The Sydney Symphony Orchestra has announced today the appointment of American conductor David Robertson as our next Chief Conductor and Artistic Director, beginning in the 2014 season. His contract is for five years, during which time he will lead the orchestra in many exciting projects, including:
• CD recordings and digital initiatives
• an annual opera-in-concert
• commissioning partnerships for major new works
• annual international touring, with a focus on China
David Robertson is quoted as saying he loves the orchestra’s ‘sense of adventure’. He has conducted the Sydney Symphony regularly since his Australian debut in 2003, and says ‘the musicians’ readiness to take on any artistic challenge is something I find personally inspiring’.
David Robertson succeeds Principal Conductor and Artistic Advisor Vladimir Ashkenazy, who will continue his relationship with the Sydney Symphony, conducting the orchestra each year from 2014.
Robertson was born and raised in Malibu, California. He studied French horn and violin as a child. He first conducted at the age of 12 years, and later studied horn, composition, and conducting at the Royal Academy of Music in London.
In 1985, Robertson was appointment resident conductor of the Jerusalem Symphony Orchestra. Five years later in 1990, he was appointed the Music Director of the Ensemble Intercontemporain in Paris. In 2000 he took up the appointment of music director of the Orchestre National de Lyons and also musical director of the Lyon’s Auditorium - becoming the first conductor to serve in both positions, and the 1st American conductor to be appointment to either position.
He developed a relationship with a St Louise Symphony Orchestra commencing in 1999, and was subsequently appointed its music director in December of 2003 effect from May 2005 through 2006 season, and in February 2005, Robertson was named the principal guest conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. He is one of only 2 Americans to have conducted the Last Night of the Proms.
He has been a guest conductor with the New York Philharmonic, Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and the San Francisco Symphony.
Robertson is also much admired and sought after as a conductor of Opera. He has conducted at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro, Italy, and also conducted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
He has recorded for Sony Classical, Harmonia Mundi, Naive, EMI/Virgin Classics, Naxos and Nonesuch, featuring the music of composers including Adams, Bartok, Boulez, Dvorak, Ginastera, Lalo, Milhaud, Reich, and Saint-Saens.
Musical America named him conductor of the year in December 1999. In 2006 he received the Ditson Conductors Award from Columbia University for his championing of American music. In April 2010 Robertson was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and received the degree Doctor of Music honoris causa from Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey. in October 2011, Robertson was named a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of France.
The Opera Insider congratulates both the Sydney Symphony Orchestra and David Robertson on the appointment.