Named winner of the 2017 Respighi Prize in Conducting by the Chamber Orchestra of New York, Geoffrey Robson has emerged as a force of artistic leadership throughout the United States and the state of Arkansas.
The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra has named Maestro Robson as its sixth Music Director after a four-year nationwide search. Prior to his recent appointment, his tenure as the Arkansas Symphony’s Artistic Director and Principal Conductor was a significant success. His dynamic leadership during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in national and state-wide visibility for the organization. The orchestra’s Bedtime with Bach online concert series received nationwide acclaim and was featured by the Washington Post and the Kelly Clarkson Show.
Over the past three years, he has played an integral role in the planning, development, and design of the new ASO Stella Boyle Smith Music Center, which is scheduled to open during his tenure as Music Director. His influential leadership helped secure funding and community support for the orchestra’s 11.7 million dollar project.
During his tenure with the ASO, Robson has conducted critically acclaimed and sold-out masterworks, pops, chamber, and educational concerts throughout the state. His innovative programming has brought new audiences into the hall and made all feel welcome, and has inspired and energized the orchestra. Robson envisions his new role in the community as a connector, bringing the community closer together and making it more inclusive.
In 2021, he conducted and served as executive producer for the recording of Florence Price’s Concerto in One Movement with the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, featuring pianist Karen Walwyn. This was the orchestra’s first commercial release in over 20 years. He has conducted numerous ballet and opera productions including The Nutcracker, La Bohème, and Madama Butterfly with the Plano (Texas) and Waterbury (Connecticut) symphonies and Opera in the Rock (Little Rock). As a founding member of The Chelsea Symphony (New York), he conducted numerous sold-out performances and served as artistic advisor, ensuring the growth and success of the organization.
In addition to his rigorous Arkansas Symphony Orchestra schedule during the 2023-2024 season, Robson will be guest conducting the Greenville (South Carolina) Symphony and the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, with other guest appearances to be announced soon.
A champion of new music, he collaborates with and explores the music of renowned living composers. In 2016, he conducted the San Juan (Colorado) Symphony in the world-premiere of James Stephenson's Concerto for Hope with celebrated trumpeter Ryan Anthony. He served as arranger, conductor, and violinist for the world-premiere of Billy Blythe, a one-act opera based on the life of the young Bill Clinton, by Bonnie Montgomery. He conducted the premiere of Into the Beautiful North by Joe Brent, performed by the 9 Horses trio, as well as the premiere of Richard III, A Crown of Roses, A Crown of Thorns, an opera by Karen Griebling. In 2021 and 2022, he secured co-commissions of new works by Tania León and James Lee III, which were performed by the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra.
An active violinist, Robson is an avid chamber musician and regularly collaborates with musicians across the country. He also serves as Artistic Director of the Faulkner Chamber Music Festival. In this role, he curates a summer concert series and serves as director of the chamber music camp for students.
He served as concertmaster of the Connecticut Virtuosi Chamber Orchestra and as Assistant Concertmaster of the Waterbury Symphony. He is also recognized for his skill and versatility as a fiddle player and has established himself as a highly sought-after studio musician. He writes and performs string and orchestral arrangements for recording artists to assist them in achieving their goals in the studio. His arrangements have also been featured on numerous Arkansas Symphony Orchestra performances.
Robson studied orchestral conducting at the Mannes College of Music in New York City under the tutelage of David Hayes and holds violin performance degrees from Yale University and the Michigan State University Honors College. Primary violin teachers include Erick Friedman, Dmitri Berlinsky, James Krehbiel, and I-fu Wang.
He studied conducting at Yale University with Lawrence Leighton Smith, Edward Cumming, and Shinik Hahm. Other notable teachers include John Farrer, Neil Thomson, Joana Carneiro, Dirk Brossé, Salvatore Di Vittorio, and Larry Rachleff.