David Robertson – conductor, artist, thinker, and American musical visionary – occupies some of the most prominent platforms on the international music scene. A highly sought-after podium figure in the worlds of opera, orchestral music, and new music, Robertson is celebrated worldwide as a champion of contemporary composers, an ingenious and adventurous programmer, and a masterful communicator whose passionate advocacy for the art form is widely recognized. A consummate and deeply collaborative musician, Robertson is hailed for his intensely committed music making.
Robertson has served in numerous artistic leadership positions,
such as Chief Conductor and Artistic Director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra
(2014-19), and a transformative 13-year tenure as Music Director of the
St. Louis Symphony Orchestra (2005-18). With St. Louis, he solidified its
status as among the nation’s most innovative ensembles, establishing fruitful
relationships with a spectrum of artists, and garnering a 2014 Grammy
Award for the Nonesuch release of John Adams’ City Noir, in addition
to numerous other recordings, such as Wynton Marsalis’s Swing Symphony,
with the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, on Blue Engine Records, and
Mozart Piano Concertos, No. 17 in G Major K.453 and No.
24 in C Minor K.491, with Orli Shaham (sister of Gil), on Canary Classics.
Earlier artistic leadership positions include at the Orchestre National
de Lyon (2000-04); Music Director of the Ensemble InterContemporain (1992-2000);
and Principal Guest Conductor at the BBC Symphony Orchestra (2005-12).
David Robertson holds a rich and eduring collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, and in the Americas conducts many noted ensembles, including the Chicago, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, National, Houston, Dallas, Montréal and Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestras. Robertson has served as a Perspectives Artist at Carnegie Hall, where he has also conducted, among others, The Met Orchestra, the Lucerne Festival Orchestra, and the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. He appears regularly with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, Bayerischen Rundfunk, Netherlands Radio Philharmonic Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, and other major European and international orchestras and festivals, ranging from the BBC Proms, to Musica Viva in Munich, to the New Japan Philharmonic and Beijing’s NCPA Orchestra.
With the Metropolitan Opera, Robertson continues to build upon his
deep conducting relationship, which includes James Robinson’s 2019-20
season opening premier production of Porgy and Bess, and the premier
of Phelim McDermott’s celebrated 2018 production of Così fan tutte,
set in Coney Island. Since his 1996 Met Opera debut, The Makropulos
Case, he has conducted the Met premier of John Adams’ The Death
of Klinghoffer (2014); the 2016 revival of Janáček’s Jenůfa,
then its first Met performances in nearly a decade; the premiere production
of Nico Muhly’s Two Boys (2013); Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro;
and Britten’s Billy Budd. Robertson conducts at the world’s
most prestigious opera houses, including La Scala, Teatro dell’Opera di
Roma, Théâtre du Châtelet, and the San Francisco and
Santa Fe Operas.
Since 2018, David Robertson has served as Director of Conducting Studies, Distinguished Visiting Faculty, of The Juilliard School. In Fall 2019, he joined the newly formed Tianjin Juilliard Advisory Council, an international body created to guide the emerging Chinese campus of the Juilliard School. He conducts the Juilliard Orchestra annually at Carnegie Hall.
Robertson is the recipient of numerous awards, and in 2010 was made
a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Government of France.
He is devoted to supporting young musicians and has worked with students
at the festivals of Aspen, Tanglewood, Lucerne, at the Paris Conservatoire,
Music Academy of the West, and the National Orchestra Institute.
In 2014, he led the Coast to Coast tour of Carnegie Hall’s National Youth
Orchestra of the USA.
He has recorded for the Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, Naive,
EMI/Virgin Classics, Atlantic/Erato, Nuema, Ades Valois, Naxos and Nonesuch
labels, featuring the music of such composers as Adams, Bartók, Boulez, Carter, Dusapin, Dvorák,
Ginastera, Lalo, Manoury, Milhaud, Reich, Saint-Saëns,
Born July 19, 1958 in Santa Monica, California, David Robertson was educated at London’s Royal Academy of Music, where he studied horn and composition before turning to orchestral conducting. He is married to pianist Orli Shaham, and lives in New York.
== Text (only) slightly edited from the Opus 3 Artists website
== Names which are links throughout this webpage refer to my interviews elsewhere on my website. BD
[As we were saying our good-byes, I mentioned having interviewed Aimard, and Robertson said, “Such a brilliant man. We’ve done a number of things together, and it absolutely astounds me. He is so inspiring.”]
© 1999 Bruce Duffie
This conversation was recorded in Chicago on January 28, 1999. Portions were broadcast on WNIB the following year; and on WNUR in 2003 and 2014. This transcription was made in 2020, and posted on this website at that time.
To see a full list (with links) of interviews which have been transcribed and posted on this website, click here.
Award - winning broadcaster Bruce Duffie was with WNIB, Classical 97 in Chicago from 1975 until its final moment as a classical station in February of 2001. His interviews have also appeared in various magazines and journals since 1980, and he now continues his broadcast series on WNUR-FM, as well as on Contemporary Classical Internet Radio.You are invited to visit his website for more information about his work, including selected transcripts of other interviews, plus a full list of his guests. He would also like to call your attention to the photos and information about his grandfather, who was a pioneer in the automotive field more than a century ago. You may also send him E-Mail with comments, questions and suggestions.