David Robertson, narrator
A consummate musician, masterful programmer and dynamic presence, David Robertson has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after American conductors. A passionate and compelling communicator with an extensive knowledge of orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has forged close relationships with major orchestras around the world through his exhilarating music-making and stimulating ideas. In fall 2011, Mr. Robertson embarks on his seventh season as Music Director of the 132-year-old St. Louis Symphony, while continuing as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2005.
Following summer appearances with the New York Philharmonic, Santa Fe Opera, Aspen Music Festival nationally, and at the Lucerne Festival and BBC Proms abroad, David Robertson opens the 2011-2012 St. Louis Symphony season in September with an all-Stravinsky program. Season highlights with the St. Louis Symphony include world premieres of Steven Mackey’s Piano Concerto and Edgar Meyer’s Double Bass Concerto No. 3, both St. Louis Symphony co-commissions, and the orchestra’s eighth consecutive appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall. Guest engagements in the U.S. include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony, Seattle Symphony, Orchestra of St. Luke’s, Ensemble ACJW, and the New York Philharmonic, where Mr. Robertson is a regular guest conductor. In May 2012, Robertson returns to The Metropolitan Opera to conduct Britten’s Billy Buddwith Nathan Gunn and James Morris in the leading roles. Internationally, guest engagements include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, where David Robertson appears regularly, the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks as part of Music Viva, and several concerts with the BBC Symphony. In addition to his fresh interpretations of traditional repertoire, this season Mr. Robertson conducts world premieres of the works by Mackey and Meyer with the St. Louis Symphony; Graham Fitkin’s Cello Concerto with the BBC Symphony Orchestra and cellist Yo-Yo Ma; John Cage’s Eighty with the Symphonieorchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks; Providence, a newly commissioned work by Dutch composer Klaas de Vries, with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra; and new works by Yann Robin and Michael Jarrell with the New York Philharmonic.
Over the last two and a half decades, Mr. Robertson has held several postings abroad. Prior to his St. Louis Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestra appointments, Mr. Robertson was the first artist ever to hold simultaneously the posts of Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon and Artistic Director of that city’s Auditorium, positions he maintained from 2000–2004.From 1992-2000 he was Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris (whose Honorary President Pierre Boulez was one of Mr. Robertson’s early supporters), and between 1985-1987 he served as Resident Conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Additional international guest conducting relationships include the Edinburgh Festival, La Scala, Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Berlin Philharmonic and Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphonieorchester, among others. A popular guest conductor in North America as well, Mr. Robertson regularly appears with the New York Philharmonic, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Boston Symphony Orchestra and San Francisco Symphony. Equally successful on the operatic scene and with over 45 operas in his repertoire, Mr. Robertson has appeared at many of the world’s most prestigious opera houses including The Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Opéra de Lyon, Bayerische Staatsoper, Théâtre du Châtelet, Hamburg State Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and San Francisco Opera.
David Robertson has made numerous recordings for Sony Classical, Naive, EMI/Virgin Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Atlantic/Erato, Nuema, Adès, Valois and Naxos, in addition to his recent, first-ever recording of theDoctor Atomic Symphony for Nonesuch. His download-only “Live From Powell Hall” releases recorded with the St. Louis Symphony include works by Adams, Scriabin and Szymanowski. Other recordings feature works by such composers as Bartók, Boulez, Carter, Dusapin, Dvořák, Ginastera, Lalo, Milhaud, Reich, Saint-Saëns and Silvestrov.
A champion of young musicians, David Robertson has devoted time to working with students and young artists throughout his career. On February 5, he conducts the Orchestra of St. Luke’s and a choir of New York City students in The Carmina Burana Choral Project at Carnegie Hall’s Stern Auditorium. The program will include Orff’s cantata, as well as new works written by three high school aged composers based on musical themes of Carmina Burana. In March Mr. Robertson returns to Carnegie Hall to lead Ensemble ACJW, the performing arm of The Academy, a professional training program for young musicians developed by Carnegie Hall, The Juilliard School and The Weill Institute; the concert at Zankel Hall will feature works by Wagner, Ligeti, Adams and Haydn. In addition to creating and leading many outreach programs with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Orchestre National de Lyon, Robertson has worked with students at the Paris Conservatory, The Juilliard School, Tanglewood, the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland and the Aspen Music Festival.
Born in Santa Monica, California, Mr. Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied French horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. David Robertson received Columbia University’s 2006 Ditson Conductor’s Award, and he and the St. Louis Symphony are recipients of several major awards from ASCAP and the League of American Orchestras, including the 2008-09 Award for Programming of Contemporary Music, and the 2005-06 Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming. Musical America named Mr. Robertson Conductor of the Year for 2000. In 1997, he received the Seaver/National Endowment for the Arts Conductors Award, the premier prize of its kind, given to exceptionally gifted American conductors. He is the recipient of honorary doctorates from the University of Missouri-St. Louis (2011), Westminster Choir College (2010), Webster University (2009) and Maryville University (2007). In 2010 he was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, one of the most prestigious honorary societies in the United States. That same year he also received theExcellence in the Arts award from the St. Louis Arts and Education Council. David Robertson and his wife, pianist Orli Shaham, are parents of twin boys. Mr. Robertson also has two older sons.