The New York Times (On David Robertson with the New York Philharmonic)
“The program ended with a strikingly fresh account of Sibelius’s popular Second Symphony. Mr. Robertson drew out the music’s misty colorings and hints of Finnish folk song, while emphasizing the visionary elements of this 1902 score, especially its structural daring, full of startling disruptions to the music’s flow.”
St. Louis Post-Dispatch (On Robertson’s 13 years as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra)
A BRILLIANT POLYMATH
“Robertson is a brilliant polymath who can casually toss a connecting reference to a painting or a work of literature into a musical discussion. He’s got a great ear for talent, a gift for gab, a well-tuned sense of humor and a friendly way with audiences… Under Robertson’s leadership, the St. Louisans have been in the forefront of American orchestras.”
The Australian (On the World Premiere of Brett Dean’s Cello Concerto, and Brahms Symphony No. 4, with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra)
FLAIR and PRECISION
“Conductor David Robertson and the orchestra realized Dean’s evocative accompaniments with flair and precision, smoothly shifting between foreground and background… He and the orchestra tore straight into the finale from the scherzo, and the impassioned urgency was almost overwhelming.”
The Wall Street Journal (On Così fan tutte, at The Metropolitan Opera)
“David Robertson’s conducting was buoyant (as in the clipped phrases of the chorus “Bella vita militar!”) and hauntingly transparent when necessary…”
The New Yorker (On Messiaen’s From the Canyons to the Stars…)
FOCUS and FIRE
“David Robertson, the St. Louis’s music director, shaped ‘Canyons’ with a sure hand. He quelled any suspicion that the work is indulgent or rambling; at the same time, he respected Messiaen’s meditativeness, his silences. The orchestra responded with playing of focus and fire.”
The New York Times
TRANSPARENT and RIVETING
“That David Robertson conducted the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Saturday night in the most transparent and riveting account of Sibelius’s elusive Fifth Symphony in memory would have been momentous enough…. As they applauded the boss after the Gruber piece, the musicians seemed impressed with Mr. Robertson’s daring and versatility. How many conductors could gleefully sing the crazed words ‘Frankenstein is dancing with the test-tube lady’ and then 24 hours later lead a serenely confident account of Wagner’s most spiritual music?”
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, and a transformative 13-year tenure as Music Director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra. 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 releases, 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, on Canary Classics. Earlier artistic leadership positions include at the Orchestre National de Lyon; as a protégé of Pierre Boulez, the Ensemble InterContemporain; and as Principal Guest Conductor at the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
David Robertson holds a rich and enduring collaboration with the New York Philharmonic, and in the Americas conducts many noted ensembles, including the 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 a breathtaking range of projects, including 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); and many favorites, from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro to 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.
Born 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.