Monday, March 31, 2008

Kay George Roberts, African American Conductor Who Founded New England Orchestra

The African American conductor Kay George Roberts is scheduled to conduct Opera North in its Saturday April 12, 2008 performance of the opera Blake by H. Leslie Adams at 8:00 pm at Trinity Center for Urban Life, 2212 Spruce St., Philadelphia. The following information is from her page at the faculty website of the Music Department of the University of Massachusetts Lowell:

Educational Background

Prof. Roberts studied at Tanglewood with Leonard Bernstein, Seiji Ozawa, Gustav Meier and at the Bachakademie Stuttgart with John Eliot Gardiner. An accomplished violinist, she is the first woman to earn a doctor of musical arts degree in conducting from Yale University where she studied with Otto-Werner Mueller.

Bio Sketch

Kay George Roberts is the founder and music director of the Lowell-based New England Orchestra (NEO) that has the mission of linking cultures through music. Her guest conducting engagements have included the Cleveland Orchestra, the Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, and Nashville Symphony orchestras as well as the Orchestra della Svizzera Italiana. In addition, she is the principal conductor for Opera North, Inc. in Philadelphia. She has also served as a cover conductor for the Boston Symphony Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra, and Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

An advocate for new and overlooked music, she premiered Jennifer Higdon's “Fanfare Ritmico” at the Blossom Music Festival with the Cleveland Orchestra and was co-conductor for the highly acclaimed 2004 “Sphinx Inaugural Gala Concert” in Carnegie Hall. In 2007, she led the Sphinx Symphony in the world premiere of Michael Abels’ “Delights and Dances” in Detroit’s Orchestra Hall to celebrate the Sphinx Competition’s 10th anniversary. A champion of music education, she is the director of the UML String Project, an after-school string training program that she initiated in 2001 for Lowell public school children.

The recipient of many honors, Ms. Roberts was presented with a “Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition” from the U.S. House of Representatives for her "outstanding and invaluable service to the community" and was named a University of Michigan “Presidential Professor” - “one of the highest honors bestowed on visiting artists and scholars” - for her work with the Sphinx Symphony.

She is the recipient of the 2007 University of Massachusetts “President’s Public Service Award” in recognition of exemplary public service to the Commonwealth.

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