NEW YORK –– Juilliard today announced conductor David Robertson as director of conducting studies, distinguished visiting faculty at Juilliard. As part of his new role, Mr. Robertson will be the principal teacher for all conducting degree students at the school. He will work with three or four students per academic year and will personally audition prospective students. Mr. Robertson will teach private lessons, a regular studio class, and work with the students as they conduct the Juilliard Lab Orchestra. In addition, he will select students to accompany him and assist at major orchestral engagements on his schedule. Mr. Robertson will conduct one major concert annually with the Juilliard Orchestra. He is already scheduled to lead the Juilliard Orchestra at Carnegie Hall this spring on April 2, 2018, in a program of Ives, Bartók, and Dvořák.
In announcing the appointment, Joseph W. Polisi, president of Juilliard, said, “I am very pleased that David Robertson has accepted the position of director of conducting studies, distinguished visiting faculty at Juilliard. I have known David for many years and long admired his commitment to educating young musicians, demonstrated by his work at the Paris Conservatoire; the Aspen, Tanglewood, and Lucerne festivals; and with the National Youth Orchestra, among many others. In addition, as one of the most distinguished conductors of our time, David’s professional expertise and experience will allow our conducting students and our orchestral players to benefit enormously from his artistry. Of course, David will build on the exceptional work of Alan Gilbert, who transformed Juilliard’s program during his tenure and has helped shape the next generation of eminent conductors.”
Ara Guzelimian, provost and dean of Juilliard, remarked, “I am absolutely delighted at the prospect of David Robertson’s leadership of the Juilliard conducting program. He is one of the most thoughtful, probing, and adventurous musicians in the world. Our students will benefit enormously from his immensely engaging musical curiosity and insight. I also want to thank and salute Alan Gilbert for the remarkable work he did with several classes of young conductors at Juilliard, most of whom are actively engaged in thriving careers around the world.”
“Music, perhaps especially classical music, must always be about the future,” commented David Robertson. “Because the act of interpretation is simply essential not just to the perpetuation of the art form, but to its renewal and reinvigoration, I am especially honored and excited to take on this role at the singular Juilliard School. My hope is that, collaboratively, we can evolve the idea of teaching conducting, including creating new opportunities for those who aspire to the podium to step onto some of the world’s greatest with me, to learn by being at the live center of our beloved music of centuries past, and vanguard performances of the classical music of tomorrow.”
Mr. Robertson is currently music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and chief conductor and artistic director of the Sydney Symphony Orchestra as well as a frequent guest conductor of many of the world’s leading opera companies and orchestras. He has previously served in artistic leadership positions with many musical institutions, including the Orchestre National de Lyon, and the Ensemble InterContemporain in Paris, and as Principal Guest Conductor of the BBC Symphony Orchestra. Mr. Robertson is a notable champion of contemporary music having collaborated closely with a wide range of composers, including Pierre Boulez, Luciano Berio, John Adams, and Juilliard alumnus Steve Reich. Mr. Robertson has lead many productions at The Metropolitan Opera, and he returns to the Met next month to lead a new production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, directed by Phelim McDermott.
Mr. Robertson, who succeeds Alan Gilbert in heading the Juilliard conducting program, will begin his appointment in the fall of 2018. Mr. Gilbert has been on the Juilliard faculty since September 2011, during the time he was music director of the New York Philharmonic. With his recent appointment as chief conductor of the NDR Elbphilharmonie in Hamburg, Mr. Gilbert is now based in Europe and will return to Juilliard as his schedule allows. His next appearance with the Juilliard Orchestra will be on April 16, 2018 in David Geffen Hall in a program of Barber, Christopher Rouse, and Brahms.
Juilliard has been the center of training for many accomplished orchestral conductors. Among them are Marin Alsop, Myun-whun Chung, James Conlon, Dennis Russell Davies, Andreas Delfs, JoAnn Falletta, Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Andrew Litton, Leonard Slatkin, Keri-Lynn Wilson, and Jaap van Zweden as well as up-andcoming conductors Karina Canellakis, Yuga Cohler, Evan Rogister, and Speranza Scappucci. This season, outstanding guest conductors leading the Juilliard Orchestra, in addition to David Robertson, include Esa-Pekka Salonen, Edo de Waart, Thomas Adès, alumna Speranza Scappucci, alumnus Gerard Schwarz, and Emmanuel Villaume.