A Big Band Christmas Jam
12/11/21 at 08:00pm
Jamaican-born Jon Robertson enjoys a distinguished career as pianist, conductor and academic. At age ten, he experienced his debut as a concert pianist in Town Hall, New York City. He was awarded a full scholarship as a student of Beveridge Webster at the Juilliard School, where he also studied choral conducting with Abraham Kaplan and orchestral conducting with Richard Pittman of the New England Conservatory of Music.
After completing a Masters Degree at Juilliard, he was appointed Chair of the Department of Music at Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama. In 1970, Robertson returned to Juilliard as a Ford Foundation Scholar to complete his Doctorate of Musical Arts, after which he became Chair of the Thayer Conservatory of Music at Atlantic Union College in Massachusetts. He later traveled to Sweden and East Germany to become the first and only private student of Herbert Blomstedt.
After a well-received guest conducting appearance with the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra in Norway, he was engaged as the orchestra’s Conductor and Music Director in 1979, serving until 1987.
Maestro Robertson became the Music Director and Conductor of the Redlands Symphony Orchestra in the fall of 1982. Under his leadership, the orchestra has enjoyed the distinction of receiving the highest possible ranking from the California Arts Council, as well as top ranking with the National Endowment for the Arts. Mark Swed of the Los Angeles Times says, “Robertson is a conductor who inspires confidence in a listener – his beat is utterly secure; his feeling for structure, unfailing; his overall manner, no-nonsense elegance.”
Maestro Robertson has guest-conducted the San Francisco Symphony, American Symphony, Fairbanks Symphony, Long Beach Symphony, Oakland East Bay Symphony, Walla Walla Symphony, Gavel Symphony Orchestra (Sweden), Trondheim Symphony Orchestra (Norway), Cairo Symphony (Egypt), the Bratislava Chamber Orchestra, and the Beijing Central Philharmonic. He was principal guest conductor of the Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra in Yerevan from 1995-1998.
From 1992-2004, Dr. Robertson served as Chair of the Department of Music at UCLA. While there, he created the Music Outreach Program targeting inner-city African-American and Latino students at designated high schools and junior high schools. 98% of the students in the program went on to colleges in the United States.
Dr. Robertson is currently Dean of the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida. Under his visionary leadership, the conservatory has joined the ranks of major conservatories and institutions of music, boasting a world renowned faculty of performers and scholars.
Dr. Robertson has received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Loma Linda University and the lifetime achievement award from the National Society of Arts and Letters. In 2013, he was awarded the Doctor of Humane Letters from the University of Redlands in recognition of his thirty years of exemplary artistic leadership of the Redlands Symphony and for his important humanitarian efforts through Foundation Hope for Haiti. Dr. Ralph Kuncl, the university’s 11th president, conferred the degree.