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Robert Page (Conductor)

Born: April 27, 1927 - Abilene, Texas, USA

The esteemed American conductor and music pedagogue, Robert E. Page, studied at the Abilene Christian College, where he obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in 1948; and at the Indiana University, where he obtained his Master of Music degree in 1951. He pusued graduate training at New York Unbiversity (1955-1959).

Robert page was director of choral activities at Estern New Mexico University in Portales (1951-1955), and at Temple University in Philadelphia (1956-1975). From 1964 to 1976 he was music director of the Mendelssohn Club of Phildelphia. He served as Director of Choruses for the Cleveland Orchestra from 1971 to 1989, and and Assistant Conductor of the Cleveland Orchestra (1979-1989), conducting the world-renowned ensemble on many occasions, including national radio and television broadcasts. He also was director of of the Blossom Festival Chorus (1973-1989) From 1975 to 1980 he was head of the music department at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh. In 1979 he became Music Director and Conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh. During his tenure at the helm, the Mendelssohn Choir has achieved national and international fame as one of the nation’s leading choral ensembles. He was also conductor and chorus master of the Cleveland Opera (1980-1986), founder-music director of the Robert Page Singers (from 1982).

Robert Page is Paul Mellon Professor of Music and Director of Choral Studies at Carnegie-Mellon University since 1988. Named Pennsylvania’s Artist of the Year in 1998, he has been dubbed “a national treasure” by American Record Review. Since 1989, he has held the title of Director of Special Projects and Choral Activities with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.

In great demand as a conductor of symphony orchestras, opera and music theater productions, Robert Page has conducted many of the major orchestras of the USA, including Philadelphia Orchestra, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, Minnesota Orchestra, Houston Symphony Orchestra, Dallas Symphony Orchestras, Louisiana, Milwaukee, Virginia and San Antonio, as well as the opera companies of Cleveland, Kansas City and Toledo. In Europe he has conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (London) and the Orchestre Philharmonique du Luxembourg at the Echternach Festival. In June 1995, Page conducted the Czech State Philharmonic of Brno and the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh in performances of the L.v. Beethoven's Missa Solemnis in Brno, Prague and Krakow, and the Budapest Concert Orchestra (MAV) with the Mendelssohn Choir in a performance of the Verdi's Requiem in Budapest. In 1997 Page was invited to conduct the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra in performances of Carmina Burana in the Czech Republic and Vienna. The orchestra invited him back to conduct the opening concerts of the Dvořák Festival in Dvořák’s home town, in Prague and in the Schönbrunn Palace in Vienna.

Active in the national choral orchestra scene, Robert Page has served on the choral, festival and overview panels of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a founding member of Chorus America, the service organization for independent choruses, and served as its President for three years (1990-1993). He has conducted or has been associated with the world premieres and/or commissions of many major works. These include the first performances in America of Penderecki’s Utrenja and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 (original version). World premières include Penderecki’s Paradise Lost, an opera jointly commissioned by the Chicago Lyric Opera and La Scala, for which Page (at the invitation of the composer) prepared the Chicago Lyric Chorus for performances in Chicago and Milan. Page has presented Pittsburgh with the first performances of William Schuman’s Concerto on Old English Rounds for Viola and Orchestra, D. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13 and Leonardo Balada’s Torquemada, and as Music Director of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, commissioned An American Oratorio by Ned Rorem.

Robert Page’s choirs can be heard on forty discs issued on major labels. Receiving eight Grammy nominations, he won Grammy awards for his recordings of Orff’s Carmina Burana (Cleveland Orchestra) and Catulli Carmina (Philadelphia Orchestra), a Grand Prix du Disc for Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess (Cleveland Orchestra) and a Prix Mondial de Montreux for his world-première commercial recording of the original version of D. Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, ‘Babi Yar’ (Philadelphia Orchestra/Eugene Ormandy).

Robert Page won notable distinction as a choral conductor and teacher. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from Beaver, Quincy, Drury and Seton Hill Colleges as well as his alma mater.

Source: Baker’s Biographical Dictionary of 20th Century Classical Musicians (1997); Naxos Website
Contributed by
Aryeh Oron (April 2015)

Recordings of Bach Cantatas & Other Vocal Works




Eugene Ormandy

Chorus Master

BWV 249

Links to other Sites

Robert Page - Conductor on Facebook
Robert Page - Bio (Naxos)
"National Treasure" Robert Page Receives Paul Mellon Professorship of Music *(Carnegie Mellon)

Robert Page, Music Director Emeritus (Mendelssohn Choir )
Robert Page (John Gingrich Management)

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