Meet The Performers


David Robertson

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 2010, Mr. Robertson embarks on his sixth season as Music Director of the 131-year-old Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra, while continuing as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, a post he has held since 2005.

Following summer appearances with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, Staatskapelle Dresden, Israel Philharmonic, Sydney Symphony and the BBC Symphony at the BBC Proms, David Robertson returns to St. Louis to launch the 2010-2011 season, leading his orchestra and violinist Joshua Bell in the Opening Weekend Russian Festival. Additional season highlights with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra include a gala concert with soprano Renée Fleming, and the orchestra’s seventh consecutive appearance at New York’s Carnegie Hall in the spring. Guest engagements in the U.S. include performances with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, San Francisco Symphony and New York Philharmonic, where Mr. Robertson is a regular guest conductor, the New World Symphony, San Diego Symphony, and 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. In addition, in summer 2011 he makes his Santa Fe Opera debut conducting performances of Berg’s Wozzeck. Internationally, guest engagements include the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, where David Robertson appears regularly, the Deutsches Symphonie-Orchester Berlin as part of Musikfest Berlin, and several concerts with the BBC Symphony. In addition to his fresh interpretations of traditional repertoire, Mr. Robertson conducts several world premieres this season, including Stephen McNeff’s ConcertO-Duo with the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Avner Dorman’s Uriah with the San Francisco Symphony, a newly commissioned work by Dutch composer Joey Roukens with the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra, and a new work by Christopher Rouse with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra.

Over the last two and a half decades, Mr. Robertson has held several postings abroad. Prior to his Saint 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 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 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 Doctor Atomic Symphony for Nonesuch. His download-only “Live From Powell Hall” releases recorded with the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra include works by Adams, Scriabin and Szymanowski.  Other recordings feature works by such composers as Bartók, Boulez, Carter, Dusapin, Dvorák, 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. In March 2011 he conducts Ensemble ACJW at Zankel Hall in a program that combines Mozart’s unfinished opera Zaide (Das Serail) with the New York premiere of Luciano Berio’s reconstruction of the same piece and features soloists from the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program. In addition to creating and leading many outreach programs with the Ensemble Intercontemporain and the Orchestre National de Lyon, he 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 Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra 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 Westminster Choir College (2010), Webster University (2009) and Maryville University (2007), as well as the 2010 Excellence in the Arts award from the St. Louis Arts and Education Council. 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. David Robertson and his wife, pianist Orli Shaham, are parents of twin boys.  Mr. Robertson also has two older sons.

(July 2010)

Management:  David V. Foster, President & CEO, and Jason Bagdade, Vice President, Opus 3 Artists  

Public Relations:  M.L. FALCONE, Public Relations

Please note: Biographies on the CSO website are based on the information that was most recently provided to the CSO by the artists or their representatives. More current information may be available on the artists' own websites or those of their representatives.