Published February 11, 2021
Conductor Robert Tweten has been described as leading with “verve and precision,” as well as having “flawless” pacing and “musicality and near-symbiotic accord with singers which always impresses.”
A recognized operatic conductor, Robert has conducted extensively throughout North America and Europe. He currently holds the positions of Head of Music Staff for The Santa Fe Opera, a role which was created for him in 2000. Robert is also the Music Director of Opera Studies for New England Conservatory. Robert is an acclaimed pianist and collaborator, and has performed with many of the industry’s most prominent singers and instrumentalists. His work as a vocal coach is also important facet of his career. Learn more about Robert’s time at the VCM here.
Learning at the Victoria Conservatory of Music
Long before his many success, accomplishments, recognition and world travel, Robert began life in Victoria. Starting in his early teens, Robert studied piano with Victoria Conservatory of Music legends, Winifred Scott Wood and Robin Wood. This was an exciting time to be at the VCM as another legend, internationally acclaimed soprano Selena James, was in full artistic flow and Robert played piano for voice lessons and Opera Studio. Robert began his career as the piano soloist after receiving the VCM’s Department of Postsecondary Studies Diploma in 1982, a two year University accredited program partnered with Camosun College.
“…. the quality of teaching at VCM was fantastic, and being around many like-minded musicians both of my age and older in a conservatory environment was exciting and inspiring. To be able to study solo piano as well as chamber music, theory, and opera, helped open my mind to new possibilities and form me as a musician”.
“When COVID hit in March I was in Boston at the New England Conservatory of Music (NEC), getting La Calisto ready for performance, but unfortunately that had to be cancelled and I came back home to Santa Fe. I did continue working with our students at NEC on Zoom/ Cleanfeed during the spring and fall and found that we got a lot of productive work done. I worked with singers from California, Boston and as far as Korea, China and Taiwan.
A number of weeks this fall were spent adjudicating our Santa Fe Opera apprentice auditions- usually it consists of two solid weeks of auditions in LA, Albuquerque, Chicago, Houston and New York, but this year had to be done virtually. It was a very different process, but we still managed to hear our 700+ applicants and choose a wonderful group that we’ll welcome here this summer.
I was also fortunate to do a number of online recitals, including a number of performances with the Santa Fe Opera in the Songs from Santa Fe series and Songs of the Season. A recital with fellow Canadian Joshua Hopkins that we filmed in October for The Wagner Society of Santa Fe will soon be released online, as well as a concert with the Utah Symphony & Opera, Light on the Horizon, that will be on their On Demand series.
Right now I am working on our NEC production of Mozart’s Il re pastore, that we will film live in Boston and release in April.
A silver lining in all of this was having time for a lot of biking and hiking and having more time at home than I’ve ever had. This has been a challenging time, but I am seeing more optimism starting to take hold!”
Keeping an open mind
In today’s competitive world, hard work still remains at the core of any successful career, and Robert agrees: “It goes without saying that one needs to work hard to develop one’s technique, but it is also important to experience life as fully as one can, as these experiences are what we draw from as musicians. I think it’s important to cultivate a diverse musical experience and to be open to new and different opportunities as they arise – one never knows what a certain experience or contact will lead to in the future”.
Further details about Robert Tweten HERE