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Conservatory dean brings classical music to all generations
Published Apr. 24, 2012
Jon Robertson, dean of Lynn University’s Conservatory of Music, served as guest conductor for the Philharmonia Orchestra's free concert, “A Symphonic Tribute to Jazz,” sponsored by the Len Camber Charitable Trust – Sanford and Marion Goldstein, Trustees. The student orchestra – or young professionals in training, as Robertson likes to call the group – performed Big Band favorites, including hits by Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
Lynn’s Philharmonia Orchestra is made up of approximately 70 young musicians, depending on the works being performed. “To call it a student orchestra is almost a misnomer. You close your eyes and you hear these kids play, it’s a professional orchestra; a really good professional orchestra because their level is so high,” said Robertson. “Sometimes professionals can get jaded, but our students still love music. They are still experiencing and evoking emotions from every piece he or she plays.”
Each year, Lynn hosts a free concert as a thank you to the community members who support the Conservatory of Music. This year, guests had the opportunity to hear the orchestra perform jazz music.
“The symphony orchestra, if you think of the group as an instrument, is extremely versatile in what it can play,” said Robertson. “A classical instrument can perform almost any genre of music, from pop to jazz and others.”
By exposing all generations to classical music – and classical instruments that can perform various genres – Robertson hopes more people will appreciate and learn to love the art.
“Exposure to classical music at an early age can help children appreciate the music,” said Robertson who is intrigued by Baby Einstein and other cartoons that include classical music in the background. “Many people who don’t like classical music or don’t identify with it, have never been exposed to the genre.”
Of all the works performed, Robertson was most excited about the finale, “Mambo" from West Side Story by Leonard Bernstein. “Bernstein is a classical composer who broadened his genre to include theater and stage,” said Robertson. “When we play the "Mambo," the piece is so intricate and so powerful, it really shows the orchestra in the way that it’s designed to be shown.”
“Music in a way expresses life,” said Robertson. “It expresses culture and teaches you to appreciate details. At Lynn, the Conservatory of Music is extremely international, and the wealth of nationalities brings a certain flavor to the music our students perform. It’s a tremendous opportunity and it makes Lynn very special.”
More on Robertson
Jamaican born maestro Jon Robertson has enjoyed a distinguished career as a pianist, conductor and academician. He began his concert pianist career at the age of 10. Earning B.M., M.S., and D.M.A. degrees in piano performance from The Juilliard School of Music, Robertson, now in his mid-60s, has an international reputation for quality performances. In this role, Robertson can speak to the media regarding classical music, the expansion of Lynn’s Conservatory of Music and Lynn’s world-class artist faculty and students.