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David Robertson

About this Artist

American conductor DAVID ROBERTSON has established himself as one of today’s most sought-after conductors, recognized for a consummate musicianship, dynamic presence, and imaginative programming that has charmed musicians and audiences worldwide. Combining passion and intellect with an extensive knowledge of orchestral and operatic repertoire, he has been hailed as much for his technical and interpretive mastery as for his versatility. Fall 2007 found Robertson embarking on his third season as Music Director of the 128-year-old Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, while continuing as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a post to which he was appointed in 2005. He is also the Festival Director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s Concrete Frequency this month.

In addition to his commitments with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, Robertson will guest conduct nationally and internationally throughout the 2007/08 season. In February 2008, he will bring the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra to Carnegie Hall for two concerts, the first presenting Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony and the second, the New York premiere of John Adams’ Doctor Atomic Symphony – a Carnegie Hall, Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, and BBC co-commission – as well as works by Brahms and Berg. In June, he will be the music director of the 2008 Ojai Music Festival. Additional U.S. engagements include performances with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the New York Philharmonic, and the Metropolitan Opera. Internationally, Robertson will lead the BBC Symphony Orchestra in two audio-visual concerts that will be broadcast on BBC4 Classical Music TV. The programs are entitled Seeing Debussy, Hearing Monet, which links the musical and visual works of two “Impressionist” masters, and Bartók/Van Gogh: Organic Symmetries, in which Van Gogh’s paintings and sketches are juxtaposed with Bartók’s music, illuminating intriguing parallels in the works of these two artists who found inspiration in folklore and the natural world. Additional engagements include appearances with the Tonhalle Orchestra (Zürich), the Swedish Radio Orchestra, and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra.

A recognized expert in 20th- and 21st-century music, with extensive international conducting credits, Robertson has held several posts abroad. Prior to his Saint Louis Symphony and BBC Symphony Orchestra appointments, he was the first artist ever simultaneously to hold the posts of Music Director of the Orchestre National de Lyon and Artistic Director of that city’s Auditorium, posts he held from 2000 to 2004. From 1992 to 2000, he was Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris, and from 1985 to 1987 he was resident conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Additional international conducting credits include the London Symphony Orchestra, the Hallé Orchestra, the Orchestre de Paris, the NHK Symphony, the Hamburg NDR Symphony Orchestra, the Bayerisches Staatsorchester in Munich, the Staatskapelle Berlin, the Santa Cecilia Orchestra of Rome, and the Rotterdam Philharmonic, among others. A popular guest conductor in North America as well, Robertson regularly guest conducts the New York Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, the Minnesota Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony. Equally successful on the operatic scene with over 45 operas in his repertoire, Robertson has credits that include the Metropolitan Opera, La Scala, Opéra de Lyon, Bayerische Staatsoper, Théâtre du Châtelet, Hamburg State Opera, and San Francisco Opera.

David Robertson has made numerous recordings for the Sony Classical, Naïve, EMI/Virgin Classics, Deutsche Grammophon, Atlantic/Erato, Nuema, Adès, Valois, and Naxos labels. His recordings include works by such composers as Adams, Bartók, Boulez, Carter, Dusapin, Ginastera, Lalo, Milhaud, Reich, Saint-Saëns, and Silvestrov.

Hailed as “a natural teacher” by The New York Times, Robertson has devoted time throughout his career to work with students and young artists. He is credited with creating and leading many outreach programs with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Orchestre National de Lyon, and has worked with students at the Paris Conservatory, the Juilliard School, Tanglewood, the National Orchestral Institute in Maryland, the Aspen Music Festival, and as part of Carnegie Hall’s Perspectives series.

Born in Santa Monica, California, Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied French horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. He is the recipient of Columbia University’s 2006 Ditson Conductor’s Award, and he and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra received the ASCAP Morton Gould Award for Innovative Programming for the 2005/06 season from the American Symphony Orchestra League. Musical America named him 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. In May 2007, he was granted an honorary doctorate from Maryville University. David Robertson and his wife, pianist Orli Shaham, have recently become parents of twin boys. Robertson also has two teenage sons.