Robert Aitken's flute playing is noted for the clarity of his tone and a subtle sense of phrasing, and concert tours has led him all over the word. In addition to many other distinctions, Aitken was a prize-winner at the 1971 Concours International de Flûte de Paris. As a composer, he has received numerous important commissions. Aitken's earlier works, such as Spectra for four chamber groups (1969) were structured around transformations of the twelve-tone series and exhibit an interest in spatial modulation of sound. After a five-month Asian journey in 1970, Aitken was greatly influenced by his experiences there, and this is reflected in his Shadow pieces. The composition Spiral (1975) features amplification of one instrument each from several blended woodwind pairs, creating fascinating timbres. Robert Aitken's later pieces are influenced by minimalism. Aitken founded the summer chamber music festival Music at Shawnigan in 1981, which continues of under the aegis of the Johannesen International School of the Arts. Although Aitken had retired from most of his teaching posts by 2001, he remains active in other ways, and from 2003 he has appeared regularly with the New York Flute Club, leading them in the New World disc Henry Brant: Music for Massed Flutes in 2006.