He was in New York to become a philosophy professor, when he kept hearing a certain sound.
"The cello to me is the instrument that is closest in tone and range to the human voice and I can't sing so I thought I'd have an instrument do it for me."
That sound was a calling. Not to play cellos, but to repair them. Mr Young found an apprenticeship in instrument repair. On his commute there, something kept catching his eye and ear.
"At the time there was a huge number of blind musicians playing in the streets and subways in New York and they needed help. A lot of them were playing three strings or very few hairs on their bow and instruments in bad condition," he says.
To fix their broken instruments he started a non-profit called The Open String.
Soon he was giving instruments to kids all over the world who couldn't afford them.
He's visited classrooms from Argentina to Lorrie Murray in San Francisco and he is also helps aspiring professionals reach their potential.
Rashad Jones' cello was badly damaged on a flight, he couldn't afford to fix it and without his cello he felt detached from himself.
Robert got him a new one.
"I see a lot of joy you know just simple human connection," says Mr Young.
Not just repairing an instrument someone plays but a little bit of the person who plays it.