Samels (b. June 2, 1981, d. April 20, 2006) was a doctoral student at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He was from Medina, Ohio. He was a multitalented musician and performer, doing singing, acting, writing, composing and conducting. Robert was also a radio personality at WFIU 103.7 FM. He received his degree with a triple major in voice, bassoon and composition from Bowling Green State University.
On April 20th, 2006 Robert died in a plane crash with 4 other fellow musicians as they returned from a rehearsal in Lafayette, Indiana.
George Walker's Thought's on Robert Samels
Robert Samels along with four other Indiana University School of Music students died Thursday night in a plane crash near the Monroe County Airport outside Bloomington. The group had been returning from a rehearsal in West Lafayette for a Saturday evening performance of Monteverdi's 1610 Vespers with the Bach Chorale Singers led by William Jon Gray. Robert was wonderfully talented musician as a performer, composer and conductor. He was a promising bass baritone with many outstanding performances to his credit. This summer he was looking forward to singing lead roles with the Wolf Trap Opera before returning to IU in the fall to continue his work toward a doctorate in the school of music. He was also a successful composer with more than thirty works including the recent premiere of his opera based on the life of Pontius Pilate, "Pilatus." In addition he'd won praise for his work as a conductor. Robert Samels came to WFIU in the fall of 2002 to volunteer as a student announcer. As in everything else that he did, Robert's intelligence, drive and personality quickly led to success. Even while pursuing a very busy graduate school career, he branched out at WFIU hosting and writing for our musical quiz program "Ether Game." Robert also created a program of his own "Cantabile" to focus on "all things vocal." While contributing so much in the music field, Robert also was a leader in training other announcers and in developments in working with WFIU's news production. Along with all this, Robert Samels was delightful to be around. Smart, well informed on many topic, always working on interesting things. A big cheerful fellow always on the go and doing multiple things, but also always ready to help, to talk or listen or laugh with a natural grace all his own. Robert did so much that's amazing in his short life. WFIU and its listeners are just one of many areas that will miss him deeply Part of the dark sadness of his death is that it leaves us to think about all his promise, all that he might have done.