Sun | Oct 21, 2018

Orchestral progress expected from pianist's visit

Published:Monday | March 7, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Dr Jon Robertson (left) with the string quartet from the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, Boca Raton, USA.
Dr Jon Robertson

The Philharmonic Orchestra of Jamaica (POJ) will host distinguished Jamaican conductor and pianist Dr Jon Robertson, along with a string quartet from the Lynn University Conservatory of Music, Boca Raton, USA, this week. The group will work with the orchestra in various technical areas during their stay and will stage a free public concert on Saturday, March 12 at 6 p.m. at the Garrison Church, Up Park Camp, St Andrew.

Robertson will also facilitate two workshops for advanced orchestral conductors in the country.

The group will also be leading a workshop on chamber music at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts on March 8 at 2 p.m. They will visit other local orchestras, including the Immaculate Symphony Orchestra and the National Youth Orchestra of Jamaica.

Chairman of the POJ, Andrew Ho, stated the collaboration with Robertson and the Lynn Conservatory is an important step for the orchestra, as it strives to build its technical proficiency and establish links with overseas music institutions.

Robertson enjoys a distinguished career as a pianist, conductor and academic. His career as a concert pianist began at nine years old with his debut in Town Hall, New York. He was awarded a full scholarship to the Juilliard School, where he earned BM, MS and DMA degrees in piano performance. Robertson also studied choral conducting with Abraham Kaplan and orchestral conducting with Richard Pittman of the New England Conservatory of Music.

At present, Robertson is dean of the Lynn University Conservatory of Music in Boca Raton, Florida (formerly The Harid Conservatory). Under his leadership the conservatory has joined the ranks of major conservatories and institutions of music, boasting a world-renowned faculty of performers and scholars. He has also created the Music Outreach Programme targeting inner-city African-American and Latino students at designated high schools and junior high schools in Los Angeles, California.

The POJ was formed in May 2013 and has had a string of impressive performances in the short time. They collaborated with the National Chorale of Jamaica for the presentation of Mendelssohn's Elijah, featuring world renowned baritone, Sir Willard White in August 2015.

Conductor and music director of the POJ is Franklin Halliburton.