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Scottish Conductor Stewart Robertson has Died, Aged 75

Robertson was principal conductor of the Atlantic Classical Orchestra and music director emeritus of Glimmerglass Opera


Born in 1948 in Glasgow, Scotland, Stewart Robertson was a graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, studying piano and conducting with Denis Matthews, Hans Swarowsky, and Otmar Suitner at the Mozarteum.

He served as the artistic director and principal conductor of Florida’s Atlantic Classical Orchestra and was named music director emeritus of the Glimmerglass Opera in recognition of the company’s growth under his leadership for more than 20 years. 

Following early experiences at the Cologne and Zurich opera houses, he was appointed music director of the touring company of the Scottish Opera. He also served as artistic director of Opera Omaha and music director of Florida Grand Opera in Miami.

His other roles included music director of the San Bernardino and the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestras, where he was a frequent broadcaster on National Public Radio

Alongside his involvement with the music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Britten, Robertson’s interest in new music led him to conduct over 100 orchestral and operatic world premieres.  

His concert engagements included the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Hong Kong Philharmonic, Louisville Orchestra, Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, Mecklenburg Staatskapelle, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Sicily Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Sinfonica Nacional of Mexico, North German Philharmonic, and the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. 

Robertson’s operatic appearances included the New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Norwegian National Opera, and the companies of Montreal, Detroit, Philadelphia, among others. 

As a recording artist, he performed with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Utah Symphony, Ukraine State Philharmonic, and Glimmerglass Opera, on the Chandos, Naxos, New World, and Verdi/ EMI labels. 

In 2007, his recording of Sir Richard Rodney Bennett’s opera The Mines of Sulphur was nominated for a GRAMMY Award for Best Opera Recording. 

“Des Moines Metro Opera mourns the passing of esteemed Scottish conductor Stewart Robertson,” the company posted on Facebook. “As a member of our Music and Directing staff from 1980–1988, Stewart was [our] first guest conductor … he championed new music and frequently programmed seldom-heard rarities. We send our condolences to his family and all who mourn his passing.”

Our condolences to Mr. Robertson’s family, friends, and colleagues.

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