Robert Page

Since his arrival in 1975, Robert Page has been a major figure in the cultural life of Pittsburgh, bringing with him an international reputation as conductor and teacher.

Named Pennsylvania’s Artist of the Year by Governor Tom Ridge in 1998 and dubbed “a national treasure” by American Record Review, Page, dean of America’s choral conductors served as music director and conductor of the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh for 26 years, and now holds the title of music director emeritus.

From 1989 to 2006, Page held the title of director of special projects and choral activities with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. He retired his position as director of choral Studies and Paul Mellon University Professor of Music at Carnegie Mellon University in May 2013. Page served as assistant conductor and director of choruses of the Cleveland Orchestra (1971-1989). Prior to coming to Pittsburgh, Page served on the faculty of Temple University and was music director of the Mendelssohn Club of Philadelphia, preparing choruses for the Philadelphia Orchestra for 19 years. For more than 15 years, Page prepared the All-Star College Chorus for the Pittsburgh Symphony and Marvin Hamlisch. His choral arrangements of many of Hamlisch’s songs were featured in almost every concert

A veteran of summer stock performances, Page was one of the first musical staff members of the Brunswick (ME) Music Theatre, now the Maine State Theatre. He did the two-piano score for The Most Happy Fella, Frank Loesser’s famous Broadway musical. At Carnegie Mellon University, Page prepared and conducted numerous opera and musical theatre productions, which have included Nine, A Little Night Music, Candide, The Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny, Merrily We Roll Along, Smile and A Chorus Line (both by Marvin Hamlisch). Operas he has conducted include Dialogues of the Carmelites, Street Scene, L’incoronazione de Poppea, Alcina, The Consul and L’italiana in Algeri as well as many Gilbert and Sullivan works.
With the Cleveland Orchestra, he conducted Naughty Marietta, H.M.S. Pinafore and Candide, and Girl Crazy with Chicago’s Grant Park Orchestra. He conducted Cleveland Opera productions of Carmen, Lucia Di Lammermoor,
Un Ballo in Maschero, Kiss Me Kate, L’elisir D’more and operatic scenes.
Page has conducted evenings of Lerner & Loewe, Rodgers & Hart & Hammerstein, Cole Porter and George Gershwin with many American orchestras.

Page’s work can be heard on more than 40 major recordings and has received Grammy awards for his recordings of Orffs’s Carmina Burana (with The Cleveland Orchestra) and Catulli Carmina (with the Philadelphia Orchestra). He has eight other Grammy nominations to his credit. He is recipient of the Grand Prix du Disc for Porgy and Bess and a Prix Mondial de Montreux for his world-premiere recording of the Shostakovich Symphony No. 13 “Babi Yar.” Naxos released La Muerte de Colon (The Death of Columbus), an opera by Leonardo Balada, conducted by Robert Page.

Page has served on the choral, festival and overview panels of the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a found member of Chorus America, the service organization for independent choruses, serving as president for three years. In 2001, he was honored as one of the first members of the American Choral Directors Association and in 2009 was made an honorary life member of the National Collegiate Choral Organization.

Robert Page has been catalyst in the commissioning of new works including Turbae (Alberto Ginastera), conducting the work in Philadelphia, New York, Cleveland and Buenos Aires); The Lovers (Samuel Barber); Ball (Richard Hundley);…Among The Voices (Bernard Rands); and, for the Mendelssohn Choir of Pittsburgh, An American Oratorio (Ned Rorem), Missa Mysteriorum and the critically acclaimed Requiem by Nancy Galbraith. He was the chorus master for the Chicago Lyric Opera/La Scala production of Paradise Lost (Kristof Penderecki) at the composer’s request. During his tenure with the Cleveland Orchestra he conducted the Cleveland first performances of Mass Of Life (Frederick Delius); Passion According To St. Luke (Penderecki), and a Rorem commissioned work. He presented Pittsburgh with the first performances of William Schuman’s Concerto on Old English Rounds for Viola, Women’s Voices and Orchestra, Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 13, “Babi Yar,” Leonardo Balada’s Torquemada and Ned Rorem’s Goodbye, My Fancy, and the first professional performance of Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem.

Page earned a Bachelor of Arts degree (Abilene Christian College, magna cum laude), a Master of Music (Indiana University) and did additional graduate study at New York University. He is the recipient of honorary degrees from Beaver, Quincy, Drury and Seton Hill Colleges, and Rowan University, as well as from his alma mater. Page is married to Glynn Page, professor emerita of Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama. Alumni of her studio include Billy Porter, Tamara Tunie, Patrick Wilson and Blair Underwood. They have two daughters, Paula Page, who recently retired from her position as principal harp with the Houston Symphony, and Carolann Page, internationally known singer and actress, receiving international acclaim as Pat Nixon in the premier of Nixon in China (John Adams). He is the proud grandfather of Alexander Gemignani, a major Broadway star (Assassins, Les Miserables, Chicago, Violet).

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